Review: Four Dead Queens

Four Dead Queens
By Astrid Scholte
Published February 26, 2019 by Putnam

Four Dead Queens wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I thought it was going to be typical high fantasy, but it’s really a mystery with fantasy and science fiction elements.

I was stuck in an emergency room for hours on a Saturday night. On my way out the Four Dead Queensdoor, I grabbed Four Dark Queens so I’d have something to read, and by the time, I went home later that night, I had torn through 250 pages and didn’t want to put it down. It was the perfect book to distract me from my not so pleasant surroundings.

Keralie is a teen master thief who works for a criminal mastermind named Mackiel. They live in a country called Quadara, which has an unusual system of government. The country has four quadrants, each with its own queen. The four queens live together in a palace at the center of the country, and they represent their quadrant’s interests while never actually visiting their quadrant. On Mackiel’s orders, Keralie steals a set of comm chips from a messenger. Things don’t go exactly as planned, and Keralie and the messenger, Varin, are caught up in a conspiracy plot that leads to the murders of the four queens.

Keralie and Varin form an uneasy partnership. Varin is from Eonia, the technologically advanced quadrant. Eonia uses genetic modifications to enhance their citizens and has other forms of technology, like the comm chips that Keralie steals. The Eonians are very repressed and unemotional, so Varin doesn’t work so well with hot-headed Keralie. Their evolving relationship as they try to solve the mystery of the queens’ deaths is really fun.

The mystery was very twisty and unexpected. We get chapters from the point of view of each of the queens, so we see a bit of their lives and what’s going on right before the murders. Each queen has a secret, and it’s not clear whether their secrets may have something to do with the murders. There are so many twists and turns in this book, and the resolution of the mystery was totally unexpected and very well done. Also, it’s a stand-alone book, so you don’t have to commit to multiple books, which is a nice change from most other young adult fantasy books.

I received an ARC from the publisher via Amazon Vine.

 

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