By: E. G. Radcliff
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Mythic Prairie Books
WARNING: There will be spoilers for the Hidden King & The Last Prince
In The Wild Court, the final installment of the The Coming of Áed Series, E. G. Radcliff has once again crafted the beautiful, touching, and moving story of Áed, along with an action-packed venture into the world of the fae. Looking back over the three books, the sequencing is magnificent. The Hidden King speaks of Áed’s human side as he copes with the loss of his beloved Ninian, and becomes King. In the Last Prince, Ninian’s story and his relationship with Áed unfold into their poignant love story, their adoption of Ronan, all amidst the brutality of the Maze. The Wild Court finally delves into Áed’s half fae side. The three books reveal all sides Áed, coming together to complete the story of this beautiful and brilliant character. Ninian was not forgotten and even though it has been seven years from The Hidden King to the Wild Court, Áed will always love Ninian. I found myself tearing up every time he was mentioned.
The Wild Court is just that-a wild ride from beginning to end. E. G. Radcliff takes us back into Áed’s world and completes his story arc in such a loving way. Áed is a gentle soul, but he will fight fiercely for his kingdom and those he loves. As the veil between the world of humans and fae thin on the eve of the Autumn Festival, the fae enter Áed’s world. They bring with them war-a war that at the outset appears to be fae hunting other fae. When it is over, Áed knows he must protect his kingdom from further attacks by entering the realm of the fae. It is a side of him he has kept secret to all but Ronan and Boudicca. Even his closest friend and trusted council, Éamon, does not know. There is a fear of the fae in the human world, so Áed has guarded this secret carefully. Venturing into a realm where part of him belongs, begins to reveal all that he has tried so hard to hide. The realm of the fae is ruled by magic and different “courts”. The lower court magic is not as strong as the high court of the Queen. She wages war until they will return her consort to her. However, as the story progresses, we see a much larger plan that the Queen has for the two realms. It is up to Áed, Éamon, Ronan and the fae they ally with to stop her. Ms. Radcliff wrote very impressive battle scenes that were realistically written and appropriate for a young adult reader. The Wild Court is a page turning adventure, while completing for the reader Áed’s story, seeing Ronan grow and come of age, and finally, an acceptance of the past and finding peace. The action is so well written and paced, and interspersed with character development. I absolutely loved The Coming of Áed. I will miss these characters, especially Áed. I feel like I know him and went through all his pain, his happiness and adventures. Ultimately, for me, it was a story of family and love, and no matter what, love is love. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Radcliff’s work.
Summary (from Goodreads)
It’s the seventh year of Áed’s reign. While Ronan, full of restless wanderlust, dreams of a world outside the protective walls of the palace, and Éamon, Áed’s closest friend, struggles quietly with his growing feelings for the King, the world of The Gut is at peace.
Until on one cold, autumn festival night, faerie and human worlds collide. With the calm of the kingdom suddenly ablaze, Áed, Eamon, and Ronan find themselves catapulted into a realm as unfamiliar as it is dangerous, where magic is king and wild courts vie for supremacy.
As a tenuous alliance raises questions about Áed’s connection to the mysterious Bone Court, and with a manipulative queen’s missing consort holding the key to life and death, survival hinges on cunning as much as illusion.
In this otherworldly war, only one thing is certain: no one will survive unscathed.
World Building & Magic
Ms. Radcliff always impresses me with her world building. The creation of the brutality of the Maze in contrast to the pristine beauty of the White City, drove home the vast differences between the two. The descriptions of both the people and the two cities were vividly brought to life.
In The Wild Court, we get to immerse ourselves in another unique world, that of the fae. When Áed, Éamon and Ronan cross the veil, the enter a very different world where magic rules. It is so well-written; the reader crosses the veil with them. It is a world controlled by different lower courts of fae, each with their own leader. Each court guards their territory fiercely, and there is fighting between the courts. Not only is the Queen of all the fae, the highest court, at war with them to find her consort, Áed discovers in-fighting between the lower courts. One court they stay with before the rest of the journey is the Bone Court. It is here we find much about Áed’s fae half side. They also find allies willing to accompany them to find the consort, who apparently is not in one of the lower courts. This world is alive with magical creatures, dangerous plants, unique cities, and fae magic. There is also intrigue, deception, family bonds, and love. While humans may fear the fae, it is clear that underneath, they are not as different as they think.
We know from previous books that Áed possess fire magic and we know he has used it. He has also guarded this secret from his kingdom. In this book, the reader finds out more that Áed can do, which he never knew he could. When in the fae kingdom, he finds that his half fae side is of the lower courts. This is distinguished by the color fire they have. If you do not have the white fire of the high court, you are a lower court fae. The magic could not be separated from world of the fae. It is ingrained and woven into their lives; it is all part of this amazing, enchanting place that Ms. Radcliff has created.
Áed: Áed is a beautiful character and his story arc is completed as he finally learns about his fae side. His love and kindness radiate from the story. From that love stems a fierce desire to protect those he loves and his kingdom. Áed, in his seven-year reign, has done much to improve the Maze and the conditions of those who live there. His growth from The Hidden King and Last Prince is evident as he proves to be a great king for all the people, in both the Maze and the White City. That he is king only makes Áed more kind, caring and perceptive to those around him. Before it was just he, Ninian and Ronan. Now he has an entire kingdom to care for, and he does it without ever losing sight of who he is.
He is truly one of my favorite characters. Over the course of the books, I feel I have grown with Áed. The reader has been with him from the shy, broken boy of The Last Prince, to ruler in The Hidden King, and finally to the man who crosses into the unknown for his people in the The Wild Court. He is, quite simply a beautifully written character whose emotions we feel and come to love. I hope to see Áed again.
Ronan: The reader has also watched Ronan grow from the adopted orphan in The Last Prince, to the young, scared boy leaving the Maze for a new life in The Hidden King, and finally coming of age in The Wild Court. He bravely, and against Áed’s wishes, crosses into the fae realm. Ronan loves Áed and it was touching to see him wanting to protect Áed, as he has done for him. It was also very sweet how Ronan, who, like Áed, will always love Ninian, feels that Áed should able to move on and find love. He clearly sees Éamon’s feelings for Áed, and is always trying to leave them alone together. Sometimes young people see the obvious more than adults.
Éamon: Éamon is Áed’s closest friend and trusted advisor. He was briefly introduced in the The Hidden King, so he is a relatively new character as he is brought to the forefront. From the outset, we know that Éamon has feeling’s for Áed, but he is uncertain how Áed feels, nor does he know about his fae side. He is very fearful of the fae, which is why Áed has never divulged that to him. Éamon feels he cannot compete with the “ghost” of Ninian. He is very loyal to Áed, and accompanies him to the fae world without hesitation. Éamon is also a well-developed character. He is fiercely loyal, kind and loving, and we see his character develop completely through the story.
I loved The Wild Court. It perfectly completes Áed’s story, from the shy, broken young fae to the just and kind king. It was a beautifully written book and series. The Wild Court was well-paced, with amazing action evenly interspersed with character development. The characters were so well developed, with complete story arcs. I loved The Wild Court and the entire series of The Coming of Áed. Áed is such a unique character and you can’t help but love him and want him to be happy. Seeing his growth over the books, but remaining the beautiful person he is, was brilliantly written but Ms. Radcliff. Her writing throughout this series always impressed me. The Wild Court, with its battle scenes, were so well done and I was thoroughly amazed at her writing as it was very different from the other books. They were action packed and pulled the reader right in. While I loved this series and happy with Áed’s story, I am going to miss him. Thank you, Ms. Radcliff for this moving, touching and loving series. Love is love.
I received a ARC copy of The Wild Court by E. G. Readcliff in exchange for an honest review.
To find out more about E.G. Radcliffe and The Coming of Áed series at https://www.egradcliff.com/
You can purchase The Wild Court on Amazon or on the author’s website along with other bookish merchandise