Read my review of The Witch King (The Witch King #1) here: https://illinoiseagle.com/2022/03/04/the-witch-king-review/
The Fae Keeper is the second and final book in The Witch King Duology by H.E. Edgmon. I didn’t wholly enjoy the first novel, The Witch King. Nonetheless, I was curious about the sequel because The Witch King’s conclusion was rather open-ended. So Edgmon was at least able to get me somewhat invested in the plot. We left off with the villainous Derek, dead and defeated. But his family, including his brother Wade, his mother Nancy, and his wife Martha are still alive. And they blame Wyatt, Emyre, and his friends for Derek’s death.
Martha has also tried to abandon her and Derek’s baby because she is a witch. So Wyatt is trying to find a home for the witch child. Wyatt and Emyre have disbanded the faerie guard and have to figure out how to rebuild Asalin without all the same oppression of witches. Wyatt must also learn how to control his magic and find a way for the faeries and witches of Asalin to live in peace.
I had a lot of the same issues with The Fae Keeper as I did with The Witch King. My main issue with The Witch King Duology is that I don’t really like the protagonist, Wyatt’s, personal voice. He’s still rather snarky and narrates like he’s writing a Tumblr post. This makes it difficult to take the story seriously despite very dark events. I know that using humor to cope with his issues is Wyatt’s whole thing, but it got annoying after a while. I listened to the audiobook version read by Dani Martineck. And I think they were able to get Wyatt’s tone and personality down well at least.
The other issue is that the social justice message and writing were still rather heavy-handed. I know Egmon was is making his point that racism and queerphobia are bad, but it also felt like he was trying too hard to make that point. Most people are able to agree that these things are issues. Maybe the message also got too muddled when combined with the oppression of witches. Usually, a marginalized fantasy group is a metaphor for a real marginalized group. The witches seem at first, like a metaphor for queer, and especially trans, people. However, there are queer characters in the series who are not witches, so I was a bit confused.
That being said, this review is very much from my own perspective. I can imagine others, even friends of mine, really enjoying this series. I’ll admit, this book might resonate more with people who are trans. And I still appreciated reading a reading book with a transgender protagonist. There are few books I’ve read with a trans protagonist because trans representation is still so rare. But with the popularity of novels like this, the tide is changing for the better. Maybe this series just isn’t for me, and that’s okay.
The Fae Keeper (The Witch King #2). (H.E. Edgmon). Inkyard Press and Harlequin Audio. May 2022. Audiobook. Page Length. 13h 24m.