The Seventh Queen – BookPage
In final 12 months’s The Frozen Crown, Greta Kelly arrange Askia, the exiled Queen of Seravesh, as a assured chief struggling to outlive amid the schemes and machinations of the Vishir courtroom. However throughout what ought to have been her triumph, a political marriage to the Emperor of Vishir, she was kidnapped by Emperor Radovan of Roven. Through the assault, the emperor and his senior spouse, Ozura, have been murdered, however not earlier than Ozura pledged her soul to Askia’s service. For Askia is not only royalty: She can also be a demise witch, a uncommon magical expertise who can each commune with and command the useless. Radovan intends her to be his seventh queen, to seal her magic in an Aellium stone with their marriage ceremony vows after which to kill her and take her energy for his personal, as he has completed six occasions earlier than. However Askia has no intention of going quietly.
In Kelly’s follow-up, The Seventh Queen, Askia has morphed right into a ruthless manipulator, keen to make use of any trace of leverage to save lots of her personal life and to forestall her world from falling below the dominion of the power-hungry Radovan. Whereas this characterization is one thing of a leap from the prior e-book, it fits Askia’s nature as a doggedly competent survivor. Kelly’s incisive prose, together with a plot that continues to defy fantasy tropes by focusing nearly completely on courtroom intrigue reasonably than shows of magical or martial prowess, renders such narrative discontinuities forgivable.
One of many highlights of The Seventh Queen could also be Radovan himself. Within the prior e-book, he was a sinister but distant menace, simply dismissed because the inevitable emperor motivated solely by the bottomless quest for energy. Right here, Radovan is revealed as an odd kind of failure, a capricious dictator who started by genuinely making an attempt to proper the world’s wrongs. Kelly’s world is one dominated by magical elites, and Radovan is likely one of the solely characters who questions this established order.
Radovan is rather more compelling than when he was a distant evil, however the therapy of his character can also be indicative of the lack of the ethical complexity that made The Frozen Crown such an attention-grabbing tackle fantasy. The Seventh Queen dismisses Radovan’s actions as these of a easy madman whose insurance policies are solely twisted parodies of true reform, refusing to confess that there was any advantage in his preliminary campaign and uncomplicatedly championing its aristocratic, magically gifted protagonist. Whereas there may be loads of dramatic stress, essentially the most stunning a part of how Kelly concludes her duology is how carefully it hews to the requirements of excessive fantasy and abandons the thematic ambition of The Frozen Crown.
Whereas not really groundbreaking, The Seventh Queen has a compelling villain and an uncommon give attention to courtly maneuvering for a fantasy novel. It’s a wholly satisfying conclusion whose solely actual shortcoming is its incapacity to completely notice the ambition of Kelly’s debut.