Review of “The Two-Faced Queen” (The Legacy of Mercenary Kings #2) by Nick Martell

Martell, Nick. The Two-Faced Queen. New York; Saga Press, 2021.

ISBN-13: 978-1534437814 | $27.99 USD | 592 pages | Fantasy


The Hollows is gripped in unrest and on the brink of civil war as an insurgency of anarchists rise, and brother and sister vie for the throne in the second novel in the critically hailed Legacy of the Mercenary King series which Brandon Sanderson called “excellent.”

Michael Kingman thought he was going to die by the executioner’s axe, forever labeled as a traitor. Still alive, and under the protection of the Orbis Mercenary company, Michael and his family and friends are deeply involved in the seemingly rival conspiracies that are tearing The Hollows apart. With the death of the King, both the Corrupt Prince and his sister Serena are vying for the throne, while the Rebel Emperor is spreading lies amongst the people, and all of them want Michael dead. This is a story of betrayal, murder, and rebellion, and in this direct sequel to the debut novel The Kingdom of Liars, also some hope for justice.

For readers who love the intrigue and widening scope of epic fantasy like Sanderson’s Mistborn and Week’s The Black Prism, you will find your next must-read fantasy series.

In the series 

#1 The Kingdom of Liars



4 stars 

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

The Two-Faced Queen was another “cover request,” and it’s the latest in the list of acquisitions that served as a reminder to check the description and Google the book prior to impulse-requesting, due to it being second in a series I haven’t read, and unfortunately, one case where I could not easily acquire book one (the library didn’t have it and I wasn’t sure if I had time for another chunker of a book if I did buy it). Thankfully, I was tipped off about the recap at the beginning, allowing me to get the gist of what happened in the previous book to the point where I didn’t feel lost starting on book two. And the fact that it’s woven in so it’s part of the narrative, and not some disjointed narrator telling you what happened ensures that it’s possible returning readers might enjoy it too, especially if they also need a refresher after a long time between books. 

There’s a lot going on, with a lot of political intrigue, mystery, and other conflicts, and the twists and turns keep coming at a breakneck pace. I was glad that I could still get elements of the world building, a part that didn’t come through in the intro, in bits and pieces throughout, and it provided a real sense of uncertainty. 

The cast of characters is large, and I was glad to have a guide to keep track of them. Some stood out more than others, but I was intrigued by all the rivalries and alliances between the various characters, with family being a major theme. Michael, as the primary POV character, is fairly interesting, even if he does have his flaws and make some dumb choices. I’m not sure how I feel about the other characters as yet, and perhaps I’ll have a fuller picture once I go back to read the first book (whenever I have time to do that!), and definitely want to read future books in this world, regardless. 

Reading the second book first was a gamble, even with the aids the author provided and the assurance from another reviewer who also unintentionally skipped the first book, and I’m glad that it more or less paid off in a pinch, although I will endeavor to avoid such a situation in the future. And while I do think you will get a fuller picture than I did if you do read the first book, it is good to know that you can start here if you are absolutely unable to get your hands on the first book for any reason. Either way, it’s a compelling and intriguing fantasy, combining both familiar and unique elements in the genre that I think all epic fantasy fans will enjoy. 

Author Bio 

Nick Martell was born in Ontario, Canada before moving to the United States at age 7. After graduating high school on Long Island, he majored in Creative Writing at Pennysylvania’s Susquehanna University. He started writing novels regularly in fifth grade, and his debut novel, The Kingdom of Liars, sold when he was 23 years old. Currently, he lives outside Allentown. Follow Nick on Twitter, @macmartell or at

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