“Sometimes we fail because we’re not meant to succeed.”Astrid Scholte
“Sometimes failure is the beginning of success.”
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnum’s Sons Books
Genre: YA Fantasy & Mystery
Dates Read: July 10-12, 2019
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My Goodreads Review
📖 “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.” 📖
I genuinely wanted to give Four Dead Queens 5 stars…
The premise of this story was so intriguing and fun. A Fantasy with a murder mystery plot? I was so excited! And for the most part I really enjoyed this read, however I feel that it just could have and should have been… more.
This is the story of the Four Queens of Quadara. Each Queen rules a different quadrant of the land. Iris of Archia, Corra of Eonia, Stessa of Ludia, and Marguerite of Toria. As the title so aptly puts it, each Queen starts being murdered one by one. Because of this, an investigator is called in to find the killer. Alongside this narrative, we are also meeting Keralee, a thief from Toria who steals comm chips off of an Eonian messenger named Varin. Whilst trying to avoid giving the chips back to Varin, Keralee eats said “comm chips” and sees the visions of each of the Queens’ murders. After seeing what she has seen, Keralee, along with Varin go on a quest to the Palace to reveal the information of what she has seen.
I really liked the world that Astrid Scholte created. I found it very intriguing and I really enjoyed reading the POV’s of the Four Queens. I loved seeing how different the quadrants were and how it made each of the Queens unique . I wanted to learn more about each quadrant and the differences of each one, and that part was frustrating [this is a recurring theme for me throughout the book]. I just wanted more information.
This book is told from 5 or 6 different POV’s which I really enjoyed, until the author switched between 1st and 3rd person. All the perspectives are told from 3rd person except for Keralee (our MC) who’s chapters are told in 1st person narrative. This frustrated me quite a lot, it ended up making the book as a whole feel very inconsistent.
I also feel that this was WAY too big of a story to tell in a standalone novel. With so much going on in a short amount of time, the story felt rushed with not enough detail. We are introduced to each character in their own chapters, but there just wasn’t enough character development for me. I felt that without solid time devoted to each MC, it was super hard to build those characters and understand them. Weak politics, murders and a murder investigation, some vague non-detailed almost sci-fi concepts [genetic modifications and comm chips], were all thrown in with 5 different perspectives and a weak romance and it all adds up to a bunch of things that were underdeveloped.
The romance was just kind of okay for me. It felt like it was thrown in kind of unnecessarily and it just wasn’t my favorite. Again, very underdeveloped, and could have done so much more with it if the novel wasn’t a standalone. It just didn’t give me the feels, you know?
I also loved that the story was built as a mystery. You’re following the main character as she’s learning the events and slowly unravelling the mystery. You as a reader are also dying to figure it out as well. I honestly did not guess the ending, even as much as I speculated, I did not see it coming. I am not a huge mystery buff, but I do enjoy an occasional murder mystery novel and I loved that it mixed genres so nicely.
Now… the ending. This was the most disappointing part of the book to me. The way things were resolved, and the murderer being revealed felt way too convenient and tidy. This made it come off as a cop-out on the part of the author. It fell very flat and stale. Though I will say that I did NOT correctly guess who the murderer was, which made me very happy. If I would have been able to predict the outcome of the book, on top of everything else that I didn’t like about it, it would have been rated much lower for me.
Overall I just really wanted more from the story! I really think this would have made a great duology or trilogy. More books would have allowed us as readers to explore and delve deeper into the characters and the world. I will say however that even with it’s flaws, I did enjoy the book, and if you are a fan of YA Fantasy or Murder Mystery, I think you may enjoy it as well!
Language: Almost none/very mild
Violence: A fair amount. Depicts brutal murders quite a few times
Other: LGBTQ characters, some kissing, and minor sexual content (ex. talk of being lovers) but nothing above a YA/PG-13 level