I’m thrilled to be part of Terminal Tours blog tour for Sarah Henning’s book The Queen Will Betray You. I loved the story, and highly recommend it to readers who enjoy YA fantasy and romance. It is filled with action, adventure, lies, betrayal, and true love.
About the Book:
Title: The Queen Will Betray You
Author: Sarah Henning
Series: Kingdoms of Sand and Sky #2
Page Length: 352
Publication Date: July 6, 2022
Publisher: Tor Teen
Synopsis: The breathtaking sequel to The Princess Will Save You in the Kingdoms of Sand and Sky duology — a brilliantly-executed YA fantasy homage to The Princess Bride
To stay together forever, Princess Amarande and her stableboy love, Luca, must part: Amarande to reclaim her kingdom from usurpers, and Luca to raise a rebellion and find his destiny. Arrayed against them are all the players in the game of thrones for control over the continent of The Sand and Sky. Facing unspeakable betrayals, enemies hidden in the shadows, and insurmountable odds, their only hope is the power of true love…
The Queen Will Betray You is an epic sequel to The Princess Will Save You! The story picks up right where the first book left off, and it is action-packed, riddled with danger, intrigue, treachery, and more. I love that the series pays homage to The Princess Bride while still feeling wholly original. The setting is immersive and detailed – horrific at times and majestically beautiful at others. The characters are dynamic and compelling, and there’s a startling redemption for a character that felt irredeemable.
The story is told from many different perspectives, which gives such a well-rounded view of what is happening in the different kingdoms. Politics, political maneuvering, and complex, power-hungry machinations weave into every aspect of life in this world, and with so many different points of view, we see all of it. The characters are so well-developed and interesting, and I loved learning more about each of their stories. There are so many characters with secrets, and it’s never clear who Ama and Luca should trust. Layers upon layers of manipulation and political maneuvering make for a complicated web of lies, half-truths, and deception, and just when I thought I had everything figured out, Henning threw another twist that changed everything!
Ama is a fantastic protagonist, and I love her journey. As her physical journey intensifies, so does her emotional one. Ama learns so much about her family, and she realizes that she doesn’t know the people she loves as well as she thought she did. Luca is also quite well-developed, and I love that we see him learning more about his family and past, as well as his future as a leader. He seems more self-assured and confident, yet his core values and morals remain unchanged. New alliances and old are tested, and Luca and Ama both show strength, loyalty, and determination to do what is right for their people.
Ama and her allies are fighting against the patriarchal laws of society in hopes of a more equal future. In this male-dominated society, different women use different means to rise up in a world that wants to keep them submissive. And Amarantha is not the only woman who wants the laws to change. Other women want to rule on their own too. However, the ways they go about reaching their shared goal are vastly different. I like that the story shows both good and bad women and all the women in between.
The story also examines the lengths people go to gain and keep control and the different ways that people choose to rule and how these decisions intrinsically affect their entire world. There’s so much action and suspense. It’s violent and graphic, at times, and some scenes are shocking in their brutality. But these scenes also show the imperativeness of demanding change.
Taillefer is a masterfully complex character, and his arc is fascinating. He is evil and manipulative, disturbing in his willingness and eagerness to hurt others. Yet, there’s something about Taillefer. I’m not sure if it’s his candidness, his innate ability to get to the heart of a matter, his arrogant humor, or his redemptive actions, but he went from being one of my least favorite to my favorite character. I feel like the more I learned about him, his family, his past, and his intention, the more he became less villainous. Of course, many of his actions are unforgiveable, but Henning’s skillful characterization of Taillefer creates a well-rounded, complex, and redeemable person.
Ama’s father, though dead, is another strong presence in the story. Flashbacks from several characters, as well as recollections of advice given and cryptic messages left behind, create a dynamic character who has left a strong imprint on the land and people he loved. I found it fascinating that Ama’s father was so well-developed and complex even though he wasn’t a physical presence in the story. Even after his death, his life impacted so many, especially Ama and Luca
Ultimately, this is a love story, and Ama and Luca’s love story is sweet and true and reminiscent of Wesley and Buttercup in The Princess Bride. Their devotion to each other is wonderful, and the story left enough wiggle room at the end that i could see a potential follow-up book. Other budding romances are interesting as well, and I’m eager to see these new relationships grow.
The Queen Will Betray You is an immersive, well-paced story, and I loved the characters, plot, world-building, and themes. There are many unexpected twists and turns, and I like that the story kept me guessing. There are also many morally grey people, situations, and actions throughout the book, which creates blurry lines between right and wrong and is so intriguing! I highly recommend this series to readers who like YA fantasy and romance and am so thankful to Sarah Henning, the publisher, and Terminal Tours for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
The tiger has fled, the mountain lion is dead, the wolf has found his head.
Tough decisions never get easier. Even for those with the best of intentions, because no decision is perfect. And those with the worst intentions do not care.
Funny how little lives are worth when they pay for your success.
Even the best of us are willing to lie for those we love.
His was a heart that always bent toward the greater good, but by necessity he had to plan for the greater evil and all it’s whims.
All sigils in the Sand and Sky are predators by design. Trade one for the other and you still get the teeth.
About the Author:
Sarah Henning is a recovering journalist who has worked for the Palm Beach Post, Kansas City Star and Associated Press, among others. While in South Florida, Sarah lived and worked through five hurricanes, which gave her an extreme respect for the ocean. When not writing, she runs ultramarathons, hits the playground with her two kids and hangs out with her husband Justin, who doubles as her long-suffering IT department. Sarah lives in Lawrence, Kansas, which, despite being extremely far from the beach, happens to be pretty cool.
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