Title: The King’s Guard
Author: Rae Carson
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 7/30/13
Length: 98 Pages
Series: The Girl of Fire and Thorns #0.7
Hector of Ventierra is the youngest commander of the Royal Guard in his kingdom’s history. But before he was lord commander, he was a lowly squire. In this short fantasy novella, set in the world of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Rae Carson introduces readers to Hector before he became the man Queen Elisa fell in love with. The King’s Guard also includes a teaser chapter for The Bitter Kingdom, the conclusion to the Fire and Thorns trilogy.
At fifteen years old, Hector is the youngest squire in the most elite military force in the country. And his first day is disastrous. Everyone assumes the only reason he was recruited is his close personal association with King Alejandro, not because he’s really earned it.
But Alejandro needs Hector for a secret mission, one that gives him the chance to prove to everyone—including himself—that he is worthy to be a Royal Guard. Hector must break into the ancient Fortress of Wind to retrieve something so important that the kingdom’s future depends on it. What Hector finds in the fortress will stretch his bond of friendship with his king near to breaking. And it will prepare him to become the fearsome warrior and lord commander Elisa will never let go.
We’ve come to love and adore Hector through what we’ve seen in the main series that it’s really nice to see how he got his start, and how the friendships between him and his guards really took shape. There was a bit of a teaser that he started out working for the king and Alejandro in a different capacity but it’s nice to see how that progressed into being leader of the Royal Guard.
What we get here is the point in time where Hector starts as a recruit for the guards – and how everyone knows that he’s probably too young and inexperienced to make the guards, but that he’s been shown favor by the kind and the royals and everyone resents that.
It’s not just the tale of being a recruit, but there’s also the piece of the story that we get when Rausora is pregnant and quite sick with the royal heir. We know how that all ends up, but there’s actually a twist to the story that we didn’t quite get in the main series and it gives an interesting context to how things actually shaped up (that no one still knows about).
Hector is given a secret task and a chance to prove himself and that’s exactly what he does. while the current head of the guards tries to muck it up for him, and people are out to murder him, well, we still get to see how he’s able to overcome and his natural ability to be a leader even at 15 is something to be impressed by. All in all, a nice way to get to know him before Hector was the authority that we’ve come to love. Enjoy!