Title: A Queen in Hiding
Author: Sarah Kozloff
Series: The Nine Realms (#1)
Page Length: 477
Publication Date: Jan. 12. 2020
Publisher: Tor Books
Synopsis: 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 favor 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.
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The first book in The Nine Realms series, this 500-page novel is an intricately developed fantasy story. There is a tremendous amount of world and character-building throughout the piece. In fact, the majority of the story feels like exposition. This isn’t surprising considering it’s the first in the series, and it made for an immersive read. The author’s poetically expressive style vividly reveals a fantastical world of magic, political intrigue, and dynamically developed characters.
Political intrigue and struggles for power were at the helm of this story, and, though it was very involved and complex, it was also not difficult to follow. Queen Cressa is betrayed by power-hungry traitors who stage a coup to kill her. The Queen goes into exile, and Cerulia goes into hiding until she is older and has developed her magical abilities. I thought this was interesting, but throughout the book, I wanted…well, more – more conflict, more plot, more suspense, more action, more magic!
All of the ruling Queens have a magical gift, and Cerulia has the ability to communicate with animals. Though her ability is originally dismissed as the wishful fantasies of a young girl, Cerulia’s power proves beneficial at a time when she really needs it. Though this wasn’t the major focus of the novel, it was fascinating, and I am hopeful that these unique abilities will be further explored in future books.
The story started at a quick pace and hooked me immediately. However, after a few chapters, the pace slowed dramatically and the plot progression with it. About half-way through the book, the pacing picks up again and is faster-paced for the rest of the story. That being said, the magical elements, the immersive setting, and the deftly developed characters made for an interesting, if inconsistently-paced, epic tale.
Thanks so much to Netgalley for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
- The immersive world and character-building. This is an extensively developed story.
- Cerulia’s story and her cool ability.
Readers who enjoy epic fantasy stories will love this book!