King of Blood (The Masks of Under, book 4) by Kathryn Ann Kingsley
The blood of my friend is on Aon’s hands, a King who would do anything to protect me. He believes his actions are justified because of a prophecy by the Ancients predicting my undoing by the hands of a friend. I refuse to accept it. Nothing can justify what Aon did, what he took from me. But as one threat is buried, another arises. The other Kings and Queens of Under are waking up from their crypts, and a war among us is imminent. The need for revenge and power is driving immortals to the brink of madness. While the other Kings and Queens of Under are blinded by their own selfish conquests, something big and more dangerous than anything we’ve ever faced is about to shake Under to its core. There’s one King who seems to hold the key to it all, the answers to our fate. A white-winged angel, a legion whose mind is made of a thousand souls with magic strong enough to hold the Ancients captive at the bottom of the pool. The King of Blood. I just need to determine whether he’s an ally…or the worst enemy Under has ever seen.
Aon has done the unspeakable by murdering Lydia’s friend. While it was an act of love and desperation, the cold-blooded killing has left Lydia shaken to her core and her relationship with Aon on rocky ground. As the trial for the murder draws near and other Kings and Queens of Under wake, where will the chips land as everyone struggles for power, especially over the Dreamer Queen?
Just when you think Under can’t get any more exciting, Kingsley adds a whole new twist as a rift opens between Lydia and Aon. Far too soon, their star-crossed love is thrust into the spotlight, and all the royals of Under - no longer just Edu - become privy to the goings on between Lydia and Aon these past few months.
Lydia’s sharp tongue and wit are well maintained in this fourth installment, and her words are given more weight as she’s now a Queen and interacting with the royals rising from their crypts. I still love her “don’t bother me” attitude because it keeps her separate from the other beings in Under who have fallen into their houses or worship the ancients. It’s unsurprising, since she’s always been headstrong, but she’s also the brand new leader of a dead house without anyone to guide her decisions. Quite unfortunately for her, however, is the lack of experience she has as the other kings and queens wake.
First on the scene is Rxa, quickly followed by Dtu, then Ini and Vjo. Lydia is given no introductions, no time to react, as reunions and old friendships blossom - which further marks her as the outsider royal she is. Fortunately, Lydia is able to rely on her previous friendships and a few new ones who support the return of the Dreamer Queen.
True to form, Kingsley works toward another unforgettable plot twist as the book draws to a close. Lines are crossed, blood is spilled, and a whole new danger emerges. Just when the beings of Under think they’re safe, everything takes a turn for the worst, and I can’t wait to see what comes next!