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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.
Title: Four Dead Queens
Author: Astrid Scholte
Publication Date: February 26, 2020
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance, Mystery
What a book…What a BOOK! Can someone check to see if my mouth is still hanging open? I seriously feel like I’ve just been slammed over the head with one of the best books of the past year. Where do I even start?!
The world-building. The mystery. The intrigue. The secrets. The people. IT. WAS. ALL. INCREDIBLE.
Let me just start with the world-building. Even though this is a stand-alone novel, Scholte treated it like she was setting up for a series! I mean, it was all fleshed out so meticulously, but efficiently. Whereas in a series, you might have more time to tell the reader more about the world in later books, here she had to lay it all on the line. Amazingly enough, it never felt rushed or lacking in any way. There was technology that she had to makeup, cultures and customs for 4 different quadrants of a kingdom, and all the characters that were required to fit into the mold of their quadrant. I mean…wow.
Speaking of characters, I was continually surprised. Like I said before, each character was supposed to fit into this mold set by their environment, but they continually evolved and showed how different they were. Scholte had to deal with a lot of main characters, even a lot of POVs, and she did so effortlessly. Honestly, I’m still in shock over here because of it.
The book is broken up into about 6 POVs, but they don’t feel forced or confused. I thought it might slow things down, or take away from the “real” plot, but it all just fit together seamlessly.
And lastly, (this has to be the last thing I’m going to say or I’m going to get carried away), the surprises never seemed to stop. I’m usually pretty good about guessing plot twists and surprises, but honestly, I never saw these coming. And the cool thing about this book is that there were secrets and surprises throughout the whole thing.
In some books, they wait until the very end to reveal the “big twist,” but here, Scholte gave us just enough crumbs to keep moving forward. The biggest twist was still saved for the end, but there were still loads of smaller ones throughout the rest of the book. I’m seriously not sure when I’m going to get over the shock I feel from this book.
Overall, this book was fresh (not at all saturated by the royalty theme going on right now), surprising on every page, and addicting. I’m not going to be able to sleep for the next week because I’m going to be thinking about this book. I will recommend it until my voice goes out. READ THIS BOOK!