Leta’s Book Review: The King Will Kill You by Sarah Henning

The King Will Kill You by Sarah Henning

Fantasy, Romance, 13+

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

What an absolute adventure this series has been!

The Kingdoms of Sand and Sky Trilogy is a retelling of an incredibly special story: The Princess Bride. Excitement was my first reaction, followed closely by apprehension. I consider The Princess Bride to be one of the most perfectly told stories (you can disagree, we all have differing perspectives!) and I know how easily retellings lose important things in translation.

I should offer a disclaimer: I grew up watching The Princess Bride ALL THE TIME. It was the movie my sister and I put on when we were sick, the feel-good story we still watch when we need a pick me up, and the main theme (called Storybook Love) is what my sister walked down the aisle to at her wedding this summer. This story is so close to my heart.

While reading The Princess Will Save You, I was introduced to a cast of characters that were definitely inspired by those beloved ones in The Princess Bride. But each one is a bit changed. Amarande and Luca are both reflections of Wesley, and they are both reflections of Buttercup, in different moments. The rest of the cast are varying degrees similar to the characters in The Princess Bride (TPB). I have seen reviews saying that this made it less enjoyable, but I found that it was a lovely reflection and honouring of The Princess Bride without trying to retell the same story or change it. I wouldn’t want it to be any more similar. Sarah Henning’s trilogy is able to stand on its own – you don’t need to know anything about TPB to enjoy this romantic fantasy adventure.

Speaking of negative points, I will concede that other reviews speak true: the plot of this series is a bit slow. The King Will Kill You wasn’t the worst for it, but it had moments where I was going “okay, let’s get on with hearing about someone else now”. I read this book in one sitting, though, so it might have felt faster than it would have if I’d taken a day or two. Thankfully, all three of the books are relatively short and even if they’re slower at times it doesn’t take long to get back to the action.

Amarande and Luca have become so close to my heart over the course of reading The Kingdoms of Sand and Sky Trilogy. I absolutely love their love and how they balance each other in different ways as the series moves through its beats. The biggest theme in TPB is true love and how it can prevail. The theme of true love was translated beautifully from The Princess Bride to Sarah Henning’s Kingdoms of Sand and Sky trilogy. You can see between brothers and sisters, chosen family, and a princess and her stable boy. In juxtaposition to true love, there are great examples of false love – the kind that parades itself as true and eventually turns on you.

The King Will Kill You is a perfect conclusion. It contained more politics than maybe was necessary, but it was balanced by the action and movement of the characters into the places they needed to be by the climax.

Both fans of The Princess Bride and fans of fantasy or romance plots will enjoy this brief and intense series. If you aren’t looking for a trilogy, it would be easy enough to read the first novel, The Princess Will Save You and not continue with The Queen Will Betray You. The first novel is almost self-contained, but reading the second will leave you with phenomenal cliffhangers. Thankfully, this series is all out now, so you can always pick up the trilogy and dive completely in without a wait!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: