Book Review: The Witch King // This queer YA fantasy has everything

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Title: The Witch king
Author: H.E. Edgmon
Genre/s and tags: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, LGBTQ+
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Publication date: June 1, 2021
Content warnings: Physical assault, sexual harassment, child abuse/neglect, suicide attempt; misgendering, deadnaming (off page); consensual sex (not too graphic), physical violence, gore/blood, parental death
Goodreads synopsis: 

The Witch King book cover

To save a fae kingdom, a trans witch must face his traumatic past and the royal fiancé he left behind. This debut YA fantasy will leave you spellbound.

Wyatt would give anything to forget where he came from—but a kingdom demands its king.

In Asalin, fae rule and witches like Wyatt Croft…don’t. Wyatt’s betrothal to his best friend, fae prince Emyr North, was supposed to change that. But when Wyatt lost control of his magic one devastating night, he fled to the human world.

Now a coldly distant Emyr has hunted him down. Despite transgender Wyatt’s newfound identity and troubling past, Emyr has no intention of dissolving their engagement. In fact, he claims they must marry now or risk losing the throne. Jaded, Wyatt strikes a deal with the enemy, hoping to escape Asalin forever. But as he gets to know Emyr, Wyatt realizes the boy he once loved may still exist. And as the witches face worsening conditions, he must decide once and for all what’s more important—his people or his freedom.

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Hello book nerds and bookmys! Happy September! It’s been a little while, I know and I’m sorry. I have been quite busy these past few weeks, and my stress and anxiety are on another level unfortunately. I wanted to take it slow for a moment and just take a break. But now I’m here to share my review of one of my anticipated releases! I’ve already shared my a mini review on my bookstagram account, but I feel like a detailed review is necessary for this one.

The Witch King has everything for me. Political intrigue, romance, honest discussions of gender and sexuality, world building, hilarious writing, all of these make up this unforgettable queer YA fantasy novel.

My thoughts on The Witch King

Listen, many of my friends on bookstagram love this book and now I know why! This book seems like it has everything?! It has political intrigue, which was just so interesting to read. This book has strong anti-fascist themes (which gave me the same vibes as another great queer SFF book The Fever King) and it talks about racism, systemic oppression, and more, and it’s just so good.

When it comes to the romance, it has slow burn, angst, pining, and it is just perfection. Wyatt and Emyr together has such good chemistry. Especially because I am sucker for best friends to lovers trope, and now it got even more complicated with their situation. I loved seeing all that angst and the sexual tension, and it definitely added to the plot.

I loved the world-building and the magic system in this story. It’s unique and entertaining, you see modern lives meshed with magic, and you just know there’s something more bigger going on. (I’m ready for that sequel!)

The writing style is also something I appreciated. It can get dark, and lyrical, but it can also get hilarious and relatable the next. The juxtaposition of lyrical prose and then the meme-worthy scenes just fits with the way magic and modern lives are infused together in the story.

Also above all, The Witch King is just a very honest journey of self-identity and transness, and how love and support are two very important factors when discovering ourselves. Wyatt’s doubts and insecurities, his anger towards the world, the people, and the messed up system, his confusion about his gender/sexuality and then finally his realization—all of these are part of his journey discovering himself. Throughout the book, we also see how Wyatt not getting the love and support he needed and deserved from his parents lead him to a confusing/destructive path and made it harder for him to truly know himself. I love this so much and I love that the author chose to show this side of being queer/trans.

Overall, this book was just irresistibly good. At the same time, The Witch King reminds me of those fanfics that are just brimming with angst and drama and sexual tension, but also have depth and intellect as well. I enjoyed this a LOT.

Also, this is your reminder to LET TRANS CHARACTERS BE MESSY. I’ve seen a couple of people criticize Wyatt for being messy, but isn’t that the point? He is messy and he makes mistakes, and that’s completely okay. That’s his journey. I have seen people praise and celebrate morally grey cis men, main characters and villains alike, who are far worse and have done more questionable things. But now trans characters are here and they make a couple of mistakes and suddenly they’re completely unlikable and you can’t stand it? These double standards suck. (Now I’m sorry for that semi-rant. 😂 Wyatt is messy and that’s okay and I love him for that.)

If you’ve read the book, let me know what you think in the comments! If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you check this out and add it to your spooky TBRs!


Buy The Witch King

Amazon | Book Depository | Bookshop | Barnes & Noble


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