Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
Release Date: January 14, 2020
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Epic
From the author of The Midnight Dance comes an epic YA fantasy featuring royal drama, dark magic, and a secret that could topple a kingdom.
Kalen is a mental picklock, able to access a person's memories and secrets by touch. His skills make him the perfect questioner to the king, and he spends his days interrogating prisoners of the crown.
But when Kalen's estranged childhood friend, Prince Cirrus, falls into a sudden coma, the king begs Kalen to intervene. By accessing Cirrus's mind, Kalen saves his life—and uncovers a terrifying secret. The prince has a sister, banished long ago, and she is the key to the destruction or survival of the kingdom.
With the help of Cirrus and a silver-haired thief named Luna, Kalen must find the princess and bring her home. Or risk death at the hands of his king.
The King's Questioner, by Nikki Katz, is the authors follow-up to The Midnight Dance. From all indications, this is a standalone but has avenues where the author can continue the story if she so chooses. Protagonist Kalen is a mental picklock - he can access a person's memories and secrets with a touch. He has the curious ability to unlock hidden doors and uncover secrets hidden away. The king uses him as an interrogator, ignoring the pain and suffering it inflicts on Kalen. But when Prince Cirrus falls into a coma one day, Kalen is asked to go into his mind and wake him.
Kalen learns a stunning secret. Cirrus, who was his best friend for years, has a sister who was sent away due to her terrifying gift. A sister who was prophesied to be either the survival or destruction of the kingdom. With unrest against the crown rising in the city, Kalen must now set off on a quest with his once-friend, Prince Cirrus, to bring home the princess. He is joined on the journey by Luna who is a silver haired pale skinned thief who is like a sister to Kalen. Luna has exceptional hearing and excellent night vision. She's also impervious to magic and good at healing.
After a Captain is found guilty of being a privateer by Rynden, the King's Law, Kalen and Luna help him escape. Belrose may have information on a chest that went missing, as well as the location of Cirrus's sister who is named Reign, and there are people who don't want that information to get out. The journey starts in Mureau, lands in Antioege, before returning and ending in Mureau where I said before, the author kind of left things hanging. In between there are bounty hunters, and sorcerers who have twisted types of magic that they are using to cause chaos in Mureau.
There was nothing particularly wrong with this story. The characters were solid enough, and the world-building was off to a pretty good start too. This book just needed more. Maybe a bit more action, suspense, complexity, and definitely a good bit longer too. The ending is rather rushed, but does leave room for future sequels.