The True Queen, Zen Cho – Book Review

Hello Humans! I’m finally catching up with some of my review copies for the start of April – I was so tired at the end of March that I fell further behind than I would normally like to (but also it feels as though SO many books got published in the last fortnight and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to read them all!). So, with that in mind, I’m here to review one of the books released in March, the sequel to Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho’s The True Queen. 

The True Queen

Goodreads Summary:

When sisters Muna and Sakti wake up on the peaceful beach of the island of Janda Baik, they can’t remember anything, except that they are bound as only sisters can be. They have been cursed by an unknown enchanter, and slowly Sakti starts to fade away. The only hope of saving her is to go to distant Britain, where the Sorceress Royal has established an academy to train women in magic.

If Muna is to save her sister, she must learn to navigate high society, and trick the English magicians into believing she is a magical prodigy. As she’s drawn into their intrigues, she must uncover the secrets of her past, and journey into a world with more magic than she had ever dreamed.

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This book is not exactly a strict sequel to Sorcerer to the Crown, though the events do take place in succession. However, I don’t think you have to have read the first book to read this one, it does a pretty good job of explaining all the things you need to know. So, if you were wondering about reading these books but you would rather read more female characters or if the summary of this book sounds more your thing I would say you could start here without too much of a problem. As someone who often ends up reading books out of order, I like when this happens.

So yes, more female characters! I loved Muna and Henrietta’s perspectives (alongside my love for Prunella from the previous book). Obviously, I loved the first book but I definitely felt like this book pushed even further than the first one did. There is a much less Britain-centric feel, with more of the story taking place either in Fairyland or in Asia – giving a much wider sense of the Regency era magical world that Zen Cho has so artfully created. So, for those who really liked the magical/fae aspects of the first book, this book will absolutely satisfy.

My one problem with this book is that I found it hard, at times, to keep track of exactly what was going on. This is almost always my problem with anything Regency or involving court politics of any kind. I can never remember who is who and who wants what. With the addition of magic, I got even more lost. Some more clarity in some of the more complex sections would have absolutely made this a five star read for me – and people who are better with dealing with books like this would undoubtedly have a great time.

I loved the plot, once I got my head around it, and I thought that it was very well thought out. I thought that the pacing was great, with the reveals and plot drops happening just at the right time to keep me hooked throughout. Some aspects of the story were pretty predictable, others took me by surprise – it was a pleasant mix – not something I’m used to.

I have a lot of thoughts about books with fairies in them and they are 99.9% negative. I find that, personally, I don’t find the fae very compelling characters and the amount of lore and backlog that comes with them is more of a hindrance than a help to a plot. In this case, I think that Zen Cho does enough to make the idea of Fairyland her own that it doesn’t encounter any of those problems, instead feeling incredibly fresh and vibrant.

I would absolutely recommend this book, and Sorcerer to the Crown for pretty much any fantasy lover, but particularly if you find yourself headed towards a slump – this might be just the thing to kick you back into gear.

My rating: 4/5 stars

I received a free digital advanced review copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

The True Queen is available now!

Find on Goodreads | Amazon (Affiliate)

What say you? Have you read any of the books in this series? Let me know in the comments below!

J

 

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