The Justice Of Kings

The Justice Of Kings photo
Author: Richard Swan
Publisher: Orbit
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Release date: February 22th, 2022
Pages: 432
Goodreads page: here
TW: murder, violence
My rating: 3.5/5 ⭐


The Justice of Kings, the first in a new epic fantasy trilogy, follows the tale of Sir Konrad Vonvalt, an Emperor’s Justice – a detective, judge and executioner all in one. As he unravels a web of secrets and lies, Vonvalt discovers a plot that might destroy his order once and for all – and bring down the entire Empire.

As an Emperor's Justice, Sir Konrad Vonvalt always has the last word. His duty is to uphold the law of the empire using whatever tools he has at his disposal: whether it's his blade, the arcane secrets passed down from Justice to Justice, or his wealth of knowledge of the laws of the empire. But usually his reputation as one of the most revered—and hated—Justices is enough to get most any job done.

When Vonvalt investigates the murder of a noblewoman, he finds his authority being challenged like never before. As the simple case becomes more complex and convoluted, he begins to pull at the threads that unravel a conspiracy that could see an end to all Justices, and a beginning to lawless chaos across the empire.

My thoughts

You know that feeling when you move on the second you finish your current read to your next read and forget almost everything that you read? Well. It kind of happened to me with The Justice of Kings. Not that I haven’t enjoyed my read, not at all, but that’s why I’ve been struggling to write this review. It’s finally time, and I will try my best.

The story was about a Justice named Sir Konrad Vonvalt, whose job was many roles at once: a jury, a judge and executioner of the Empire. Sworn to uphold the Law in the Empire, the story started with Vonvalt and his fellow companions, his taskman and warrior veteran Dubine Bressinger, and his apprentice and clerk, Helena, traveling in the whole Empire and going to the small villages to ensure that the Law was respected everywhere, when they were suddenly asked in Galen’s Vale, a merchant town, to investigate the murder of a noble and business man’s wife.

“All may be judged by the law, so all may uphold it;
but all those who uphold the law may not judge it.”
I had some troubles connecting to the characters at first, but that could be easily explained by the original and honestly amazing choice of narration. The book was written from Helena’s first-person POV even though the main character of her story was definitely Sir Konrad Vonvalt. It was therefore a bit difficult to connect to Vonvalt and Dubine at first because we had to learn about them from a 19 years old girl’s perspective. But slowly through my reading, I started to like these characters, and I really enjoyed the complex and touching relationships Helena had with each character.

“Justice if not vengeance, and vengeance is not justice. But the two often overlap. The state is as capable of vengeance as any individual, for what is the state if not the people that comprise it?”
The best part of the book was definitely the plot and the murder mystery. I had not read a lot of fantasy stories with murder mystery intrigue before but I thought it worked really well together. The plot was pretty fast-paced from the start, alternating between intrigue and world-building information. While the plot felt fast-paced, the book was actually full of world-building, which was really interesting. I was fascinated from the start by the lore of this book, and while the plot didn’t feel like it was an epic fantasy story, the world of this new series felt definitely huge, complex and full of old history. Which is my favorite kind of world-building. As for the plot, well it was so intriguing, that at times I couldn’t put the book down. A lot of chapters were finishing on a little cliffhanger which kept me going until I was falling asleep from exhaustion. My interest in the story wasn’t at its peak during the whole read, but I was definitely intrigued for the most part of the book.

“No one is above the law.”
Unfortunately, I lost interest in the plot toward the last 100 pages of the book and it took me a while to finish it. The writing was also average, not bad but not exceptional either, and you know how I love my writings: poetic, lyrical, slow and enchanting, and it wasn’t the case here. What also annoyed me during my read was the immature insta-love romance that occurred and everything related to that part which I had found completely unrealistic and childish.

But overall, The Justice of Kings was a strong debut fantasy read that I would recommend. I enjoyed my reading, the murder mystery was intriguing and the characters were complex and interesting. The book will be released next February 22th, so definitely keep an eye on this one!

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me an e-ARC of this book.
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Welcome on my bookish blog! My name is Sarah, and I'm a 29 yo French reader from Paris. 🌙

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“Home is people. Not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there any more.”
Robin Hobb

“War doesn't determine who's right. War determines who remains.”
R.F. Kuang

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Michael J. Sullivan

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J.R.R. Tolkien

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