Title: The Vanished Queen
Author: Lisbeth Campbell
Page Length: 496
Publication Date: Aug. 18, 2020
Publisher: Gallery/Saga Press
Synopsis: When a country is held in thrall to a vicious, despotic king, it’s up to one woman to take him down.
Long ago, Queen Mirantha vanished. King Karolje claimed it was an assassination by a neighboring king, but everyone knew it was a lie. He had Disappeared her himself.
But after finding the missing queen’s diary, Anza—impassioned by her father’s unjust execution and inspired by Mirantha’s words—joins the resistance group to overthrow the king. When an encounter with Prince Esvar thrusts her into a dangerous game of court politics, one misstep could lead to a fate worse than death.
Esvar is the second son to an evil king. Trapped under his thumb and desperate for a way out, a chance meeting with Anza gives him the opportunity to join the resistance. Together, they might have the leverage to move against the king—but if they fail, their deaths could mean a total loss of freedom for generations to follow.
Set in a world where resistance is as dangerous as it is important, The Vanished Queen is a tale of the courage and sacrifice it requires to take on a tyrant.
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One of the strengths of this novel is the character development. The author skillfully utilizes point of view, dialogue, and events in the plot to create well-developed, dynamic, and interesting characters.
I love that the story is narrated from three different points of view. This gives the reader a well-rounded view of what is happening in this world. Furthermore, by including Queen Mirantha’s perspective using journals from the past shows how long King Karolje’s oppressive and murderous rule has devastated their kingdom.
Prince Esvar’s perspective is much different from his mother’s, which is vastly different from Anza’s. Yet, they share the same goal. Using the varied narration allows the reader to see a rebellion on all levels and from different perspectives. Small and large rebellions have significance and worth in the lives of these characters, and they all work toward the betterment of their kingdom.
I also like the growing relationship between Anza and Prince Esvar. They are very similar in their loneliness and isolation as well as in their desires for the kingdom. They are both complex and dynamic characters that do unsavory things even though they don’t want to. They see the bigger picture and do what they have to for those they care about. They definitely have a strong connection, and their love story is a bright spot in an otherwise heavy story.
I do think that the story is a bit slow. There is a tremendous amount of character and plot development. Extended conversations, interactions, and thoughts lead to strong and dynamic character and dynamic world-building, but sometimes get tedious, especially at the beginning. That being said, the political intrigue is engrossing, as are the stories of the major characters.
Thanks so much to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
- The well developed characters.
- The three-person narration. It’s almost like reading three parallel stories.
- The political intrigue. The entire book presents continual struggles for power.
- The surprise twist! I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t say much, but OMG! There’s a great twist!
People who like stories with strong heroes trying to rid their kingdom of an evil and sadistic ruler will enjoy this piece. I also think readers who like detailed and immersive stories with tremendous character development and multiple points of view will like this book.