I've got three books left for my "goal reads" for December. And I finally worked my way through A Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kozloff due out January 21st by Tor! This book was a complicated read for me. While I didn't love the book in its entirety I think the author is super creative and creates a world with a boat load of potential. I'm going to break it down for you in kinda a sandwich fashion because I did enjoy some of the aspects in this book and I do believe they were showcased quite properly but there are definitely some that I think could have been polished a little more or adapted so! Here we go!
Kozloff presents an insanely unique magic system in which families carry "talents" such as the ability of anticipation or in Cressa and Cerurlia's case a random power since they are royalty. You are also able to designate a person's talent/family by their hair. This is intriguing because the book is based around the Weir queen's talent balancing out the Magi of Oromondo to keep the realms in balance. Kozloff also creates a vast world in which just in the first book we see almost every aspect and corner of between all the character chapters.
In some ways both the massive world and its magic system became overwhelming as each realm (I believe their are Nine total as this is The Nine Realms series... HA). Anyway... there were moments where I was super confused as to which part of the world (especially while Cressa is at sea) the events were transpiring as well as who believes in the Magi and who believes in the Goddess/Gods. I think either tapering down on one or the other really really could have helped a bit. Mind you after a while you kinda fall into default mode.
I love a good woman power story. Weirendale only has Queens. Which I love the concept of. Not only that but from the descriptions given... these are some pretty badass ladies.
Cressa is consistently talked down upon because she isn't "as great" as her mother... she spends more time with her daughter and is then referred to as weak minded because of it... While I think that this is obviously intentional to give the plot some fluff and show who is against and for Cressa I think it was a truly strange way to try and show her weakness....
Having multiple perspectives gives the story some meat and can cause a world of difference in the way characters develop and change through the story.
None of the additional characters who were utilized were tied closely enough to the main characters so 50 percent of the time I felt like I was just obtaining information versus making any headway in the story. While some of characters did provide something that tied in and was something the reader should know... It felt strange receiving the info from a character that would get a chapter every once in a while versus every other. Maybe these characters have a bigger role come book two? Not only that but I feel like I got very little in the way of getting to know any of the characters. Princess Cerulia still feels like a mystery and the series is about her!
This book covers an insane amount of time as well as a ludicrous amount of events! It was insane just how much happened in this book. While its just shy of 500 pages it is jammed packed to the brim with a lot of happenings. Betrayals, battles, all the things.
With needing to cover so much as such a quick pace.... This books timeline worked in a wonky way. Especially while covering so many characters. The book tried to rectify the issue by splitting everything up into sections based on Matwyck's rule.... Help. Ha. One minute were trucking along the next were two years in the future and then we have a chapter with a different character... Yikes. After a while in each section you can start to build a timeline. But oof.
Kozloff reignites my fury passion and readiness for this series towards the very end of this book.
The story reads like a roller coaster unfortunately but... The ending of this first book really sets us up for the next in an intense and cliff-hangingish way.
So overall.... I think this book needed to build an entire world... quickly as the next three books come out in February, March and then April. So obviously this series will cover a lot at a rapid rate. So I think this book was used to set up the series. I gave it two and a half stars because I feel like it was lacking in a lot of ways.I am however, very interested to see where it goes next. I think a lot of these issues will work themselves out as we begin to center a little more on Ceruila versus building the story around them all. The foundation is set now for some intense future happenings! And I am ready for the next installment entitled The Queen of Raiders!
These pages take me places and I'm off to binge read The Wicked King!
All my love!