REVIEW: Sage and King by Molly Ringle

The Official Description: Zaya expected to be the irresponsible youngest prince his whole life. But when his two older siblings are killed by an unidentified magician, he finds himself crowned king of Lushrain—the end of his liberty as he knows it. As part of his training, he’s sent to Heartwood for a month, the house of the sages high in the mountains. There, to his shock, the sages tell him he must learn about magic—which is illegal to practice, but has nonetheless been among Heartwood’s secret studies for centuries.

They assign Col as his tutor, a charming young sage with unusually strong powers. Zaya abhors and distrusts magic, and Col absolutely doesn’t want the job of attempting to change the king’s mind. But in their lessons and debates, they grow closer and begin envisioning a future in which a sage and a king might make a harmonious couple.

But the assassin still roams, seeking to hurt Zaya, and the budding love affair may be crushed by the secrets that Heartwood—and Col—have kept about this killer.

Just the facts: queer romance, diverse characters, epic adventure, magic

A beautiful love story with a fierce villain and magic! Engaging, emotional and fun … everything I love about Molly Ringle’s writing. – Kinzie Things

My thoughts bit:
Zaya never thought that he would be king because he was too far down the line of succession. Turns out, when your entire family is murdered that you can rather suddenly find out you are King of Lushrain. Still struggling with grief and the fact that his entire life is changing, Zaya finds himself embedded in the rules, responsibilities, and secrets that come with the throne. Not only is there an assassin that clearly wants all the royals dead, but Zaya’s life also isn’t at all what it would have been.

The throne brings with it the secrets of royalty and one of them is all about … magic.

Zaya is sent to Heartwood to learn from Sage’s and he is shocked to find out that he must learn about magic. Magic… that is forbidden in Lushrain. Magic … that has always existed in spite of the fact that Zaya didn’t know … the same magic drove his older brother mad and made him violent and frightening before he died.
At first, Zaya is angry but his assigned “teacher” Col wears him down. Col is young, charming, and an unusually powerful sage. Zaya wants nothing to do with magic at first. He has had his distrust of magic drilled into him from a young age…he can’t help remembering what little he knows about his brother’s descent into madness.
I was fascinated by Molly Ringle’s account of magic in the world of this novel. The fact that magic is drawn up from the growing things. I really enjoyed the descriptions of magic…both good and evil and how the powers could be used. There are some frightening scenes in this story when the assassin uses plants and trees to capture and injure people – marvelously creative and frightening at the same time. I loved the way that the author captures the power of a malicious sage and the terror he could bring simply by existing. It’s very reminiscent of the feelings we are all dealing with at the moment as we face a global pandemic we have very little control over.
This book is a bit of “Romeo and Juliet” spiced up by the imagination and lovely writing style of Molly Ringle. Col and Zaya are lovely characters. Col is feisty and outspoken and still gentle and measured. Zaya is a very free spirit who has been confined by his role as King…his spirit is struggling to be released! When these two characters meet, the fireworks begin.
Definitely on my faves of the year so far! Can’t wait, as always, to read more by Molly.

Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) Descriptions of death/assault by magic, a character with mental illness becomes violent, fighting with weapons and magic, death of an entire family

Links: Goodreads // The Author // The Publisher

I received an ARC of Sage and King by Molly Ringle from Central Avenue Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

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