This week I read the light novel The King of the Dead at the Dark Palace. What an amazing read this novel was! I can’t wait to share my thoughts with everyone.
For me, who has always been reading novels like That Time I got reincarnated as a Slime, Overlord, or Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, this novel was a refreshing read. It was comparable to Re: Zero. There’s that unique horror element to them that both constantly keeps us on the edge. This novel was able to make me immerse inside its world and was an emotional roller-coaster.
Let me give you some information about this novel first before starting my review. The review will be Non-Spoiler. The Spoiler is at the bottom.
Light Novel Information
Name: The King of the Dead at the Dark Palace
Alternative Name: The Undead King of the Palace of Darkness | King of the Death in Dark Palace | Kuraki Kyuuden no Shisha no Ou | 昏き宮殿の死者の王
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Horror, Romance, Suspense
Status: 1 Volume (LN) Ongoing | 133 Chapters (WN) Ongoing
Where to read:
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When a sickly boy succumbs to illness only to awaken as a lowly undead named End, his initial reaction is not horror but joy. No longer weak and bedridden, he is eager to experience the freedom of a properly functioning body. Sadly, his delight is cut short when he realizes the shackles of his previous life have simply been replaced by new ones—specifically, the powerful necromancer who revived him. To gain true freedom, he’ll need to overcome the many obstacles in his way…starting with his dark master!
Source: Yen Press
Everything about this novel is top-notch– be it the world, characters, or the power system. There were two particular things that I felt the author Tsukikage nailed. First was the character of the protagonist, End and another was the power system. He gave End a very real personality. That intelligence but naive and schemer but kind personality was so well done. The story is not fully dark and there are some funny and heartfelt moments in the story as well.
Let’s discuss everything one by one.
The first volume of the novel feels more of a prologue. Author indirectly saying I am just getting started.
The world is a fantasy world and people are able to use magic. We are hinted there are many Kingdoms and there is a constant fight between light and dark. I am sure there is a vast world left to be explored in upcoming volumes.
There are only a few important characters in the first volume. I was only impressed by the character of the End, the protagonist and I felt the female lead and other side characters were lacking. I won’t discuss them in detail since it is a non-spoiler review. You can go to Spoiler if you want to know.
I thought that the author should have worked more on them. But there were bonus chapters at the last to solve these problems.
Now, talking about the power system of the world. The author gives us detailed information on how the power of light and dark works. He explains further what an undead is, how it is created, what maintains its soul intact, what causes to evolve it to a higher being like a ghoul, and what are its weakness. Every small thing is described in such a simple way that helps us to immerse in the story deeper.
Even though I have been read many novels with similar power systems, non has described how the power works like in this novel. This was refreshing for me. The battles were detailed and vivid.
Now, let’s talk more in detail about End.
This is the story of End, who has been revived as the lowest undead by a powerful necromancer. End’s previous life was miserable, always spending his time in bed with pain and suffering.
I’d been bedridden for most of my life from a slowly debilitating mystery illness that tortured me with headaches, stomach cramps, and unceasing pain. I was barely ten when I stopped being able to stand on my own
He is joyful that he got a new life but that joy lives shortly as he finds himself living as an undead. Even then he tries to find joy in that. He is delighted to walk again and live without pain. This moment was a heartwarming moment as he was determined to live fullest even as an undead which he knew were perceived as evil beings by all people.
I could do nothing except await death—I’d been alive, but dead. Now I was dead, but alive.
From the End’s point of view in the story, we know that he is an intelligent boy. When he finds himself being unable to escape the control from the rule of the powerful Necromancer. He waits patiently for the right time.
I was good at biding my time. That was the only privilege, the only strength of the weak.
This is a dark story but not too dark at the same time. I was shocked by how well-written and good this story was. There’s no romance in the first volume but the author has hinted it may be in second place at the last. It only took a single page of the first chapter for me to connect with the protagonist, to cheer for him, and to wish for the miracles to happen in desperate situations. This story was very impactful for me and so this story is definitely going to my Best of Best Novel list.
[expand title = “Spoiler Discussion” ]
Only a small part of the world is described in the first volume of this novel. There’s remains a much bigger world for us to explore. The story mainly follows End, an undead whose desire to simply live is so great that he is even willing to continue living his second life with a conscience despite being a monster, and Senli, a holy knight with strong and so pure beliefs that she is ready to even abandon her main path and order to save an undead who just wants to live.
At first, I thought the character of Senli and Lou lacking. It felt there was some work left to their characters as there was little information about them. But like I said earlier, the bonus chapters did the magic and we now understand more about them. The bonus chapters described the world from both of their eyes and it was much easier to understand the reason’s for their action.
I was impressed with the power system. The mechanics of power of curses and holy light were described superbly. The battles were well done and the internal struggle of both the main character End and Senli was well done as well. The relationship between both the leads and internal battles was one of the impactful parts of this story. There were some funny and heartfelt moments in the story as well.
I am looking forward to upcoming volumes.
Finally, I just want to say this is definitely a great story to read.
Recommended to everyone who likes fantasy, shounen novels with the intelligent dark main character.
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Thanks for reading my review of The King of the Dead at the Dark Palace. Hope you like it. Do tell me your thoughts by commenting.
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