The Kings Game
by Nicole Sanchez
Book 1 in the Game of Gods series
Daphne Hale is dead. Isn’t she?
She thought she was on the road trip from hell, but after the bus carrying her and twenty coeds plunges off a cliff, Daphne might actually be there. Caught somewhere between life and death, Daphne and her fellow travelers find themselves in a mysterious realm with a second chance…if they dare to take it.
At the center of this new existence is the mysterious Essos. The charismatic and fascinating man offers the women a choice—move on to the Afterlife, or stay and compete against each other for a new role—Queen of the Underworld.
The rules are simple. Be yourself. Don’t ask questions. Trust the process. But as strange dreams haunt her nights and new allies make her second-guess everything, Daphne will face a different choice between believing her eyes…and listening to her heart.
Urban Mythology Retelling
The Kings Game by Nicole Sanchez is the first book in her Game of Gods series, and centers around Daphne Hale, a young woman who finds herself, along with friends, caught in a stage between living and dead after their bus goes off a cliff. They are given a choice: they can choose to go on to their afterlife, or they can stay and compete against each other, with the prize being married to the mysterious Essos, and being crowned Queen of the Underworld. The rules are simple: trust the process. Go with the flow. Don't ask questions, because the answers will be given when they are able. But as Daphne is plagued by strange dreams and memories, she doesn't know what to do or believe. Does she believe what she is seeing, or trust in her gut, and her heart?
Before I start, I would like to thank Nicole Sanchez for sending me an ARC of The Kings Game, in exchange for a fair and honest review.
When I saw the synopsis and cover for this book on a reading group I'm a part of on facebook, and a call for applicants to review this book, I was immediately interested. That is not always the case. I am careful when I select arc's to apply for, because I want to give the author a fair shot. I'm careful to stick to genres I'm interested in. One thing about me: I'm a sucker for a Hades & Persephone retelling. Pretty much any romance that centers around myth retellings, I'm game to read. Did I think my intense interest in mythology when I was a teen would lead to me reading romantic retellings of it? No. Am I glad it did? Yes. Because it led me to apply for an arc of this truly interesting book.
The King's Game is marketed as a mix of Greek Mythology and The Selection. Now, I haven't read the Selection, but I know the gist of it. And while I'm generally not a Bachelor/Bachelorette fan, I found this book captivating. Without spoiling you, while there is competition, it doesn't come off that way. Whereas on those shows you get a lot of cat fights, and women pitted against each other, it doesn't feel this way in the book, which I appreciate. Of course, there are moments of jealousy and insecurity, but Nicole didn't write another book pitting women against each other, and I appreciate that. Daphne is a relatable character, and if sometimes her decisions frustrated me, I also understood why she made those choices. Essos is a teddy bear so I immediately rooted for him. The side characters are wonderfully written and well-developed. This is where a lot of authors fall short in my opinion, but I think Nicole did an amazing job making her side characters very dimensional. In the end, my only problems with the book were some clarity issues - sometimes I couldn't figure out how or when Daphne comes to the conclusions she comes to - and I was able to predict the outcome early on. Despite figuring out what was going on though, it didn't ruin it for me. I found myself excited for work breaks, or my commute to get to the next part.
While I think there needs to be some tweaking here and there, The King's Game was a refreshing, and enjoyable read for me. It's been a while since a book truly hooked its claws in me, and The King's Game did that for me. I couldn't put it down, and it was hard to adult when I knew I had this gem on my kindle to get back to. If you are looking for a unique and modern spin on the Hades & Persephone trope, I truly think you will enjoy this book. I can't wait for the next one!
The Kings Game releases on October 30th, 2022.
Coming soon after release on October 30th, 2022