Book Review: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

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.

‘They were there. Everywhere – the images. The crowns. Faces. Faces I knew all too well. Faces I’d seen many times on the Queenly Reports. They were there. All of them. All four queens – dead. Behind my lids. Inside my head.
How do you hide from your own mind?
Get out, get out, get out!’

Lately I’ve been struggling with my reading a little; despite desperately wanting to do it I somehow convinced myself that I couldn’t concentrate. Then, when I finally got going, I ended up not enjoying another book as much as I’d been expecting to which made me rather wary about picking up another of my most anticipated books of the year in case the same thing happened. I’m glad that I still went ahead and picked up Four Dead Queens however as I think that was exactly what I needed. This book managed to capture my attention, draw me into its world and push aside my worries that reading had somehow become mechanical for me. It’s such an easy story to get lost inside of with lots of drama, secrets, twists and turns to keep a reader glued to its pages.

I think my favourite aspect of ‘Four Dead Queens’ was probably the world that it was set within. I found each of the four quadrants fascinating to learn about and felt that they each contrasted one another greatly. Admittedly some of the quadrants I’d have liked to see a little more of but the ideas behind them all were intriguing. One of the quadrants in particular haunted me with its rules, teachings and customs (it could have had an entire dystopian novel set within its borders). Much of the ‘Queenly Law’ that you learn at the start of the novel was also quite chilling in some ways, painting a world where it’s rulers were trapped in gilded cages by tradition.

Many of the characters within the novel captured my attention and drew me into their stories. I loved getting to see a little bit of the Queens’ thoughts and feelings, although personally would have liked to have seen a little more of Queen Iris. The main two characters – Keralie and Varin- were both interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know each of them over the course of the story. Keralie had a compelling attitude and well painted past to her character which was deeply intriguing to delve into whilst learning about Varin was almost heartbreaking at times. Mackiel was another character that greatly interested me and I was quite excited to see what would happen next whenever he appeared on the pages. I think the character whose thoughts I was most enthralled with learning about was Arebella’s however; her way of thinking was quite unusual and I’d have loved a couple more scenes with her.

I also quite enjoyed the somewhat unusual way that the story was told with its odd feeling timeline and focus on several points of view. I know that there are some people that aren’t fond of books with multiple points of view but I generally quite enjoy them and, in this case, thought it worked wonderfully. Uncovering some of the truths as to what was happening within the palace from the Queens’ points of views gave the story a lot more emotional depth than I think it would have achieved if the Inspector had simply uncovered everyone’s secrets without seeing the thoughts, emotions and perspectives of those involved. Thanks to the way that the story was written I actually found it incredibly heartbreaking at times.

There were also a lot of different twists and turns throughout this story, many of which caught me off guard. I did, frustratingly, figure out who the assassin was before it was revealed but that didn’t particularly detract from the story for me, mostly because although I thought of the possibility I was hoping I was wrong and did find myself questioning whether I was right at times.

The only reason that I’m giving this book four and a half stars rather than five is because I felt that certain things happened too easily/were accepted too swiftly towards the end of the novel. I felt that one of the revelations could have used a bit more emotional turmoil and probably also a little more conflict initially; both of which probably could have been achieved if it had been written over a few more chapters than it was. I also felt that Mackiel lost his edge a little bit at the same time. The ending did tie things up fairly nicely however on the whole and the entire novel was still a pleasure to read.

Overall I recommend this novel and look forward to picking up Astrid Scholte’s next book, whatever that will be. Honestly I’d absolutely love it if she ever decided to write a few short stories set within this world, giving readers a chance to see more of each and every one of the quadrants, especially if some of those stories showed a bit more of the Queens and the various secrets that were revealed over the course of this novel. Quadara was a joy to explore.

Check Four Dead Queens out on Goodreads here.

I strive to keep my reviews completely spoiler free but if anyone wants to discuss anything about the book in more detail (or just give me an excuse to gush about it) then feel free to contact me in the comment section below.


3 thoughts on “Book Review: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

  1. I’d heard about this book and was intrigued especially as I love fantasy and queens. The idea of four queens sounds interesting and learning about each quadrant.
    It is good when the characters draw you into their stories because that is what you want. And I quite like multiple POV stories so that’s good for me!!
    This sounds like a good book and I hope I get to read it one day!!
    Lovely review!!! 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The same things drew me towards this book tbh. I love fantasy worlds and the idea of four queens was definitely intriguing.
      I generally quite like multiple POV stories too and I definitely felt like it was a bonus having it with this book for all of the character depth that it added to the story.
      I hope you get to as well and that if you do, you enjoy it.
      Thank you 💛

      Liked by 1 person

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