If you’ve read my other reviews on the series thus far then you know how much I love Britta and Cohen. With that being said, I was really upset to find out that they weren’t in this book. I did enjoy Lirra and Aodren from Ever the Brave, plus the world that Summerill had created so I pushed them aside and read on. I’m so glad that I did. The story was just as rich and complex like the first two books in the series. While you technically don’t have to read the first two in order to enjoy this book, I recommend you do. You get a better understanding of the troubles that King Aodren face with Malam. Also, the personalities of Aodren and Lirra are already established. Aodren is desperate to bring channeler’s back to the Kingdom of Malam and is hoping to use the All Kingdom’s Summit to help create a sense of unity. The creation of a channeler substance is being traded in Malam. This substance may be harmful to the people who ingest it which is not helping the image that Aodren is trying to set. Unlike, the first two books, there aren’t many subplots. We immediately know what the problems our characters will be facing in this book. While I enjoyed the main and subplots in the first two books, it would have failed in this one so Summerill made a wise choice to focus on the main problem. However, I do felt that the lack of subplots created moments in the book that seemed repetitive. The repetitiveness included events that felt like they already occured, or the description of how the characters were feeling.
Lirra and Aodren were fantastic characters. I remembered really enjoying them from Ever the Brave and was happy to get more from them. Lirra is smart, cunning, and wildly devoted. She is so loyal to her family and in fantasy books, we don’t see that very often. There is always some sort of loyalty but Lirra would risk everything, even herself, in order to help. Aodren is smart, intuitive, and wildly devoted as well. He truly cares for the people of his kingdom and wants nothing but the best. He willingly puts himself in danger without a second guess if he feels like it will help his kingdom be better. In a lot of fantasy books we get the evil rulers so being able to have a King who truly cares was fantastic. I loved the dynamic between Lirra and Aodren. They definitely work well together. We got a lot of new characters in this story who were developed flawlessly as well. It was good to see some remaining characters which brought the feel of the previous books into this one.
Overall, Once A King by Erin Summerill was a great novel. Even though this could be read as a stand-alone, I highly recommend reading the first two books. There was some repetitive scenes in this book, which took away from the main focus. However, the story was brilliantly done and I enjoyed learning more about the other kingdoms while seeing Malam try to be the Kingdom is deserves to be. Lirra and Aodren were great characters and I’m glad we were able to get to know them better. I highly recommend this book for those who like mystery in their fantasy books and filled with action.