The Queen’s Poisoner – Jeff Wheeler

Too many people are frightened. They want youth to last. They complain bitterly if sickness comes. But the world is always in tumult, and fortunes rise and fall and fail. It is the ambitious who accomplish things. It takes courage to be ambitious, for never was anything great achieved without risk.


Duke of Kiskaddon attempt at getting rid of the ruthless king has failed and he has to pay the price for treachery. He is forced to give up his youngest son to serve as a hostage. And another misstep will cost him his child’s life. Now, Owen needs to leave his mother’s loving embrace and learn how to survive in a court full of vipers.

The prose in this book is really beautiful and poetic, but I think it’s the first time when I was actually bothered by that. The author uses his extraordinary skill in writing to make overly drawn-out scenes even longer.

I also feel very resentful towards the world-building in this novel. The world is very detailed and well thought out, but instead of incorporating the explanations into the story in an interesting and creative way, the author simply chose the good old info dump. If I was in the mood for long, detailed and boring descriptions of landscapes, I would just simply read a Tolkien’s book.

The characters are definitely the best part of this novel. Since nothing actually happens in this story, the author at least took the time to create vivid, interesting characters, even though some of them are a bit too black-or-white for my taste (Tolkien again? Anyone?).

Unfortunately, Owen definitely isn’t a very well-crafted character. I mean, he’s great. But either the author never in his life had an interaction with a child (like ever. EVER.) or he simply has no idea how to write a child character. Most of the time he feels like a 25-30 year old man. At least. I caught myself time and time again forgetting that he’s actually 8 years old.

I definitely liked Ankarette the most, but I feel like her potential was wasted. Since the book was named after her – the Queen’s poisoner – I expected a little bit more… you know… poisoning.

I just want to sigh. Very loudly. I am so… tired.

Nothing happened in this book. Like, actually nothing.

Sometimes it liked to tease me. Pretending like something would happen for a change. But then it never delivered.

Actually, I am lying. The ending was semi-decent. It pretty much saved this whole book. But I still feel very resentful.

I understand. This book is setting up a scene for the rest of the series. And maybe the rest of this series is amazing. Maybe the rest of the series is an actual masterpiece. But, hell. I don’t know if it will be worth going through THAT.


You can find this book on Goodreads and Book Depository

9 thoughts on “The Queen’s Poisoner – Jeff Wheeler

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  1. That’s a bummer. This book and series is one of my favorites. I remember it much differently than you do though! I also think it helps to be a history buff. This is a fantastical alt-history, but I don’t think anyone would even pick up on it unless they were very familiar with the War of the Roses. Still- great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am aware that it’s a well loved book. I feel like this story has a lot of potential, but I lost patience for books that are as slow paced as this one long time ago. I might give it another chance, though. I already own the rest of this series and I heard that there is also a book about Ankarette. I am really interested in her story. Have you read it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t read it, but I own it. I don’t want to say don’t read them, but of all these books, The Queen’s Poisoner remains my favorite I think. I’m thinking maybe it’s just not your style? They are very much character driven lots of conspiracies and plotting.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s a pretty common theme in those older fantasy series – sacrificing the first book in the series to set the scene and then starting the story from there. I understand that choice, but can’t say that I am a fan.


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