The Kingmaker by Nancy Springer

The Kingmaker by Nancy Springer
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical
Length: Short Story (11 Pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

The daughter of the High King has a regal name, but she is small and plain, so everyone just calls her Wren. As a mere girl, she is not her father’s heir; her cousin Korbye is. But Wren’s infallible sooth-sense tells her that Korbyn would make no good king. Nor is sooth-sense her only fate. Wren is the Kingmaker. When an ancient and dangerous ring of power finds its way to her, how should she use it?

Court politics aren’t necessarily always as easy to navigate as one might first assume.

Not every princess lives in the lap of luxury. What I liked the most about Wren was how attuned she was to the thoughts and feelings of her subjects. Regardless of the circumstances of anyone’s birth or upbringing, we are all ultimately responsible for how we respond to what happens to us. I may not have agreed with every decision she makes, but Wren is a good example of someone who takes responsibility for her own actions.

I had some trouble understanding the character development of a certain individual in this story. Who this person was in the beginning is not necessarily who they appear to be later on in the plot. While it was interesting to be introduced to new facets of their personality, the transformation would have been easier to accept had certain behaviours and mannerisms shown up earlier on in their journey.

The simple yet cinematic descriptions of Wren’s society rapidly drew me back into the plot. Ms. Springer is extremely good at capturing a snapshot of a surprisingly complicated society with the inclusion of a few well-placed phrases. As much as I wanted to learn more about Wren’s world, everything I truly needed to know unfolded within the span of a few short paragraphs.

The Kingmaker sent a shiver down my spine. This is a great choice for anyone who enjoys fantasy that is heavily influenced by fairy tale tropes.

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