King of Naught (Strands of Existence: Book 3)
King of Naught (Strands of Existence: Book 3) by Aino Lahteva
Hey guys, welcome back to Bookish Beyond.
How have you been?
Today, I’m excited to be reviewing King of Naught (Strands of Existence: Book 3) by Aino Lahteva.
So, if you’ve got your favourite drink to hand and are all settled in, let’s begin.
King of Naught is once again set in Kerth, in the land of Aderas, and follows our leading lady, Consecrator-ess Isa.
Having defeated a powerful foe and uncovering her husband’s dark magical secret, Isa returns in book three to face a host of new struggles, some personal and others political. For one, she struggles to accept the shocking news about her beloved husband and how his dark powers may eventually lead to his demise.
While Rime learns about his developing powers and how to control them, Isa seeks answers so she can work to heal the land. Meanwhile, Riestel (a fellow consecrator) hopes Isa will accompany him on a journey through the lighter world to find his lost daughter, Elona.
In addition to these previous issues, Rime faces continuing conflicts with his father, Frazil, who is due to be sworn in as Kerth’s next King. Concurrently, Isa fights to contain her growing feelings for Reistel, her beloved from another lifetime, while Istrata (The Witch Queen) slumbers somewhere in the lighter world, waiting to reclaim her throne.
Of all the characters mentioned in book three, I chose to focus on the following four due to the key roles they play in the story; Isa, Rime, Riestel, and Frazil.
Isa is a powerful flame consecrator-ess and reincarnation of the Witch Queen, Istrata. While Isa has grown from the timid young woman she was in books one and two, she is still highly inquisitive, passionate, and brave beyond measure. She longs to create, to become more than she currently is and demonstrates great strength in the face of numerous obstacles in her life. She is also a perceptive and empathetic individual who sees into people on a deeper level than most. In addition, she is highly determined when she has a goal in mind and stubbornly refuses to give way in the face of obstacles that block her path. However, she is also wary of other people, never knowing who can and cannot be trusted. Overall, I continued to adore Isa’s character as she is an admirable, resilient, and fully fleshed out character with her own emotions, motivations, goals, and inner turmoil.
Next, we come to Rime, Isa’s beloved husband. Rime is a caring yet reserved man, who commands authority over the soldiers of Kerth. He is a practical and reasonable man who is empathetic to other’s plights. However, throughout the book, Rime’s character began to change, no doubt due to the dark power he has long hidden. While he was still a kind and practical man, there were times where I worried for Isa, where I felt he wasn’t being quite truthful with her. While Rime continues to be passionate about helping his city and showed remarkable restraint on many occasions around his arrogant father Frazil, I began to distrust his character and couldn’t help but feel like his and Isa’s connection was beginning to fizzle out.
Now for my second favourite character, Reistel. Reistel is another powerful consecrator, this time commanding the element of ice, and is also the Witch Queen’s former husband. Reistel was – as ever – a cunning and highly intelligent man who often gets on Isa’s nerves. However, book three delved deeper into his past and began painting a more complex picture of him as an individual. Although Reistel could still be quite cold emotionally, there were more frequent instances of him being selfless and compassionate, doing what he thought would benefit others, even if it cost him what he wanted most in life. In contrast to how I cooled toward Rime, I found myself increasingly warming to Reistel as a character, finding him charming and funny, and feeling great empathy for the hardships he had endured in his long life. Overall, I came to root more for him and his goals than for Rime’s.
Finally, we come to Frazil, the final key player of book three. As Rime’s father and the soon to be King of Kerth, I had high expectations of him to deliver a prosperous future for his people. At first, he seems like a deeply caring man, thawing a little toward his son, despite them occasionally butting heads. However, as time progressed, I came to see Frazil as a self-preoccupied person, with more manipulative traits than I had first realized. His selfishness and lack of perceptiveness or practicality led me to dislike him all the more throughout the book.
There were many positives to reading King of Naught, which I have briefly outlined below:
- Firstly, I immediately felt pulled back into Isa’s world with its mysterious magic, complicated romantic triangle, and power dynamics between officials. I felt like the author was returning me to a home I had long grown distant from and it felt wonderful to feel connected to Isa’s world once more.
- Secondly, the author’s writing style is beautiful, being emotive while weaving intense meaning into every event and interaction between her characters.
- Thirdly, the first person narration made it easy to relate to Isa’s experiences and to take on her general perspective. In addition, I adored how her emotional experience was so well expressed in her narration of the story’s events.
- I particularly enjoyed Isa and Reistel’s banter. These amusing moments helped to lift the mood after more tense scenes. I especially liked their discussions surrounding topics such as the lighter world and what happens to souls after death.
- In addition, the characters feel real: their various relationships with others are intricately detailed, each with its own unique and interesting dynamic.
- Furthermore, I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Reistel’s past and began to understand just how complex of an individual he is.
- Finally, the author uses a range of conflicts to keep the story engaging, mixing up Isa’s more internal personal conflicts, with interpersonal issues between her and Rime – or Reistel and others –, along with more external conflicts such as the state of Kerth’s future under new rule.
While there were many memorable quotes in this book, I have settled on mentioning the following six.
1) ‘I had to learn how to guard my feelings and thoughts better. It was silly to allow others to influence them’.
2) ‘People must know their boundaries’.
3) ‘There is much we can do with just the force coursing through nature – we are a part of the cycle’.
4) ‘No-one can do without someone they can trust’.
5) ‘People become expendable with power’.
6) ‘They say the generations before us echo in us’.
Overall, I found King of Naught to be a wonderful, gripping extension of the Strands of Existence series. It made for a suspenseful read which piqued my curiosity throughout.
Key themes included war, love and loss, life and death, magic, power, friendship, family, and trust.
My Rating: 5 stars.
Recommended to: lovers of unique, enchanting, and gripping fantasy series with likable protagonists.
Would you like more information?
To learn more about King of Naught, you can visit its Goodreads page, HERE.
Or, to find out more about Aino Lahteva, simply visit her website, HERE.
As always, thank you for joining me for today’s review.
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Have a wonderful week,