The Witch King by H.E. Edgemon is a young adult fantasy novel about 17-year-old transgender witch, Wyatt. He is attempting to live a normal life among humans. This is all ruined when his fiance shows up. Fae prince Emyr wants to bring him back to his homeland, Asalin. He insists that their marriage will keep him from losing the throne to his cousin. Wyatt and Emyre have been engaged since childhood due to their magical bond. But Wyatt had to flee Asalin, after losing control of his magic. He just wants to leave Asalin and Emyre behind him. But something pulls him back to Emyre and to Asalin. Here he must nagivate the complex politics of the fae royalty who are still opressing witches.
I found the beginning of the novel engaging but I fell a bit bored of it. Wyatt spent more and more time in Asalin being whiney, and inconsistent. He kept pretending that he didn’t still have feelings for Emyre while it was clear that he did. I also didn’t really feel chemistry between Wyatt and Emyre. Emyre didn’t wasn’t very likable because he basically kidnapped Wyatt at the beggining of the novel. Wyatt claims that Emyre that Emyre is just using him to gain political power, and it does kind of seem like that. We did get see a sweeter side of Emyre.
However, Wyatt is always interjecting the moment with his own opinion. This is probably is due the first person perspective of the The Witch King. I would have liked to have a little more distance from all of Wyatt’s opinions, so that I could form my own. Part of the problem is that Wyatt was so snarky which got annoying. But I did appreciate his sense of humour occasionally.
I must however make a confession, I wanted The Witch King to be Folk of the Air by Holly Black and it wasn’t. This obviously wasn’t Edgemon’s fault. It was just that the premise of a fae prince love interest enticed me with the idea that the novel would be like Folk of the Air. Although there were some similarities, the general plot and vibes of the series were very different. If you like Folk of the Air or faeries in general, you might very well like The Witch King. Just don’t expect Holly Black and H.E. Edgemon to have the exact same writing style or plots.
I will also admit that I am cisgender. Although Wyatt being trans does not stop me from being able to relate to him, I do think The Witch King may be more meaningful to trans, especially transmasc readers. The Witch King was after all one of the few books I could find with a trans protagonist. I know there are more out there but compared to the number of stories about cis people even queer cis people, the numbers are lacking. So The Witch King does still provide a decent option for transgender representation.
I also wasn’t wholly satisfied with the conclusion of the novel, but upon discovering that there will be a sequel, The Fae Keeper, on May 31st, I am more satisfied. I am curious to see what will happen in the final book of this duology. The Witch King was a bit disapointing since it had so much hype online that the novel didn’t deliver on. But I enjoyed it enough that I want to continue with the series. I would recommend it to readers looking for that trans represention in a young adult fantasy book with a snarky sense of humour. I also made a Spotify playlist for The Witch King since it did give good music vibes https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2bhwLJJ6IvGewMsncsvGZu?si=352306859faf44b3.