~ Audiobook Review: Witch King (ARC) ~

Expected publication May 30, 2023

Author: Martha Wells

Narrator: Eric Mok

Audiobook Length: 13 Hours and 9 Minutes

A story of power and friendship, of trust and betrayal, and of the families we choose.

“I didn’t know you were a… demon.”
“You idiot. I’m the demon.”
Kai’s having a long day in Martha Wells’ Witch King….

After being murdered, his consciousness dormant and unaware of the passing of time while confined in an elaborate water trap, Kai wakes to find a lesser mage attempting to harness Kai’s magic to his own advantage. That was never going to go well.

But why was Kai imprisoned in the first place? What has changed in the world since his assassination? And why does the Rising World Coalition appear to be growing in influence?

Kai will need to pull his allies close and draw on all his pain magic if he is to answer even the least of these questions.

He’s not going to like the answers.

I haven’t experienced well-known The Murderbot Diaries series, so Witch King was my first read by Martha Wells. The story follows a demon from the Underworld named Kai who wakes up imprisoned. There are two timelines where the reader follows the past of how he got there and the present of what he will do next. The story starts in the middle of the action, so it takes awhile to put all the pieces together. This may work for some readers and not for others, so for me I do wish there was a bit more introduction to the story just to captivate me more right away. As-is, it took me a few times to pick up this story, but the audiobook did help move it along more, for me. I think it would have taken me a lot longer to read if I did the printed version or I may have been distracted by other novels instead.

There is a lot of detail in this novel, including descriptions of the clothes and culture. At times, the volume is a bit much as they take away from the plot. In others, though, they were well-done and added a lot to the story. I think the writing had a difficult time finding the sweet spot in the amount to include, but I can see the potential with this author. There are a lot of characters in this story. I think if I tried to memorize all of them, I would fail, but I was able to, at least, track everyone enough to follow the story. Kai was a great protagonist where he was darker yet likeable. The other characters in the story all fit well together, but I do wish that the story went into more about them. At times, some of them read a little flat and other times they read well-rounded. I believe this may be due to everything being crammed into a single novel. Since the reader is dropped in the middle of the action before the pieces are revealed, it reads like a sequel, and I think a prequel novel to fully explore the background would be nice.

The novel is more plot-driven and follows Kai’s journey. The pieces are put together slowly. With the past and present happening plus the unique chapter structure, the novel is a little convoluted. The concept is great, but I think the execution did not quite get there. Eric Mok was an engaging narrator, but it was still difficult to follow the material. The ending is satisfying with some questions being answered, but there are still some questions left. There is a lot of material packed into the novel where there would be enough to break it apart and make it multiple books. I think there are readers that will love this story; however, it just did not quite work for me. Overall, I think Wells has a lot of potential to work with me as an author, but this story did not quite get there.

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for the opportunity to read this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed are completely my own.**

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