An Early Look at The Key to the Kingdom Vol 1 by Kyoko Shitou

 

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Title:  The Key to the Kingdom Vol 1

Author:  Kyoko Shitou

Publisher:  CMX

ISBN:  981401213930

May Contain Spoilers

The country of Landor has a problem: both the king and the heir, Prince Winslott, have been killed in battle!  Now the burden of ruling the country has fallen on 13 year old Prince Astarion’s shoulders, only he doesn’t want anything to do with it.  Content to read his books and spend hours in contemplation, he’d rather use his brains than his brawn, which doesn’t bode well for a country at war.  Fearful of a civil war, the country’s advisors have concocted a plan.  Who ever finds the legendary "Key to the Kingdom" shall inherit the throne.  Now Asta’s caught up in the quest, and it just might cost him his life.

This wasn’t a bad introduction to the series.  Though Asta is a bit of a pampered brat,  he’s kind and has a good heart.  Sheltered from his subjects, when he ventures out into the wider world, he really has no clue what life is like for the townsfolk he encounters. Never having wanted for anything, he is clueless when it comes to money, and he flashes it around so much that he’s lucky he didn’t get robbed.

Though he has no desire to rule, Asta has undertaken the quest because he wants to learn why his father and brother were seeking the  Key to the Kingdom.  The legend of the Key arose three hundred years ago, when the nation was split into three warring countries.  Dragons walked the land, and controlled by Dragon Tamers, they were used in battles, often causing utter destruction and killing indiscriminately.  The Key to the Kingdom is reputed to give the bearer the ability to finally bring unification to the land.

Just prior to the siege of Oroke Castle, where both the King and Winslott lost their lives, Winslott confided in his younger brother.  He told him to go to Beltos if anything happened to him, and to tell no one of his plans.  Now that Winslott is dead, Asta wants to discover the secret in Beltos.  He doesn’t care about the Key or the throne. He admired his brother very much, and he wants to know what he was hiding from him.

Ditching his protector, Badd, the first chance he gets, he strikes out on his own.  Not trusting Badd, or any adults, for that matter, he soon finds himself in trouble.  One of his rivals, General Bardus, a cruel man determined to gain control of the throne, has employed a Dragon Tamer to assist with the search.  They are soon confronted by a Dragon Man, and they learn that the legends are real, and dangerous, as well. 

The introduction of the Dragon Men really grabbed my attention.  They are beautiful and cunning, and hate humans as much as the humans seem to fear them.  What connection do they hold to the Key?  Why has Gaius targeted Badd?  With a compelling storyline and pretty, though slightly old-fashioned, artwork, I’ll be checking out the next volume to see what trouble Asta gets himself into. 

Key to the Kingdom will be available in Sept. 

Grade:  B

Rated for Teen+

 Review copy provided by CMX

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