★★★★★ Addicting and so hard to put down
★★★★★ The Hidden King is a breathtaking debut
★★★★★ Fiery debut and I need more!
★★★★★ A brilliant "Rags-to-riches" type story
★★★★ The Hidden King is a first-rate read
★★★ Engaging, fast-paced debut!
★★★★★ Characters are well-written
★★★★ Must add to your shelves!
★★★★ A Celtic-inspired fantasy world with skillful writing
★★★★★ Be ready to keep reading
"...the writing is crisp and the worldbuilding is rich in this promising series opener with faerie influences."
This is a novel whose strengths are its absolutely glorious prose, clear and compelling plot, and splendid characterization. I found myself stopping to re-read certain parts of the book, “smelling the roses”, so to speak, as I savoured the delightful prose. Radcliff paints the world of the Gut so deliciously, so vividly with her words, including the sibylline “No-Man’s-Land”, that I felt I was right there, looking over vast expanses, uncharted lands, and imposing mountains. The plot has more than enough bends and corners that the reader will likely push through to read the book in one sitting, as it’s that engrossing." -P.L. Stuart, Before We Go Book Blog
"The Hidden King won us over with its focused narrative, strong characterization, evocative prose, and interesting world. E.G. Radcliff is a talent to watch.
Radcliff's beautiful, evocative writing coupled with a clear structure and a solid characterization mark The Hidden King apart from most books in this overcrowded subgenre. A strong scene-setting makes even the book’s darker moments (torture, mentions of sexual abuse, violence, and hate speech towards weaker and poorer) hold attention." -Fantasy Book Critic #SPFBO
(read the full review)
"If you like your books to have deep characterisation, a strong focus on family and relationships, plus a mythological twist I can’t recommend The Hidden King highly enough. It has all of those wrapped in evocative language and packaged in a surprisingly dark fantasy world." -Bookendsandbagends
(read the full review)
Radcliff has a strong grasp on characterization. Her protagonists are simple and clear-cut without ever feeling two-dimensional. Áed, Ninian, and Ronan all start the novel having comfortable, lived-in dialogue. It feels authentic -Before We Go Book Blog (read the full review)
"The Hidden King, by E.G Radcliff is a magnificent, Celtic inspired fantasy full of faeries, magic and danger." -KBBookReviews (read the full review)
"...about relationships, honesty, kindness and loyalty...I would definitely recommend it. The pace of the story was really good. A bit of LotR vibe."
-The Writing Community Chat Show (Listen starting at 12:10)
"I was captivated throughout the narrative by E.G. Radcliff’s beautiful prose. There were many times when I found myself rereading a description just to absorb the words more thoroughly. "
-Sue's Musings Book Blog (review with spoilers)
"The Hidden King is the first in The Coming of Áed series, a fast-paced fantasy adventure that throws twists and turns with magical acumen. Not only does THK set up a fantastical world that the reader only gets a glimpse of in book one, but the characters and their relationships are sure to pull readers in and give them FEELINGS."
-Rebecca Crunden, Indie Book Spotlight (review with spoilers)
Social Media & Goodreads
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This book was soooo good. The dedication, it must have taken the writer is astounding. But it paid off. The story was finominal (sic).
Such a beautiful, captivating read. I loved spending time with the characters. And I was certainly not expecting the turn of events as they happened. An amazing read for fantasy lovers! A smart, caring, harrowing and wholesome indie pick.
I did not find an error in this book as I read, the editing was very well-done. Those who made this book possible worked very hard on it and it shows. It does not go unnoticed.
The beginning felt helpless, yet wholesome with the group's little homemade family, but I nearly cried when tragedy struck. It was beautiful though and now I see it was necessary, definitely the right move to make, however heart-breaking.
Then the scenes brighten and there seems a whole new world around them and what a beautiful world we get to see.
My world was rocked, nearly shattered to smithereens on the ground when such a terrible thing happened. I was appalled for our character, that someone would even think of doing such a thing. This only made me root for the main character more and gave them the rock bottom they needed to gain the courage to push themselves out. We see their new-found strength buried deep within and so do they.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I was doubtful at first. It seemed interesting but I was afraid of the pace it would have or if the world building would be too much. Thank god I decided to read it anyway! It was amazing, fast paced with everything explained without overwhelming the reader. It was packed with twists I was not ready and of course, it broke my heart since the beginning. In other words: I’m hooked’ -Chrystele, Goodreads
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This novel's strengths are its absolutely glorious prose, clear and compelling plot, and splendid characterization. - Bookblogger PL Stuart, Goodreads
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This book was exactly what I was looking for for my flight abroad! I had two eight hour flights plus a couple layovers. This book kept me awake the whole flight and made the time fly (pardon the pun). The characters were so well created, I felt like I knew them and I could feel their every emotion. The ending was very much a cliff hanger and I will be starting on the second book asap. Happy reading - Lyndsey, Amazon
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This book is absolutely incredible in so many ways I’m kind of at a loss of where to start... -SKaeth, Goodreads (read full review)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The first thing I have to say about this book is I cried. I cried so much I can't even believe it, and still it's one of the best books I have read in a while... -Aina, Goodreads
The author creates an impressive yet utterly engaging evolution for her main characters, as they progress through hardship, crushing grief, and massive life transitions. The world-building was vivid without being distracting. Sometimes, especially in the fantasy genre, I have the feeling that the author is tugging at my sleeve, saying, hey look at what I made over here! Not so with these books. The context, from seaside slum to affluent city, blends in beautifully and becomes merely the medium in which the story unfolds. -Author Cym Aros, Amazon
This book just has “it,” a magnetic formula that hooks you from the start and draws you in till you’re cheering for the heroes and yelling at the villains (and scaring your neighbors by doing both out loud). There’s a magic to the writing, a captivating allure, and a cross-genre appeal for all ages. - Author Halo Scott, Goodreads
I was captivated throughout the narrative by E.G. Radcliff’s beautiful prose. There were many times when I found myself rereading a description just to absorb the words more thoroughly... Her prose could make a laundry list unputdownable. - Book Blogger Sue Bavey on Goodreads
I read this fantasy in two days, not willing to put it down. The heartbreaking opening yanked, more than drew me in, bonding me to the wonderful characters and sending this reader through the wringer of emotions.
Encompassing sensitive diversity, surrogate parenthood and harrowing torture, this is an unusually touching and, in some places, brutal story, peopled by characters that leap off the page. An easy 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ - Author Caroline Noe on Goodreads
"This is a really beautifully written book full of action and suspense. Áed is a seventeen-year-old boy with the world on his shoulders and nothing to his name. I felt sorry for him from the moment we're introduced to him. Ronan reminded me of my own son and I just wanted to give him a cuddle and tell him everything would be ok, and Boudicca was fantastic. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to pronounce some of the characters names, but it comes with a handy guide at the beginning. This story hooked me in, and I want to see what happens in the prequel.
A must read for fantasy fans out there" - Laura on Goodreads ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
"I enjoyed this read! The settings in particular were richly detailed and artistically described. The pace in the beginning goes at a breakneck speed--I did not see the tragic event coming that sets off the plot, and it was a very impactful scene. The mood lightens a bit in the following chapters as Áed makes new friends and sees a bit of hope. But he's the sort of character who has a big destiny, so he's in for some suffering! By the end of the novel he's grown into his new role. He's facing unbelievable challenges, but I love that he remains utterly devoted to Ronan, the little boy who he's adopted as a little brother. That was a very sweet and affecting plot line. And was there possibly a hint of a future romance toward the end? I hope so. Hmmm...perhaps we'll have to wait for a later installment!" - @morningcoffeeforwriters on Instagram ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
"My heart! My emotions! This is not what I was expecting when I picked up #TheHiddenKing by EG Radcliff @egradcliff. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I did not hesitate to give this story five stars!
The path Áed is placed on, from the very beginning of this story, is nonstop. Through it all his loyalty to Ronan, a ward he has taken under his wing like a son, makes my heart so full. To see these emotions in a young adult novel is so inspiring. I am so grateful Radcliff showed parental love, especially as a father figure. These relationships are not highlighted enough in books (in my humble opinion). All the while Áed has his own journey of magic and discovery.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the hints of Celtic inspiration. I do not know much about the Celtic culture, but I do enjoy the feel of it, and EG Radcliff captures it well.
If you want a heartfelt read, I couldn’t recommend The Hidden King fast enough!" -@jesse.esche on Instagram
"High fantasy, gritty danger, a promising city with a darker truth, a mad king, a heart-wrenching romance, and a spark of magic: it’s everything any fantasy reader could want.
The Hidden King is a one-night book: the kind I stay up way too late to finish because I simply must know what happens next. I found it impossible to put this book down; the plot is full of invigorating twists that kept the pages turning and my mind reeling.
There’s so much to love about this book, but my favorite aspect of The Hidden King is Radcliff’s command of deep character relationships. Whether considering the devotion and trust that marks Aed and Ronan, the friendship and confidence of Boudicca and Aed, or the pure love of Aed and Ninian, Radcliff always takes her characters to the next level. It’s these dynamics, and Radcliff’s mastery of manipulating them, that kept me utterly captivated.
The Hidden King is a must-read. E.G. Radcliff knows the way to my reader heart, and The Hidden King has left me eager to delve deeper into her world." -Maggie on Goodreads ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
"I really enjoyed reading this novel. I think it's fantastic start to the series and opens a lot of avenues for development while still being a cohesive story unto itself.
The world-building is excellent, despite being centered in a relatively small geographical area. While we don't learn anything about the wider universe, this, at first glance, makes sense as no events involving outside forces have bearing on the narrative. Furthermore, the author retains the freedom to create those plotlines at a later date should the need arise, and it's highly unlikely to contradict anything from this first entry. The basic premise for the setting and culture is not altogether uncommon, but the author has added some features that make it unique and intriguing.
The character building is, likewise, very skillfully handled. Aed, as a character, makes sense - his knowledge and skillset match his background (or what we learn of it). While he is the primary focus of the novel, and we experience the novel through his eyes, the author has done a very good job of fleshing out the other major characters. There were some characters that I wanted to learn more about - Ninian, Seisyll, Juroc, and Eamonn come to mind. (Two of these, I anticipate, will reappear in future installments, but I felt that more information about the remaining two would have enriched my understanding of the events a bit). I don't think this really hurt the novel - it's a personal preference. I also found that certain characters came across as a bit too black and white - I prefer some ambiguity (villains who are wonderful parents, heroes who are jealous, etc). Again, I think the author made good choices overall, and it's not at the level of negatively affecting my enjoyment of the story and this was limited to characters in few scenes.
I though the author's choice of end-point for this novel was perfect. It wraps up the main story arc of this novel, but leaves a lot of open-ended threads to pick up going forward. Sometimes, this type of ending can feel gimmicky (i.e. "now you must buy the next book - I win!") but in this case, it was organic and didn't feel like a marketing ploy at all. I feel that the author did as I expected: made me want to keep following the story on the merits of the world and characters.
The novel was very enjoyable, with interesting characters, solid world-building, and lots of potential for development as Aed's story progresses. I look forward to reading more from this author." -Buttercup on Goodreads
"This book is just awesome. The author did a very good job with detail, character background and development, world building, story telling and creativity, and This book is full of action, adventure, suspence,.and it iisn't exactly fast paced but it has a smooth flow to the storyline. Nothing bleeds together and the words are clear enough. I have a vivid imagination and I can see this story taking place even as I read it. This is a one of a kind book that I recommend to anyone who likes really good reading material.This book is now one of my new favorites. I can't wait for more from this author." -JMarrs on GoodReads and Booksprout
"Wonderful book, loved the writing, will look for more from this writer. The characters were interesting and I found myself unable to put the book down." -SColeman on Goodreads
"I want to start off by saying I originally read this book for free with my trial for Kindle Unlimited. Not long after finishing reading it, I ordered the physical copy just because I needed to have this book on my bookcase.
I love everything about this book. It’s such an easy, but amazing read that catches your attention for the very first page. I cared about the characters from the very first pages. I cried, I screamed, I was put on an emotional rollercoaster with the characters. I love the unique names of the characters, I love their development. I even hated, but admired the antagonist.
E.G. Radcliff’s world building is phenomenal. I feel like I’ve been to the world that she created within this book many times. The plot is story driven and draws you in with each chapter. I can not wait to read the second book!
This book is a MUST READ." -AParker on Goodreads
"This book is a really well written book. It's adventurous, action-packed and the write influenced me in such a way that I was able to imagine myself from the main protagonist's shoes. The story revolves around a seventeen year old boy, Áed, who lives with his partner, Ninian and an orphaned boy, Ronan. The story is really well-written and is able to convey the right amount of feelings that the author wanted to convey. In short, this book is a fast-paced thrilling, coming-of-age adventure. I would totally recommend it to everybody!" -NetGalley Reviewer 632868 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
"I am a lover of YA Fantasy but haven't read a good one is some time. The Hidden King did not disappoint! The characters and plot line were well thought out and I was drawn into this world from the beginning. There was a climax to the story which I love in books and the ending is great. Definitely left me wanting more!" -Shalee, NetGalley Reviewer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
"The Hidden kings is a wonderful enthralled tell that you will never want to put down. Young adult fantasy isn’t my usual genre however I will be eagerly anticipating the sequel. The world-building is excellent, and I can’t wait to see where the author take us next." -Erin, NetGalley Reviewer
"So, I finished the book the same way I started it, in tears, thanks to an excerpt from the next book.
The stories about Aed and Ninian always made me cry. I cried a lot during this book. The way Radcliff writes made me feel so vividly what Aed experienced: the loss of his love, the torture, the pain of not knowing what happened to Ronan, his interior turmoil, etc. There were also funny moments with Ronan and Boudicca :) She is so funny when drunk :))) And Ronan is a sweet little boy who melts your heart with his constant worry for Aed. I also liked that Aed always consulted with Ronan and listening to him. Also, a thing that I really liked is that everybody has different eye color. Red is Aed's eye color and Ninin had violet eyes. Boudicca has pink eyes :). And we also have green, yellow, different types of blue, periwinkle,.. The future looks hard for Aed and I'm looking forward to read about how he will deal with his new responsibilities."
-Sara, Goodreads ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️