The Liars Key Review

Book Review: The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence

Book Reviews copy

The Liars Key 1

Synopsis: The Red Queen has set her players on the board…

Winter is keeping Prince Jalan Kendeth far from the longed-for luxuries of his southern palace. And although the North may be home to his companion, the warrior Snorri ver Snagason, he is just as eager to leave. For the Viking is ready to challenge all of Hell to bring his wife and children back into the living world. He has Loki’s key – now all he needs is to find the door.

As all wait for the ice to unlock its jaws, the Dead King plots to claim what was so nearly his – the key to the underworld — so that his dead subjects can rise and rule.

Author: Mark Lawrence

Title: The Liar’s Key (The Red Queen’s War #2)

Publisher: HarperVoyager

Date: 2015

The Liars Key 2

Prince of Fools

Having enjoyed Prince of Fools, I was eager to see what was in store for reluctant-hero Prince Jalan and his friends in book two of The Red Queen’s War.

Although I enjoyed The Liar’s Key, it was one of those books that could have been a hundred pages shorter and nothing would be lost. It’s a long book – 653 pages – and there were times when it felt it. At points, it didn’t feel like the plot was actually moving forward so remaining engaged was challenging.

So saying, the majority of the book was enjoyable. The reader continues with Jal as he slowly makes his way home from the north. There is definitely character development in Jal this time around. For one thing, he doesn’t spend every chapter reminding us he is a coward. For another, despite his refusal to continue his journey with his friends, he does ultimately listen to his conscience. He also accepts that he has friends and that he cares for them, in his own Prince Jalan way.

All the treasures of the sagas cast many shadows and even their shadows can be a deadly weapon. And to cast the darkest, sharpest shadow you need the brightest light. Darkness and light, bound together can be a potent force.

We learn more about Jal’s past and it gives us some understanding of how he ended up being the man he is. He is a complicated man beneath it all! The grief of losing his mother resulted in blocked memories which, when uncovered, fuels Jal to do what needs to be done, cowardice aside.

There wasn’t as much Snorri in this book, and he became a harder-to-read character as he withdraws into himself. There are two new main characters: Kara, a witch, and Hennan, an orphan boy who joins the merry band. Hennan was great even if just because he makes Jal try and do the right thing. Kara, however, was a mystery. I thought I had sussed out her character, but there was a moment in the book when Jal suddenly believes he can’t trust her and she isn’t trying to help them. But then that moment passed… Jal might not trust her, but she is back with the group like nothing happened. I got lost.

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Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only moment I got confused. The characters finally have the conversation the entire book has been building up to, and I had no idea what they were talking about. Literally. A whole conversation about doors went over my head, which undermined the big moment of the book. Maybe I was just tired reading that part, but it undermined the danger and tension of the scene.

There are threats coming from all directions this time: necromancers, the Dead King, the Lady Blue, a salt-encrusted wound and a witch who stabs people through the hand with a needle to unlock hidden memories. Despite the slow pace, the tension is kept high enough that I kept reading.

I did enjoy this book. I love the world that Lawrence has created and there are some complicated characterisations emerging. I only wish the pace was a little quicker.  I’m looking forward to reading book three and seeing the conclusion for our favourite coward!

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence

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