In One Word

In One Word, The Hanged Man by K. D. Edwards is…

the hanged man

  • First published in 2019 by Pyr
  • Format: Audiobook
    • Narrator: Josh Hurley
    • Listening Speed: 1.4x
  • Reading Time: 9 fascinating days


  • So, I’ve run out of reading challenge audiobooks again. Since I feel at a loose end without them and since I never learn my lesson about taking on too much work, I’m going to have a stab at Bookforager‘s Picture Prompt Book Bingo. And, by a stab, I mean do enough mental gymnastics to win gold at the Thought Olympics to make the books I current own fit the prompts. Since a major part of the book involves messing around with time, I’m going to make this my ‘pocket watch’ book for the challenge. This book picks up not long after the first one with Rune St John, the last member of an annihilated House, now having to watch out not only for his enemies but the enemies to his ward. Chief of those enemies is the head of the one of the other Houses – the Hanged Man – who wants to force a marital alliance on Rune’s young ward. Marriage with the Hanged Man can mean nothing good. The young men and women he has married before have a tendency to vanish. So, Rune must find a way to fend off the Hanged Man and protect everyone else he loves from the Hanged Man’s revenge.


  • Upping the world building from the previous book. We not only see more of Atlantis, including a rather unique take on a red light district, but also more of the ruling families, the Arcana. We knew from the previous book that they are based on Tarot cards (or, in this world, Tarot cards are based on them) but we only saw a few of them in the first one. Now, we get a chance to meet all of them (or find out who doesn’t play a public role) and get to know the ones we’ve already met a little better. I must say that I admire Lord Tower’s ability to drop hints in Rune’s way during a brunch in a way that I don’t think anyone will pick up on the first time. We also get a glimpse of how their justice system works and learn that, though Arcana morals are definitely not aligned with human ones, there are things that cross a line. The effects of the time magic mentioned I mentioned in the previous points are particularly ghastly. There’s also a rather innovative take on necromancy that I’m not going to spoil here.


  • Profusion of deadpan humour from Rune and his friends stopped what is a very dark story from becoming too bleak. So, I’d better put a trigger warning for mentioned child sex abuse, mentions of child grooming and a lot of violence. A lot of magical violence. Anyway, the way Rune and his party bounce off each other when they aren’t facing off against the Hanged Man is always funny to watch. In particular, the relationship between Quinn and Max is always good for a bit of light relief. Adam is wonderful as ever (and the narrator did a marvellous job with his accent) and Brand gets a little more character development as the role of Companions is expanded on. The new characters, the Dawncreek family, were also a good addition to the cast, adding another dimension to the destruction of the Sun Court and adding some more levity when needed.


  • Entirely nitpicking here but I did think that the Hanged Man himself could have done with a little more development. He mostly exists as an unknowable and unpredictable threat. People only know stories about him and only rarely see him. When they do, they know they’re in big trouble. When he does finally make an appearance, therefore, it kind of takes some of the terror away. That might be the point, though, and the final fight is tense and difficult enough to make the build-up worth it. I just wish he’d been more of a three-dimensional villain in the lead-up to it.


  • Revs up the pace in the second half with a third act so full of twists that you will never know what’s going to happen next. I will say that it’s probably Rune’s finest moment in the series so far. As I said, the final fight made the build-up worthwhile too and the ending left me with a smile on my face. I can safely say that, as a refreshing change from the norm, this fully lived up to the standard set by the first one. This builds on the world building and character development. It delivers a story that is just as, if not more, exciting than the first. It’s another reason why the Tarot Sequence is starting to become one of my favourite adult fantasy series. 

Goodreads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Did you agree with my rating? Can you think of a better word to describe it? Please let me know with a like, share or comment.

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