The line between death and ecstasy is thin in Hannah Whitten's The Foxglove King, an enthralling fantasy novel of court intrigue, forbidden romance and necromancy. Twenty-three-year-old Lore is doubly hunted in the city of Dellaire: she has worked in the illegal poison trade for a decade and possesses the ability to manipulate Mortem. Though it leaks steadily from the catacombs beneath the city, the use of Mortem, the magic from death, is forbidden to all but the Presque Mort, an elite group of religious warriors tasked with dispelling it. When a drop goes wrong and Lore resurrects a horse in the middle of a street full of guards, the Sainted King and his brother, the Priest Exalted, seize the opportunity to compel her to use her gifts for their ends.
As with her Wilderwood duology, Whitten (For the Throne; For the Wolf) excels at building a dark and unique magic system and complex characters. Whitten's royal court is poisonous in the expected social and political ways, but poison in her world is also the path to temporary ecstasy and even prolonged life. Risk death--and reap the rewards. Lore must work with brooding Presque Mort Gabriel to spy on the power-mad king's dashing son, pretend to be part of the treacherous Citadel society and defend her people from a conquering empire. Adult readers of Adalyn Grace and fans of Ava Reid, Tasha Suri and Jennifer L. Armentrout will want to pick this up. --Suzanne Krohn, librarian and freelance reviewer