Queen Among the Dead

Queen Among the Dead
Age Range
14+
Release Date
January 17, 2023
ISBN
9781638930181
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In the kingdom of Eire, banshees chill the air, and water-wights lurk in the rivers. But magic is outlawed by the king, and jealously hoarded by his Druid priests.
Neve is the youngest daughter of the king, and Ronan is a Druid’s apprentice-turned-thief, making a living by selling stolen spells. They should be enemies, but their shared hatred of the Druids—and a dark magic that has marked them both—makes them unlikely, if uneasy, allies.
When Eire is threatened by a power struggle, Neve must seize the chance to take her rightful place on her family’s throne, with the help of Ronan and the realm’s most dangerous outcasts. Their journey takes them to the outskirts of Eire where magic still runs free . . . and where an outlaw and a warrior princess might carve out a future with spells and swords.

Editor review

1 review
Intriguing fantasy based on Celtic mythology
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
The premise and setting of this book intrigued me, especially the incorporation of Celtic mythology. It almost felt like reading historical fiction in some places, especially since a historical landmark was central to the story, and the action, fast pace, likable characters, and plot twists were enough to overcome some of the flaws and make this a book that I would recommend to others.

This is a violent story, set in a turbulent kingdom beset by unrest, so it can be difficult for sensitive readers. There are fights and battle scenes in multiple places throughout the book, building up to a major battle, but it kept me reading and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened at the end. In addition, this story also brings up issues of equality under a monarchy, but does so in a subtle way.

Neve’s character is especially likable, as a warrior princess in a time when this isn’t socially acceptable. Yet she never compromises or hides who she is, and the people closest to her accept and love her just as she is. Her relationship with Ronan is complex, since they are forced to work together as uneasy partners, but it was interesting to see how they move from a forced partnership to a tentative trust and then to a true partnership.

I struggled a bit with keeping the different aspects of the Celtic mythology straight, since it was unfamiliar to me. Not all of it was defined in the list at the beginning of the book, and some of it was hard to understand. In addition, while the world-building was vivid and well-defined, the magic system was not well explained. Only a few could access magic, and the limits and how it worked was never explained, although the Druid magic was expected to be mysterious and unexplained.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. It was the kind of book that I couldn’t put down, and found myself thinking about it even after I finished reading. While I learned more about Celtic mythology, I still want to learn more. Even though this appears to be a standalone, I kind of found myself wishing that there is going to be a sequel, because this is the kind of book where I am not ready to let the characters and the story go.

Good Points
-Intriguing plot
-Fresh setting
-Fast-paced
-Vivid world-building
-Likable well-rounded characters
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