The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence (The Red Queen’s War #2)

The Red Queen has set her players on the board…

Winter is keeping Prince Jalan Kendeth far from the longed-for luxuries of his southern palace. And although the North may be home to his companion, the warrior Snorri ver Snagason, he is just as eager to leave. For the Viking is ready to challenge all of Hell to bring his wife and children back into the living world. He has Loki’s key – now all he needs is to find the door.

As all wait for the ice to unlock its jaws, the Dead King plots to claim what was so nearly his – the key to the underworld — so that his dead subjects can rise and rule.

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 I have been a fan of Mark Lawrence’s books since around the time “Emperor of Thorns” released, as each new book releases I seem to enjoy his books more and more. “The Liar’s Key” is no exception to this.

“The Liar’s Key” picks right up where we left of at the end of “Prince of Fools” and for me this is the perfect way to start the book, especially if you are reading the books back to back as I believe it helps with world immersion and doesn’t break the flow of the story.

My favourite aspect of Mark Lawrence’s work is how over the course of the book the characterisation help’s you fully realise how much a character has grown. This is no more apparent than with Jalan because at the start of the book we can see he has become somewhat of a more battle hardened warrior but he still has the unique traits of a stuck up, cowardly prince. But as the book develops we see him evolve as a character and start to become someone I would never have expected. While reading other books I have noticed sometimes that when an author does this the character will completely change and we no longer see any of their original traits but Mark doesn’t allow this to happen because even when Jalan evolves as character you can still see some of original princely traits come through during certain situations. Jalan is definitely my favourite character and I think how Mark not only balances his personality alongside Snorri’s but allows them to bounce off one another helps show them off in the best possible way.

The brilliance of “The Liar’s Key” doesn’t stop there because we then have the astounding world building Mark has developed for the Broken Empire. Reading about the world our characters are set in truly grips you. Due to this I sometimes found myself getting lost within the world to a point where I lost chunks of time to reading due to how immersed I had become in the world. If you have read Mark’s first trilogy “The Broken Empire” then you will also notice he has knitted little intricacies throughout the story and some of the characters also make cameos in the story. Not only this but as the story itself progresses we can see how it affects the world and its inhabitants as a bigger picture.

Over the last number of years I have noticed a lot of books seem to have one point or another in the book that will slow or break the pace of the book and this seems to be the case more so with 2nd books in a series/trilogy (sometimes called middle book syndrome). For me this certainly wasn’t the case with “The Liar’s Key”. If anything I think this book is a stronger and much more a gripping read than “Prince of Fools”, this is hard to say considering how much I enjoyed that book. The story in “The Liar’s Key” was fantastic, I found it thoroughly gripping and it never once lets you go as you jump from one intense scene to another. There are certain points you might find yourself thinking that you are coming to a natural winding down point in the book but then Mark pick’s right back up again. Many books struggle to do this as because once you start at a certain pace it can be hard to keep this up throughout the book but for me this book never loses its interest, intrigue or fascination with the story, characters or world.

With all of the above in mind I thoroughly enjoyed reading “The Liar’s Key” and I am eagerly anticipating my read of the conclusion to the series “The Wheel of Osheim”. If you a fan of fantasy books then I would highly recommend reading Mark Lawrence’s work as I believe he is a fantastic writer in the fantasy genre. More so recently I was glad to hear Mark Lawrence won the David Gemmell Legend award for this very book and hopefully he can do the same again for “The Wheel of Osheim”.

Now that you have finished reading my review of “The Liars Key” what are you waiting for go read yourself some Mark Lawrence.

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