Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing another ARC review, this time for The Justice of Kings! So many people are waiting for this book to finally release, and I’m so happy that I got a chance to read it early!
The Justice of Kings
by Richard Swan
Series: Empire of the Wolf #1
Release date: February 22nd 2021
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
The Justice of Kings, the first in a new epic fantasy trilogy, follows the tale of Sir Konrad Vonvalt, an Emperor’s Justice – a detective, judge and executioner all in one. As he unravels a web of secrets and lies, Vonvalt discovers a plot that might destroy his order once and for all – and bring down the entire Empire.
As an Emperor’s Justice, Sir Konrad Vonvalt always has the last word. His duty is to uphold the law of the empire using whatever tools he has at his disposal: whether it’s his blade, the arcane secrets passed down from Justice to Justice, or his wealth of knowledge of the laws of the empire. But usually his reputation as one of the most revered—and hated—Justices is enough to get most any job done.
When Vonvalt investigates the murder of a noblewoman, he finds his authority being challenged like never before. As the simple case becomes more complex and convoluted, he begins to pull at the threads that unravel a conspiracy that could see an end to all Justices, and a beginning to lawless chaos across the empire.
This book tells the story of Justice Vonvault, as told from the point of view of his clerk Helena. Based on the synopsis, I was fully expecting this to be told from Vonvault’s point of view so I was pleasantly surprised to see it told from the point of view of his clerk! I really liked Helena as a character and how conflicted she is about being on the path to becoming a Justice in her own right.
This is definitely more of a character focused story, and at times I found that I wanted to skip ahead to some of the more action heavy portions of the book. There is also (obviously) a heavy focus on morality and the law, including a courtroom scene. I feel like based on the ending of the book, things will really pick up in the second book and have more action than this one did.
I loved the mystery aspect and thought that the way they solved the case was interesting and I loved seeing the connections they made between each of the clues. That said, when they weren’t actively investigating the murder, I did find that I got a little bored. There felt like there was a LOT of inner monologuing happening with Helena about her feelings as a young woman discovering who she is, and at times I didn’t think it was always necessary. However, I definitely am more plot focused than character focused so that definitely impacted some of my enjoyment.
This is also written in an interesting way, there are times where it’s made clear that what we are reading is actually something that happened in the past that Helena is telling us about, because there are lines similar to ‘if only we knew then how this would impact x ,y, z’, which I thought was both interesting and a little irritating because we just kept referencing that current events impact things that happen in the future, which 1) duh, and 2) made me want to know about future events more than current events at times, especially when things were more slow paced.
I did love how religion and law work both with and against each other, and I think the way things play out with this in the next book will be very interesting and a lot will happen there. The magic system also tied into both law and religion, and I can’t wait to see how the struggle between the two impacts the magic system.
Overall, this was a great story and I really enjoyed the writing. I think things will really pick up in the next book, so I’m curious to see where it will go!
Will you be picking up The Justice of Kings? I’d love to chat!