Audiobook Review: QUEENSLAYER by Sebastien de Castell

Title in purple above a man with a broad brimmed hat holding a staff and cards
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4.5 stars
Series: yes - book 5
CW: attempted rape



Book cover for QUEENSLAYER: boy with a stick, hat and fanned cards above the title, with a girl covering one eye below (like a playing card)

Kellen and Reichis have just finished fighting a duel in the desert when Kellen inadvertently smears blood on the Daroman flag – an act of treason for which the Marshals have no choice but to arrest him.

Just before he’s put before the Queen to be executed, Kellen is given a strange piece of advice from one of his fellow prisoners: kill the Queen and he’ll be given clemency by those who take power. But when Kellen comes face-to-face with the eleven year-old monarch, he realises she’s vastly smarter than he expected – and in a great deal more danger.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


This is my favourite installment so far, for one simple reason: THE POLITICS. No surprise there; as QUEENSLAYER is full of political fantasy elements, I absolutely loved it!

This book is set in the Darrome (?sp) court, and the central idea is who wants to take the throne from the Queen. So many twisting threads stretching across the country and court, I loved listening to them unfold and try to work out who was behind it all. It plays out a bit like a mystery, with layers of deception piling on with each chapter.

There’s a maid locked up for a hidden crime, a distraught countess, loyal servants who will do anything to protect the Queen, and a powerful military commander in a country that’s signed a peace treaty. And right in the middle of it all, Kellen and his bloodthirsty business party. He’s so unsuited to courtly intrigue, used to fighting his way through. At least, that’s what he thinks. It was so much fun seeing him realise that the Argosi talents he’s been learning could give him a chance – if only he’d stop and think.

The intrigue is balanced out with more card games and action, so it still feels like the rest of the series. In fact, the best chapter was his first interaction with the queen – and he plays a game for his life. It’s very long (an hour at my speed, in a thirteen hour audiobook), but it’s so tense and reveals a lot about Kellen and the Queen.

And onto the final book! I’m quite excited to see how this ends now – hopefully his family will get their comeuppance. It didn’t end with him being set up to go after his father, but given the title of the next book – CROWNBREAKER – I have hopes. And his family have been major recurring characters. And maybe the return of Ferrius? I just want to see her again.

Read my reviews of other books by Sebastien de Castell:

Argosi (chronologically before this series):

Spellslinger (this series):

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