Kings and Daemons is the first book in The Gifted and the Cursed trilogy. The book is told by an omniscient narrator who focusses on the different characters. The whole story circles around Maya and evolves with her journey to the Freestates, running away from the Witch King, Daleth. The witch King drains the land and its people of their life force and is sustained by their misery. The more miserable everyone and everything is the more power and life he gets. As his land is dying, he needs to find a new source to sustain himself and marches his troops to conquer the Freestates. Maya is an opposing force to him as she owns the gift of healing and growing. Everywhere she uses her gift people are less miserable and the King gets less power off happier people. Her gift grows when she meets and falls in love with Taran. And so does his gift, which enables them to emerge alive out of dire situations.

As the title indicates there are also daemons. Actually, there are two who are in the bodies of Alano and Kalas, former elite warriors of the Ember kingdom. To save their kingdom from the Witch King they summoned daemons into their bodies to give them more strength, but fail nonetheless. Alano’s daemon swore his allegiance to the Witch King to ensure his survival. Kalas was able to flee.

After a tranquil beginning the story picks up speed as it unravels and never slows down again. 

It took me while to get used to Maya and I didn’t manage to really adore her, despite her being so good and pure. Maybe that is also the reason why. Although she has such a precious gift, people keep being mean to her and use her and she just simply accepts their rude behaviour and mean treatment. She nearly dies trying to heal someone and then goes on healing the land as is suspected of her without complaint. I see the way she is supposed to be portrait but somehow I’d have wished she’d be a bit less docile and show some more fiery spirit and determination. I hope to see her grow a bit more fierce in the following books. It’s understandable why other reviewers really liked her but somehow something was really missing for me, especially at the beginning. Nonetheless, she really grew on me in the course of the book and I’m really looking forward to see how she’ll evolve in the following books.

In general, there aren’t many female characters in this book and the ones that are there next to Maya aren’t appealing figures either. Worst of them is Yana, who shamelessly flirts with Taran, making me hope I’ll never meet anyone like her in real life. I expect her to have an even bigger part in book 2 and suspect she’ll cause a lot of misery.

In contrast to her I really fell for the stories and character evolvement of Kalas and Rakan and those two quickly became my favourites. They have suffered a lot in their life but haven’t lost their good parts despite them being buried deeply within at the beginning. Especially Kalas’ story broke my heart time and time again.

The worldbuilding is excellently made and the overall story is really gripping and exciting.

Marcus Lee managed to write an excellent debut and I am really looking forward to reading the following two books of the trilogy.

I read the first ebook edition May 2020 of the book, copyright 2020 by Marcus Lee