King of Shadows (The Masks of Under book 2) by Kathryn Ann Kingsley
Some call him a madman. Others call him a warlock. Both are true.
But if it wasn’t for Aon, I’d be dead. I was mere seconds away from dying by Edu’s hands when the King of Shadows appeared in a flash of lightning, saving me from Edu’s murderous plans.
Now I’m under his protection, living in his home. The more time I’m forced to spend with him, the more I start to piece together the puzzle of why Aon and Edu are at war.
Despite how everyone else seems to hate Aon, there’s something that pulls me towards him—like gravity, refusing to let go. My heart is telling me to believe what he says is true, yet there’s this prickle of warning in the back of my skull cautioning me against falling for the King of Shadows.
In the world of Under trusting the wrong person can get you killed. Only the strong survive out here, and that’s what I intend to do.
[This review contains spoilers for King of Flames]
We last left our brilliant Lydia riding off into the sunset on her bug-horse, pursued by a violent Edu. Just when she thinks she’s in the clear – boom! Aon, the warlock, appears in a burst of lightning which knocks Lydia off her horse. Now up until this point everyone has described Aon as a twisted, violent, and horrible monster. So it’s safe to assume that Aon, now in the flesh instead of Lydia’s dreams, is going to cause Lydia some problems. Right? What a surprise it is, then, when Aon scoops Lydia into his arms and carries her away from Edu and certain death.
King of Shadows doesn’t miss a beat as it picks right up where King of Flames left off, and it doesn’t let off the gas pedal either. Add more mystery, more subplots, and of course… more Aon. (Think of Rhysand from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas except crazier and set in a much creepier world.)
Lydia is taken into Aon’s home and tended to – you know, because she fell off a bug-horse – and since Edu wants her dead, Aon steps up to take her under his wing. Although he says she’ll come to no harm in his care, can she really trust someone who literally every other character fears? While reading this I was constantly on edge, waiting for the “ha gotcha” moment where Aon flips the switch and goes psycho. Aside from some gimmer moments, which had their purposes, we’re introduced to a completely different side of Aon, one who continues to live with a purpose despite the approaching void that is slowly consuming Under. Furthermore, we learn that the dangerous beast does have a heart! Which, unfortunately, gets hurt.
Kingsley has done it again with King of Shadows. After the last page I wanted more, more, more – and not just because of the cliffhanger ending. She’s set so many little pieces into motion that are only now starting to come together, and that coupled with the easy, natural flow of Kingsley’s writing style makes these Masks of Under books fly by. Another fantastic read (and this is only book 2 out of a 6 book series), and I absolutely cannot wait to see what happens next in Queen of Dreams.
For more on Kathryn Ann Kingsley and her The Masks of Under series, check out her website: https://www.kathrynkingsley.com/.