Four Dead Queens

“Be patient, child. Be calm. Be selfless. Wait for the right moment. Wait for your time. Rule with a steady hand. A steady heart.” 

“Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but in fact, she’s one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. Varin runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.”

Four Dead Queens was possibly the biggest surprise for me this year. I wasn’t expecting very much! I have to admit, I thought it would be like a lot of the other popular YA fantasy releases that have come out recently. In some ways it was, but in others it was definitely different, and those threads of originality really made this book fun and special to read.

My favorite thing about this book was the author’s use of time and separate timelines. Every other chapter (give or take) takes place in the present day, with our badass MC Keralie, and then in an unknown space of time with the four Queens of Quedara. I was so drawn in by this! At first I couldn’t tell which timeline had happened first, or if they were happened simultaneously, and then…it was neither! I was completely surprised, and very happily so! This was such a unique format in which to tell the story and I think it served Four Dead Queens so well.

Another thing I didn’t see coming was the twist at the end! Ah, and this is such a pleasure for me! I hesitate to say too much about it, in fear of ruining it for anyone else, but safe to say that I never correctly guessed “whodunnit!” And it was awesome when the big reveal came, it blew me out of the water. I had so much fun trying to guess and even more fun being wrong.

Four Dead Queens had so many interesting things going for it. Its use of technology, while still being a fantasy book, was such an interesting facet to add into the world of Quedara. Its women-forward and well-built political system is interesting without being dry, built into the country’s history without being long-winded. The characters were relatable while also being wildly different from me, and each other! I loved the diversity of person and personality in this book.

Four Dead Queens is a dark, unapologetic, and wild ride of a YA fantasy book, and I whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone who enjoys that genre. This is Astrid Scholte’s debut novel and I’m impressed! I was surprised and entertained, felt real emotions and never wanted to put the book down until I flipped that last page.

“Let love guide your, heart and everything else will fall into place.”