Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington is one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves, but when she steals an unexpectedly valuable package from a messenger she is soon entangled in a conspiracy that leads to all four of Quadara’s queens being murdered.
With no other choices and on the run from her former employer, Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the Eonist messenger she stole from, and together they race to discover who has killed the queens. But when dark secrets threaten their reluctant partnership and put everything at stake, Keralie and Varin must use all their daring to stay alive and untangle the mysteries behind the nation’s four dead queens.
This book sucked me right in! Seriously – I was completely engrossed from the first chapter. Scholte presents a beautifully told closed room mystery, set in a fantasy world where I felt like I had enough information to understand the politics of the society, without having too much detail about everything, which I feel like is always a fine line in a fantasy story. The geography didn’t feel quite as clear, although there is a map, but I’m not particularly fussy about these kind of details in a story and am usually just happy to go along with it.
I liked that there was a relatively diverse cast in the book, and that the characters had some depth and complexity. We get to see the narrative unfold from the POVs of a variety of characters across the book, and I felt like getting bits and pieces of info – and secrets – from different people was a really fun way to see the story come together.
Another cool thing about this book, which maybe sounds a bit weird, is that it is a standalone! Singletons are a bit of a unicorn in the YA fantasy world, and there is something really satisfying about being able to get the fullness of the story in one book rather than waiting for the next installment (although I have to admit I would actually like to spend some more time in this world!)
This was a wonderful book, and one of the best YA novels I’ve read in a while, and I gave it a full 5 shiny stars out of 5. As well as fantasy this one has a definite sci-fi spin (there is some cool tech in there!), and I’d love to see what else Astrid Scholte could do with either sci-fi or fantasy. I do know for sure that whatever she comes out with next will likely be an automatic buy for me!
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
Out now from Allen and Unwin
Source: Free copy sent to me by Allen and Unwin
Category: YA fantasy fiction
Australian RRP: $19.99