Book Review: The Queen’s Choice by Cayla Kluver

The Queen's Choice

Title: The Queen’s Choice (Heirs of Chrior Trilogy #1)
Author: Cayla Kluver
Genre: Fantasy, Fae, High Fantasy,  Young Adult
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: 28th January 2014
Pages: 500
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
My life is no longer mine to control. By a single deed, I have become something more than I wanted to be.

When sixteen-year-old Anya learns that her aunt — Queen of the Faerie Kingdom of Chrior — will soon die, her grief is equalled only by her despair for the future of the kingdom. Her young cousin, Illumina, is unfit to rule and Anya is determined not to take up the queen’s mantle herself.

Convinced that the only solution is to find Prince Zabriel — who long ago disappeared into the human realm of Warckum — and persuade him to take up his rightful crown, Anya journeys into the Warckum Territory to bring him home. But her journey is doomed to be more harrowing than she ever could have imagined…

My Review:

The Fae Queen is dying and wants her sixteen year old niece, Anya, to be her successor. Ruling her people is not something Anya thought she would be doing and instead decides to venture into Human lands and find her wayward cousin, the Queen’s half-human half-fae son and true heir to the Chrior throne, Prince Zabriel. Misfortune favours Anya as she journeys through the human realm of Warchum but she needs to complete her self-appointed mission before it’s too late for the Queen and her son to reconcile.

Anya is a very interdependent and strong young woman. Having to face horrors with an alarming frequency but somehow she manages to emerge slightly damaged but still with a fighting spirit. She’s gone though so much and despite having lost so much somehow she has even more taken from her. She does tend to feel sorry for herself at times and whilst it’s entrely understandable, it doesn’t make her the most enjoyable character to read. This story really gets going once Anya meets Shea. Shea is every bit as strong as Anya but without the street smarts and a little more naive about the darkness of human (and fae) nature. The camaraderie between the two was a pleasure to read and I loved how they supported each other.

There is a lot going on in this book. A gorgeous pirate and his mischievous crew, faeries with an innate connection to the elements, political unease between the Fae and Humans, an adventure and a quest and a lot of hidden motives. And I enjoyed reading Anya’s journey throughout the Human realm. However I almost didn’t finish this book. I was a hundred pages in and I didn’t feel a connection to the characters and found the book to be a little convoluted and monotonous. The writing is very descriptive but a little long-winded. This book would have benefited from being a little more direct and to the point. I’m so glad that I didn’t give up because after the first 20% this book is great. It’s still a little slow at times but the characters Anya meets on the way and the way events play out were well worth it. One thing that surprised me was how much I enjoyed the romance – or lack there of. Anya is betrothed to a lovely young fae man but it doesn’t overwhelm the story. This is not just a book about a girl choosing the man she wants to be with. It’s about so much more. Duty to one’s people and family. Risking everything to do what you believe is right. And to never give up no matter what hardships have been bestowed upon you.

I’ve not read a Cayla Kluver novel before but I am delighted to have finished the Queen’s Choice. There are twists I didn’t see coming and have me eagerly anticipating the next books in the series. I have so many questions but they are the good kind of questions where I can’t wait to see just where Kluver is going to take Anya, Zabriel and the unrest between the two realms next.

 Thanks to Harlequin Teen and for the review copy. 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Book Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Title: Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1)
Author: Morgan Rhodes (aka. Michelle Rowen)
Genre: high fantasy, magic, romance
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: 11 December 2012
Pages: 412 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power–brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished–and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past–and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword…

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

My Review:

I’ve not read much fantasy in my life but this book is the kind of high fantasy that reminded me of Lord of the Rings or the Song of Fire and Ice books.

There’s magic, castles, forbidden lust and political unrest. In the land of Mytica there are three kingdoms. Auranos led by King Corvin is the land of plenty. Their goddess Cleiona has blessed them with lush forests and plenty of food. Their neighbour, Paelsia, uses all their resources (in a trade deal gone sour) to grow wine grapes that Auranos pays pittance for. Chief Basilius, the Paelsian leader, is a recluse and rumoured to be a powerful sorcerer. The land to the north is that of Lumeros and is ruled with an iron fist by the King of Blood, Gaius. He is a strong believer that the Goddess Valoria (Goddess Cleiona’s sister and magical rival) will prevail as long as all his kingdom conform to his motto: Strength, Faith, Wisdom.

Where things get interesting aren’t with the kingdoms leaders – but rather their next generation. There’s Princess Cleiona, aka. Cleo, the beautiful blonde Auranian princess who is headstrong and acts with her heart rather than her head. Prince Magnus of Limeros who strives to be nothing like his cold, calculating father. And then there’s Magnus’ sister Lucia who may or may not actually be related to him. Finally there’s Jonas Agalleon. He’s a Paelsian peasant who witnesses his brother being brutally being slain by an Auranian nobleman and Princess Cleo over an argument regarding the sale of wine and swears to get his vengeance.

There’s a lot going on and this is just the first few chapters. Warning – don’t get too attached to any of the characters because Ms. Rhodes isn’t afraid to kill anyone off at any time. I loved the action and the uncertainty of whether my favourites would survive or be slain in a bloody battle.

Magic is everywhere within Mytica and the myths of the Goddesses who are believed in forms a big part of the story. Witches, magical healing seeds, one sorceress to rule them all and magical beings in the form of eagles appear right though the novel. Elementia and The Kindred are fascinating concepts and there’s a lot of scope of where things can go in the next novel of the series.

The relationships between the characters are probably what I enjoyed most about Falling Kingdoms. The siblings bonds are shown in so many different forms but they all boil down to one thing. Family who would do anything for the other one. I also liked the contrast between the Kings Corvin and Gaius who could not have a more different relationship with their children.

This is a rather long book but worthwhile reading. There’s a lot of groundwork being laid for what is to come – despite a lot of world building and setting up a lot happens and there is drama from the very first chapter.

I found Falling Kingdoms to be a great change of pace from the paranormal and contemporary YA books I’ve been reading. I recommend this book for fans of fantasy who are looking for a slightly more (although not too much – there’s still a lot of murder, deception and some slight perceived incest) teen version of A Game of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones)

Thanks to NetGalley for the digital review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository