Be honest, when was the last time you *blasted* through a book (that wasn’t a re-read). As a fairly fast natural reader I don’t really measure things in the actual time it takes me to read them, and more in how long they feel. Does that make sense? You can read two books that can actually take the exact same length of time to read but one felt like it flew by and the other felt like an anchor dragging you down to the depths of the ocean where the fish are all weird.
But I digress.
A Queen in Hiding was one of those rarely-found books that just completely gripped me, I went in with little to no expectations and was delighted with what I found. Thank goodness the following books in the series are being published one every month so I won’t have to wait around for the next one!
Orphaned, exiled and hunted, Cérulia, Princess of Weirandale, must master the magic that is her birthright, become a ruthless guerilla fighter, and transform into the queen she is destined to be.
But to do it she must win the favour of the spirits who play in mortal affairs, assemble an unlikely group of rebels, and wrest the throne from a corrupt aristocracy whose rot has spread throughout her kingdom.
What I most loved about this book was how it kept me interested. When I first started out I thought it was going to feel too generic, that I would be able to predict the ending and I’d be bored by page 150. But that isn’t the case! I think that, because this book contains the dual POV of Cérulia and her mother, it makes you keep reading, every time you get to the end of one chapter you have to keep going to find out what happens next, and then you’ve read the next chunk of the other perspective and the whole cycle starts again. I pretty much devoured this book I was so desperate to read what happened and now I desperately need book two.
This book is tropey, but (at least the way I read it) it feels unapologetically tropey, not in that awkward ‘parody’ sense, but more that it doesn’t apologise for those tropes. Yes, the different classes are differentiated by hair colour, but let’s not try and ‘untrope’ that idea by doing something unnecessarily complicated with the worldbuilding. I’m a firm believer that things become tropes because they work, because they are the kind of things that readers love, yes they can be overdone but they can also work! While I wouldn’t suggest reading this straight after reading another similar series (I wouldn’t jump from something like Red Queen into this book, to give an example) but if you like books like this then, by all means, leap in!
You can tell that this is the first book in a series that has already been planned out, it’s mostly setting up characters and settings and starting the plot down the path to book four, so don’t expect a happy standalone experience, you will be left wanting to keep reading! That being said, I do think that the book contains enough plot to hold its own, it leaves a lot unfinished, of course, but it isn’t merely an introduction, there is character development within these pages and the hint of much more to come.
I’ll be really interested to see how things go with the way this book is being published (bringing out one book every month), whether it leads to series burnout or whether it marks the start (continuation?) of a different way of consuming series. Of course, there will still be books that release sequels every one or two years, but perhaps we will also see more of these ‘bingeable’ books hitting the shelves.
I’m just glad I don’t have to wait four years to find out what happens to Cérulia!
My rating: 4/5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
A Queen in Hiding is out now!
What say you? What’s the sequel you are still desperately waiting for? Let me know in the comments below!