Slave to King

The Beginning

Fiction - Action
349 Pages
Reviewed on 07/02/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Slave to King: The Beginning is the first novel in The Making of a King series by J.E. Hibpshman. Born to parents who didn’t want him and didn’t want to name him, Ethan never stood a chance against a cruel world. Trained alongside John to become a warrior, Ethan only knew hard work and training to become a killing machine. His options were to kill or be killed, so he knew what he had to do. His hard life with the Brothers became even harder when his father’s people came back to claim him. He was not ready to give up his freedom once again, especially when he had just achieved it. But as in most of his life, he had no choice. He was supposed to be a leader to the Forest People, but how could he when he didn’t even know their way of life?

Smartly written to keep the reader hooked, Slave to King: The Beginning was powerful enough to keep me reading on. The way the story opens, how the action was introduced, and how the author kept the tone of the story alive until the end was riveting. Ethan’s journey was emotional and harrowing at the same time. I could not help but feel bad for him when his parents didn’t name him, but sold him, and then Ethan had to survive the rough treatment of the Brothers. However, I enjoyed that his past paved the way for his future and how he was prepared to become a leader without even knowing anything. Some parts were a little hard for me to read, but that added to the reading experience. J.E. Hibpshman kept the story raw and real with his descriptions and imagery. There was a lot of foreshadowing, and it kept me on my toes. I cannot wait to see what happens next with Ethan, Abigale, and John!

Jennifer Ibiam

Aug, the People’s leader, gave birth to yet another son who would join in wresting leadership from him. He refused to name the baby and sold him into slavery. That baby ended up with The Brothers, and they called him Ethan. Ethan underwent rigorous training with The Brothers, who were mercenaries for hire. He became a fierce warrior who couldn’t stomach the things they did, but he must stay alive. A narrow escape threw him in the path of Abigale, princess of the Northern kingdom. His life became eventful from then. Between dealing with a feisty princess and having multiple targets on his back, Ethan’s moral compass was his biggest challenge. Would he stick to his principles or bend them a little for the greater good? Find out in Slave to King by J. E. Hibpshman.

Slave to King by J. E. Hibpshman is a fantastic fable story. It was fast-paced, incorporating action, suspense, mystery, and adventure. The elements explored were the quest for power, manipulation, betrayal, slavery, survival, physical abuse, and rape. This novel also sheds light on the plight of women and how they can be more. All it took was courage and determination. I loved the sound plot and unique story. The writing style was engaging and easy to follow. The characters were well developed, and I loved the number of formidable women from Flower to Mary and Wendy. They were strong, wise, and knew when to strike. Abigale left me with mixed feelings, but her flawed nature made her a worthy alpha, fighting misogyny and patriarchy. This novel was captivating.

Tammy Ruggles

Slave to King: The Beginning, by J.E. Hibpshman, is an action-packed adventure about a slave-turned-king. Ethan was abandoned as a boy, became a warrior trained to kill, and was a slave. He makes a choice to make his own way in the world by doing good. However, "dirt boy" is unprepared for how harsh and cruel the world can be at times, and has to learn how to be a leader and victor while guarding his soul and his dignity. With only his sword skills and cunning, he is faced with dilemmas about the kind of man he is, what he wants to be, and how he can win Abigale, the lady he adores. It seems that any road he takes is fraught with peril. His life is in jeopardy, and so are the people he loves. He has to deal with slavery, bloodshed, and civil war. How far will he go to be true to himself and the journey he is determined to finish?

This original plot is brought to life in raw detail by J.E. Hibpshman and pulls you in from the beginning. Hibpshman has a talent for creating a world you can believe in, and characters you can look up to and root for. Adversity and the brutality of Ethan's training shaped him into the man he will become. His relationship with John says something about his nature, and the conflict between them as teenagers is interesting. The romance between him and his polar opposite, Abigale, is intriguing and special, to say the least: he's a warrior, she's a royal, and their love defies the culture clash. All of these elements are skillfully woven together to form a solid story with an engaging plot, unexpected turns, and an ending that satisfies. If you're looking for high adventure and a compelling plot, Slave to King: The Beginning, by J.E. Hibpshman, should be on your must-read list.

Steven Robson

Slave to King: The Beginning by J. E. Hibpshman rings with the echoes of a brutal past, where your birth will cast you into a life of incredible diversity, ranging from ultimate power through to abject despair; a future written by your parents' station in life and the random selection of XY chromosomes. Two incredibly strong and independent individuals are born into this world: Ethan, given away at birth into slavery and abuse through a hard choice made by his father, and Abigale, a princess who has her own dire issues to deal with in a male-centric world. The courses their lives take will be both perilous and incredibly adventurous. Neither may survive, but fate will ensure they both meet, and this meeting will change the lives of thousands in many different ways. This is a journey of discovery, an exploration of human emotions, and a vision of growth in two individuals destined to change worlds.

J. E. Hibpshman’s Slave to King: The Beginning is an engrossing tale of sweeping lands, very real battles, and cleverly crafted human interactions, with a lot of quite perceptive content concerning how people behave with each other and in teams under pressure. In fact, there is a significant amount of quality material relating to interpersonal communication and management, which would not be out of place in a teaching environment. Added to this richness is a number of strong, individual characters who are in some ways similar, but in other ways very different, and these differences lead to great entertainment, tinged with just the right amount of humor. Mary is one player who you just have to respect. As a handmaid to Abigale, she could have been expected to be reserved and subservient, but she proved to be very much the opposite, often pulling both Ethan and Abigale into line. There are many others that deserve mentioning; suffice it to say that if you enjoy true-to-life human relationships woven into a first-rate story with truly unique ideas, Slave to King is the book for you. A very enjoyable read.

JC Minnaar

Slave To King by J.E. Hibpshman starts with a boy sold off to a slave trader and adopted into a band of mercenaries, the Brothers. The Brothers gave Ethan his name, taught him how to hunt, fight, and survive. On the day of his final test to become a fully-fledged Brother, Ethan is required to return to his former village and become their new leader. Abigale’s comfortable life as the daughter of the king of the North is turned upside-down when the king agrees to marry her off to an abusive lord. Desperate to escape her fate, a chance encounter with Ethan puts her on a path to change her future. Slave To King explores Ethan’s path of liberation from everyone who controlled him during his life and Abigale’s fight to reclaim the throne of the North.

J.E. Hibpshman’s Slave To King superbly illustrates the dichotomy between Ethan and Abigale. Seeing them slowly build up their ranks, manage their situation, and handle the threat of being stabbed in the back around every corner had me fearing more and more for their future after each chapter. The world of Slave To King accurately reflects the problems of the time: Abigale fights to have and give a voice to women dominated in a man’s world, war is ever-present from North to South, ruining the lives of the people caught in between, and above all sits a cruel king with no regard for his subjects or soldiers. J.E. Hibpshman’s focus on tactics in battle over raw power or natural skill is especially well written and thought out. Slave To King tells an enjoyable medieval tale of adventure, war, dread, and the discovery of self.

Vincent Dublado

An action fantasy with a heart, Slave to King: The Beginning by J.E. Hibpshman is the perfect fantasy for anyone who feels alienated. Life is hard for the Forest People. The warring kings of the North and the South are relentless in raiding the forests for crops and slaves. A woman from one of the bands of Forest People gives birth to a male child. Her husband, Aug, the leader of their clan, refuses to name the child. She has given birth to too many sons. Instead, Aug gives his child to a trader to be sold. The child’s journey into slavery and oppression begins early, and he eventually receives the name Ethan. To the people who shape his destiny, Ethan is just a tool—a tool that can be powerful if given the right mold. As he becomes proficient in swordsmanship, Ethan will one day encounter and offend the reigning king—a king who will go to any lengths to have Ethan killed. But Ethan has long been conditioned to face danger, and the path he will soon cross will change his fate.

I can imagine that readers of action fantasy will have no complaints about Slave to King. I enjoyed reading it myself, and the story of a slave boy who goes from the broadsword to a crown goes a long way. The romantic aspect of the plot is also a welcome treat. Abigale is everything you could ever hope for in a woman, and you are given ample information about her background and the formation of her values. She makes an excellent romantic interest for Ethan even if they belong in opposite camps—and that’s what makes it even more exciting. The great thing about Slave to King is that after the initial premise has been established, J.E. Hibpshman gives you plenty to look forward to. This is the beginning of a new series that encompasses interesting characters and exciting adventures that make it fun to read.