Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.
I'm just trying to light up the world as much as I can one SciFi/paranormal/fantasy/space opera/time travel book at a time.
This little shtunk (as my mother would have called it) had me on the verge of throwing in the towel. I am always reluctant to give up on a read (doubly so for ARCs). The DNF pile feels like a shameful public record of my biblio-failures... a list of my botched attempts at connecting with someone's brain baby... their heart and soul. BUT after trying to read this book multiple times, and being unable to sit with it for more than 30 minutes at a clip, I almost gave up... almost... what did happen was that I waited until its audiobook was released and snatched it up, hoping for a different vibe. Thankfully I did because I found this (audio)book to be highly enjoyable.
Kingdom Of Liars takes place in a land where the use of one's innate talents, called Fabrications, could have the very unfortunate effect of losing one's memories, or even losing an entire physical ability, each time it is employed. Obviously, this alone could make things problematic. It could lead to some very disjointed, patchwork character narratives to say the least. Our MC, Michael Kingman, showed some unmistakable signs of memory inconsistencies of his own. He also exhibited some kind of burgeoning, unknown, Fabricator ability. We were unsure what was the cause of his mental gaps and we had no idea if/how many times he had already used his mysterious Fabrication talent. Were his memories lost due to his own actions, or was there a more nefarious (outsider's) plan in play?
Michael was a frustrating protagonist to follow around. Although he scraped by with what little he had left after his father's execution, mother's ill health and the fracture of his once unflappable Family unit... to top it all off... he also had to contend with his faulty memory. He floundered about while lacking pertinent information to make well informed decisions which was... annoying. For someone that should have been hobbled by what he didn't know, he sure found ways to blunder into, and out of, unbelievable circumstances. He was very lucky to have friends in high, and low, places and though he was frustrating to get behind, he was also quite likeable. He was most certainly an Unreliable Narrator... and this Nick Martell navigated skilfully.
I was impressed by the world building but confused by the broken moon's ultimate place within the storyline. Why was it necessary to introduce it and its fallen (possibly prophetic) pieces to us? Maybe I missed its relevance but if not, I hope the answers will be given in subsequent books. The magic system, on the other hand, was a bit underdeveloped BUT it was also unique and thankfully left room for a ton of possibility.
I enjoyed the story's time-line. It started near the end, then went back in time to better explain how we got to Michael's execution day and then back to the present. How did he get to that point? Who helped and how much? Are his memories sound and reliable? Who killed the young prince? Was Michael's father set up? Why did his father, and Michael as well, plead guilty to the murder of a royal while refusing to utter a word in their own defense? There were more mysteries and the ending... the ending made all of the fuss and patience and time put into it well worth it! What a twist! It answered a handful of questions but there are many more that need to come to light. I need to know! I am excited to see where this story takes us (and Dark the mercenary- one of my favorite characters) in book #2.
This debut (audio)book was enjoyable. It was the Unreliable Narrator done right. There were schemes, machinations, betrayl, court juxtapositioning and misdirection aplenty. I must admit... I found excuses to spend more time with Mr. Martell's surprising gem. In order to have more time with these robust characters, in this richly detailed world, I found reasons to do extra chores. EXTRA chores!??! That's right... and that's saying a lot because who likes cleaning the bathroom or sweeping/vacuuming/mopping? Apparently I do (when simultaneously listening to a good book).
In my humble opinion, the audiobook was much more palatable than the print version. If you're having trouble soldiering through then I suggest switching things up and enjoying it auditorily!
I'm definitely going to be on the lookout for book #2!
*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***