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The King is Dead by Benjamin Dean - Review

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Where did I get it? My friend Lucinda had recommended it to me so when I saw it pop up on Netgalley I requested it. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for granting me access to the book. I was provided with an electronic copy of this book for review purposes. I was not otherwise compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

What's it about? James is seventeen and has just inherited the crown of the United Kingdom. His father, the king, has died, and James has to step up to the duty that he has always known would be his. His twin brother, Eddie, born just eight minutes after James, has a carefree life in a way that James has never had. 

There are some problems to James inheriting the throne. First of all, he is Black. The twins' mother is Black and although their father was white, many of the UK's subjects are completely unhappy with the idea of a Black king, and protests start to rise outside the palace. 

Secondly, James is gay, but he's the only one who knows that. Well, he and the aide he's been seeing for a few months now, Jonathan. Jonathan is just eighteen and James is in love with him. But on the night that James becomes king, Eddie throws a clandestine party in the palace and one of his best friends Grigor is there. Grigor is definitely flirting with James and Jonathan sees. When James rushes after him, Jonathan disappears. Someone leaves a note in his room threatening James' secret. 

Then there's a journalist called Quinn, who starts revealing things that only Jonathan could know. James doesn't want to think the worst of him, but who else would know these things? James isn't sure who he can trust - his ambitious cousin, Cassandra, who wants to be queen, his aide, Gayle, who seems to know more about Jonathan than she's letting us, his bodyguard Peter, and even his own family. 

This is a fun, fan fiction kind of book, full of tropes and twists and turns. I guessed some of the twists but not others, and I was still happy with the outcome of the twists. I'm really hoping this is the first in a series, it deserves to be! 

What age range is it for? 14+ 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yep, as I say James is gay 

Are any main characters people of colour? Yep, James is Black as I said. I liked the way this was depicted and how it made James worry about being king. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No 

Is there any sex stuff? No, it's very fade to black 

Are drugs mentioned or used? No 

Is there any talk of death? There's a bit about the old king dying, but it's not graphic. 

Are there swear words? No 


What criticisms do I have? Honestly almost none! This a cute YA book 

Would I recommend the book? Yes absolutely 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I just really wanted to read it 


What do I think of the cover? It's cute isn't it, I think it would make you stop and look again. 

How many stars? A very good four out of five. 

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