BOOK REVIEWS,  FANTASY,  FICTION,  NETGALLEY

BOOK REVIEW : THE KILLING FOG ( THE GRAVE KINGDOM #1) BY JEFF WHEELER

If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.

– Dawanjir proverb ( The killing fog)

TITLE : The Killing Fog ( Grave Kingdom #1)

AUTHOR : Jeff Wheeler

GENRE : YA, Fantasy

FBRC RATING : 5 Stars

PUBLISHING DATE : 3rd March 2020

BLURB :

The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Kingfountain series conjures an epic, adventurous world of ancient myth and magic as a young woman’s battle with infinite evil begins.

Survivor of a combat school, the orphaned Bingmei belongs to a band of mercenaries employed by a local ruler. Now the nobleman, and collector of rare artifacts, has entrusted Bingmei and the skilled team with a treacherous assignment: brave the wilderness’s dangers to retrieve the treasures of a lost palace buried in a glacier valley. But upsetting its tombs has a price.

Echion, emperor of the Grave Kingdom, ruler of darkness, Dragon of Night, has long been entombed. Now Bingmei has unwittingly awakened him and is answerable to a legendary prophecy. Destroying the dark lord before he reclaims the kingdoms of the living is her inherited mission. Killing Bingmei before she fulfills it is Echion’s.

Thrust unprepared into the role of savior, urged on by a renegade prince, and possessing a magic that is her destiny, Bingmei knows what she must do. But what must she risk to honor her ancestors? Bingmei’s fateful choice is one that neither her friends nor her enemies can foretell, as Echion’s dark war for control unfolds. 

FBRC REVIEW :

DISCLAIMER : I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and 47North for providing me with an ARC of this book.

The Killing Fog by Jeff wheeler is the first book in the Grave Kingdom series. It is a very promising first book and pulled me in from the very beginning. The book is about an orphaned teenager Bingmei who belongs to a school where they are trained to be warriors. They are available for hire by the Kings to complete various missions. Bingmei and her journey are one of exploration, growth, and sacrifice. Will she able to sacrifice herself for the people and do they deserve it? The story was fascinating, engaging, and a definite page-turner with the right pacing and story development.

The group is lead by a fierce leader Kunmia. Kunmia is hired by King Budai to collect various artifacts that contain magic. He then comes across a fisherman who found a rare piece of stone that is claimed to be the part of the Summer Palace. They set forth on this journey teaming up with another Quonsuun to find out if the stories of the Summer Palace and its existence is true or not. The team is ambushed by bandits and by following their leader’s instructions they get pulled into an unexpected situation. Bingmei unknowingly brings Echion the Emperor of Darkness into existence and therefore dooming their country into destruction, despair, and tyranny.

Bingmei is our central character and we follow her from when is 12 yrs old to her teenage years as a young adult. Her character is brave, smart and special. She is someone who is said to have the winter sickness which is loathed in certain parts of her country whereas welcomed and respected in other neighboring countries. Her pale skin and white hair have always been looked at with contempt and wariness by people. Her parents and her grandfather loved her enough to avoid getting hurt by outsiders. Her training began at a very young age. She was a hard worker who had the passion and dedication to be a warrior. Her character was not that of a perfect girl who is flawed, selfish at times and someone who made her own survival a priority. I loved her character and the role she plays in bringing the story together.

Kunmia is a fierce warrior with the heart of gold. She was a second parent to Bingmei and guided her journey. She is protective, selfless and a great example to follow for her young followers. I loved her and how she was secure and confident in her position as the leader of her Quonsuun. She handled her situations very well and was always humble.

Marenqo, Zhui, and Meishi were great cast as well. They were different and had their voices with interesting traits. The fisherman Quion is also a great supporting character. They all were amazing. Bao Damanhur is the leader of the second Quonsuun. He is arrogant, prideful and a great warrior as well. He is an interesting character and his relationship with Prince Rowen is also fascinating. They are all unique. All these characters and their motivation to be part of the expedition to find the Summer Palace. Their skillset and strengths help them move forward on their journey. The expedition itself was risky to attempt and the outcome was unknown. The greed and need to be in power shifts from some characters to the other character.

Rowen as a character hasn’t shown his true nature, he is very good at controlling his emotions and not letting it get the best of him. He is prideful, jealous, and ambitious. He is not what you expect in a prince and yet you can’t help their cause because they are all banded together to ward off the enemies. One thing the book has in common is the characters are gray. Morality, right or wrong is something they grapple with. They do understand the severity of situations but have difficulty doing the right thing as well.

Emperor Echion is truly a great villain and the perfect antagonist with powers unknown to the characters and dark magic that rivals the living world. His limitations are unknown and the extent to which he might use magic to gain power is not something we can imagine at this point. He is without mercy, prideful and arrogant. I want to know more about him and how it all connects him to Bingmei.

We see the elements of greed, revenge and the aftermath of these. How the power and the greed for more end up with more people dead. The book is not heavy on gore, it was clean but at the same time had fight sequences, adventures they take us on. I am extremely curious about Bingmei and her special skills. I wasn’t a fan of it in the beginning and after the story progressed I was OK with it. I want to know more about their background, history of the place and the connections they have to current events. I wonder how Bingmei will accomplish her task and come out unscathed as well. It is nearly impossible, but I love her determination and motivation to do things. Hopefully, we will get an amazing sequel to this book. I can’t wait to read it and discover more of Echion, Bingmei, and Rowen.

Overall this was a fun and engaging read. I loved it and totally recommend it to all YA fantasy readers. It’s unique, well written and amazing…Definitely check it out…

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