Hello Humans! I recently read and reviewed The Queen’s Rising as part of my Mini Reviews series. I was really glad I could read the first book from the Library before starting the sequel – the context is certainly needed for this book. The Queen’s Resistance is the second book in what I believe is a duology from Rebecca Ross. Those who like romance, battles and court politics will certainly enjoy this duology – but how does book two stack up?
Spoiler free for The Queen’s Resistance but may contain spoilers for The Queen’s Rising.
Finally, Brienna is a mistress of knowledge and is settling into her role as the daughter of Davin MacQuinn, a disgraced lord who returned to Maevana to reclaim his house. Though she’d just survived a revolution, one that will finally return a queen to the throne, she faces another difficult challenge. She must prove herself trustworthy to the MacQuinns. But as Queen Isolde Kavanagh’s closest confidant, she’ll have to balance serving her father’s house as well as her country. And then there’s Cartier, a wholly separate but desirable factor in her new life.
Aodhan Morgane, formerly known as Cartier Évariste, is adjusting to the stark contrast between his pre-rebellion life in Valenia as a master of knowledge and his current one as the lord of a fallen house. During his castle’s restoration, he discovers a ten-year-old boy named Tomas, whose past and parentage are a complete mystery. So when Cartier’s former pupil Brienna is as taken with Tomas as he is, he lets his mind wander—what if he doesn’t have to raise him or his house alone?
As the Lannon trial rapidly approaches, Brienna and Cartier must put their feelings aside to concentrate on forging alliances, executing justice, and ensuring that no one interferes with the queen’s coronation. But resistance is rumbling among the old regime’s supporters, who are desperate to find a weakness in the rebels’ forces. And nothing makes a person more vulnerable than deep-seated love.
Content warning: Torture, child abuse (largely off-page)
I think I might have liked this book even more than book one. It’s tricky. I think it depends on what you liked from book one? I personally liked the plots and plans more than the romance and I think the balance between the two is better in this sequel, largely because it’s split POV between Cartier and Brienna. Since the two of them are often off doing different things the romance is a little less in your face, there are kingdoms at stake and I personally am more invested in that then I am how two people feel about each other – that’s just me.
But yes, I think the dual POV really works, I liked Cartier’s perspective, they managed to do more than just having him as a romantic hero, he’s got a lot to do in this book but he also never outshines Brienna, it’s actually a pretty nice hero/heroine balance.
The other thing I appreciated about this book is that, where book one felt like you had to constantly be flicking back to the various family trees at the start of the book, it felt a lot more obvious who was who. Of course, that could be a quirk of how much I was paying attention or just the result of having read two books in the same world but I did feel like I had a much better handle on who was doing what (or whom…). I think because in this book you actually encounter a lot of the characters, as well as having the benefit of Cartier’s knowledge, there’s just more that the main characters can pass on to the reader.
This is a nice easy-to-read writing style. At first, I thought it was going to be too simplistic, that it would fall into that ‘so YA it hurts’ category that I find myself using all too often. But actually, I think this book does enough differently, in particular, the aforementioned balance between the male and female protagonists, as well as the fact that Brienna isn’t the character becoming Queen. While there are a lot of familiar elements to this story it still feels like it’s own thing, not like a remake of something else. Perhaps that’s just telling of what I have and haven’t read – but I hugely enjoyed reading this.
Definitely a slow start, let yourself sink back into this world, but towards the last 50% or so this got really good, to the point where I didn’t want to put it down.
If court politics mixed up with a healthy dose of action and romance is your kind of thing then I would say this is a YA duology you shouldn’t miss!
My rating: stars
I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
The Queen’s Resistance is out now!
What say you? Have you read these books or anything similar? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!