Kate Fox and the Three Kings by Grace Pulliam
I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Kate Fox is the social leper amongst the notorious Blood of Christ cult, whom Kate affectionately refers to as W.H.O.R.E. (We Hate Outsiders, (Your) Religion, and Everyone). While most 17-year-olds prepare for college after their high school graduation, Kate is wedged between obnoxious picketing, spreading God’s hatred like confetti, and her host mother’s relentless body shaming. She finds herself the target of the church’s cruelty as something wicked stirs behind the pews and courses through the veins of the church’s most beloved members. When one of Kate’s only friends, the pastor’s son, starts acting strange, she realizes that W.H.O.R.E. is safe no longer.
After Kate is attacked during a long day of funeral picketing, she discovers that the cult members are not the only folks with power, and she escapes into Daniel Boone’s National Forest, garnering an unexpected ally while trekking through the wilderness. Kate’s grandparents are dead, so she heads for her last option: a tiny Florida town, covered in Spanish moss and home to her aunt and cousin. Under her cousin Billie’s direction, Kate attempts to forget the past six years living in a cult, and braces herself for a normal college experience: skipping classes, learning how to shotgun beers, and navigating her thorny attraction towards her boss at the Olde Time Soda Fountain, a peculiar and mutilated man named Hemming, but crippling insecurity and ancient lore thwart Kate’s transition into normalcy.
The same evil that resided within Brushy Fork, Kentucky, has followed Kate to Florida, threatening her happiness and the safety of her family. Kate must rise as the Final Fox if she wishes to escape the tendrils of W.H.O.R.E., and every Fox is required to play the ancient and deadly Three Kings Game in order to harness their power. Lose and die. Win and live. It’s time to play.
I liked this a lot….I think. 😉 There was a lot going on and a lot of different ideas introduced. I felt myself getting confused and having to go back to reread pages and look for clarity. I loved all of the elements put into the story. Religious cults! Paranormal forces! Evil Nazis! The writing is top notch as well. Pulliam made me hate every person in the Blood of Christ cult more than I had anticipated. The amount of hate I have for these fictional people is a testament to her storytelling ability. They are hate-mongers, oppressive to women, and basically evil.
Where I began to get confused was when Kate began her escape away from the hate-mongers. Pulliam hints at a greater evil that (maybe) possessed one of Kate’s only friends into being just as horrible as the rest of the cult. Does that mean the cult is possessed by legitimate evil too? Are they just humanly evil? As Kate was running away, the introduction of the paranormal was confusing too. Out of nowhere, a huge dog beast thing finds Kate and leads her out. What? Definitely cool imagery, but what?
As Kate reunited with some members of her family (apparently they didn’t know she was with the cult), I felt that she kind of got over that traumatizing experience too quickly. Pulliam still writes moments of doubt and discomfort, but Kate is very quick to dress in normal clothes and go out with her cousin, seemingly forgetting her six years of oppression. Her love interest also creeped me out because I thought he was legitimately an elderly man until about 3/4 through the story. If you read the novel, you will understand why.
Most baffling is the Three Kings Game and how relatively accepting Kate was of its concept. She was like, “Ok, I have magical powers, there are magical creatures, it is part of my family lineage to play this mystical game to gain control. This is normal.” I still don’t completely understand the concept of the game.
- Hate mongering religious cults! Evil Nazis! Paranormal creatures and powers!
- Even though I was pretty confused, it still made me want to read on and figure it out rather than it become tedious and I give up.
- The ending definitely made me want to read more!
The Not So Good
- What is happening? So much going on, not fully developed
- I read this on my iPhone as an ebook on and off for a few days (super busy). I think if I had read it straight through and had more time to process, the events would have made some more sense. Definitely would still be confused though.
I would say yes. The ending definitely made me want to find out more. I feel like a second installment would be able to better explain all of the different aspects. It is hard to introduce such a complex story in one volume. You will definitely have to bear with it, though. I apologize that this review isn’t as cohesive but I am still trying to process exactly what was written! 😉