TITLE : Knight’s Ransom (The First Argentines #1)
AUTHOR : Jeff Wheeler
GENRE : Fantasy, Young Adult, Epic Fantasy
FR RATING : ⭐⭐⭐⭐(4 Stars)
DATE OF PUBLISHING : January 26th 2021
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, 47North for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Knight’s Ransom by Jeff Wheeler is the first book in The First Argentines series. This series is set in the same world as the Kingfountain series. The court historian finds a personal journal of a lady who was held at Kingfountain to ensure her father’s loyalty to the King. The story is told from Ransom the knight’s perspective and Claire’s journal entries. Devon Argentine takes over the Kingdom and Knight’s Ransom tells the story of a King who ruled with an iron fist and how his actions cause a rift within his court. We follow Ransom as a young boy who was held, hostage by the King of Kingfountain. Later on, the King and Ransom form a wonderful relationship despite their unfortunate beginnings. After the death of the King, Ransom and other hostages were freed from the castle. Ransom is again without a master to serve, and this leaves him unsettled. He is then taken in by his maternal uncle and he starts training to be a knight. After getting knighted and showing his fighting prowess his life gets upended again. He is then taken into the service of the Prince and heir to the throne. With plots to overthrow King Devon the elder, Ransom has to decide where loyalties lie. With more court politics and machinations happening inside the Kingdom, Ransom also has to work to control and hone his growing powers. This is the story of a knight and his journey through the tumultuous times plaguing the Kingdom.
I read this before reading the Kingfountain series and found myself being a little confused at times. So once I finished this book, I decided to check out the Kingfountain books. I am so glad I decided to read the books because if not for the information in the previous series, certain things would have been too easy to overlook. I saw a lot of parallels between the two stories and how similar and yet how different the stories were shaping up to be. Some scenarios and circumstances are mirrored in the books, with enough differences to make it it’s own. I also loved how the story is moving at a faster pace and takes us through Ransom’s childhood, adolescence and adulthood in the same book rather than focusing on one stage for an entire book. I felt the transition to be organic. Also, Claire’s chapters added the extra details and the diary entries were a window into her thoughts and feelings.
The characters in this book felt a lot more real and had more depth to them when compared to the Kingfountain books. The role of poisoners is very much prevalent and has more significance to the plot. The main characters, side characters all came together to elevate the story.
Ransom is dedicated, loyal and hardworking. He is also quite vulnerable and we get to see that side of him often in this story and how he overcomes that. Life hasn’t been easy for Ransom and the more he moves forward the more he realizes that despite his good intentions and dedication, misfortune and upheavals are to be his constant companions in life. Claire is the opposite of Ransom and has a fiery personality and quick wit that makes her stand out. Ransom is drawn to her and while friendship and romance are not the main focus these still play their part in the plot and Ransom’s storyline. With every Jeff Wheeler book I read, I am finding that the romances always develop too fast for my liking, and the telling and not showing at times also makes it difficult to develop the relationship to my satisfaction. Having said that it is important to notice that in comparison to the other Jeff Wheeler books, this romance felt more believable and well-developed than the others.
The plot was really good. With constant action, war sequences, training sequences, and other aspects to keep the reader pumped up, there was really no lull in the story. Some twists and turns will keep the readers on their feet. The political intrigue, court politics, machinations, constant plotting, and betrayals all added to the enrichment of the story. The layers upon layers of intrigue were so good and felt like the world would shift at the slightest breeze and shift it did.
The writing was so much better than the Kingfountain series and Jeff has made the improvements to the things that didn’t work in the previous series. The pacing of the story was very much enjoyable. It kept me on my toes, was much faster and the progression of events was at a faster pace leaving no room to relax.
The lore, the magic, the Arthurian legends-inspired tales all added the extra layer of epicness to the story. Not only the themes were classic in feel they also gave off the medieval vibe with the way it was presented. The setting and the world-building are amazing and I loved exploring more of this world. The more I learn, the more invested I am in this series. The fantasy world of Kingfountain is quite expansive and we get to see more of it in this story. This is an immersive world with new aspects to explore and more magical elements to figure out.
Overall, this story is a perfect combo of plot and character and is an epic fantasy that is full of action and court politics. If you enjoy stories that take us on a journey through a character’s life with an immersive world then definitely check this one out. I really had a great time reading the book and I am already onto the next book in the series. I gave the book 4 stars and can’t wait to see how the story progresses and all the adventure and trials Ransom will have to face in the upcoming books. I highly recommend checking this series out f you enjoy Arthurian legends and stories of betrayal, loyalty, and honor.
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. A brutal war of succession has plunged the court of Kingfountain into a power struggle between a charitable king who took the crown unlawfully and his ambitious rival, Devon Argentine. The balance of power between the two men hinges on the fate of a young boy ensnared in this courtly intrigue. A boy befittingly nicknamed Ransom.
When the Argentine family finally rules, Ransom must make his own way in the world. Opportunities open and shut before him as he journeys along the path to knighthood, blind to a shadowy conspiracy of jealousy and revenge. Securing his place will not be easy, nor will winning the affection of Lady Claire de Murrow, a fiery young heiress from an unpredictably mad kingdom.
Ransom interrupts an abduction plot targeting the Queen of Ceredigion and earns a position in service to her son, the firstborn of the new Argentine dynasty. But conflict and treachery threaten the family, and Ransom must also come to understand and hone his burgeoning powers—abilities that involve more than his mastery with a blade and that make him as much a target as his lord.
Source : Goodreads