About This Book:
In a Queendom divided, can one girl unite the realms?
Jacs, an inventor’s apprentice from the Lower Realm, has only ever dreamed of what the land among the clouds holds. That is until she finds a letter from Connor, an Upperite boy hoping to learn more about the land below. Little does Jacs know, Connor is actually Prince Cornelius of the Queendom of Frea. With wooden boats and hot air balloons, the two begin a secret correspondence. But their friendship is divided by a heavily-guarded bridge and an inescapable prejudice.
The strength of their bond was thought to transcend distance and time, but when the royal family visits the Lower Realm, the Queendom’s feud is reignited.
To save her people, Jacs must infiltrate the Upper Realm and earn her place to compete in the Contest of Queens. In a story about friendship, love, bravery, and defying gravity, Jacs will strive to prove that a Queendom is strongest when united.
*Review Contributed by Jan Farnworth, Staff Reviewer*
What I liked:
The relatability of Contest of Queens is undeniable; an age-old issue, the upper class versus lower class, laid out in this story as an upper realm and a lower realm. The upper domain has queens, princes, and everything the rich could desire. The lower realm is the working class, who are looked down on by the upper realm. One day the prince years to know more about the lower domain and sends a letter in a boat to the lower realm and what unfolds is a budding friendship between the two kingdoms.
The imaginative way of telling the story where genders are reversed, queens have all the power, the guards are female, and this concept is fully grasped midway through the book. When things go wrong during a visit between the realm, the lower kingdom is punished beyond measure without regard to who could be at fault. Jacs, our main character, is determined to find a way to bridge the gap between the realms and does the unthinkable by building a ballon and entering the Contest of Queens.
This tale is a thought-provoking fantasy novel, a story you can fall into and not come for air for hours. I read it in two days. It was that good. Contest of Queens is one of those gems that needs to be found by more people. Strong world-building, good history, and robust feminist approach to societal economics. I am on the edge of my seat for the next installment in this story.
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