Four queens rule together, one from each region:
Toria: the intellectual quarter that values education and ambition
Ludia: the pleasure quarter that values celebration, passion, and entertainment
Archia: the agricultural quarter that values simplicity and nature
Eonia: the futurist quarter that values technology, stoicism and harmonious community
When Keralie intercepts a comm disk coming from the House of Concord, what seems like a standard job goes horribly wrong. Upon watching the comm disks, Keralie sees all four queens murdered in four brutal ways. Hoping that discovering the intended recipient will reveal the culprit – information that is bound to be valuable bartering material with the palace – Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the Eonist messenger she stole from, to complete Varin’s original job and see where it takes them.
Synopsis from Goodreads
This book first caught my attention because I read the Three Dark Crowns series and I wondered if this would be another queen-challenge-type novel. After reading the synopsis, I was even more intrigued because I really wanted to know how the queens died! In this fantasy detective novel, we travel through this story with many narrators hoping to figure out what happened to these queens.
Interesting Story Telling Technique
This was a really cool book to read because the story telling is very different then other fantasy books I’ve read. I hope I’m not spoiling it for people when I say that this book isn’t told in a linear fashion. I won’t mention any details beyond that, but it definitely made for a different reading experience. Beyond that, it was great to get a chance to read chapters from the POVs of the four queens themselves. It was a good call on Scholte’s part, because it definitely allowed us to build a connection to each of the queens for the brief periods that we know them. Personally, I was the most upset when Queen Stassa died; she just had so much to live for and I was really hopeful that she might somehow escape death.
Want More Details on This World
The four quarters of Quadara sounded so cool and I would have loved to find out more about them! We are given the most basic view of them, with the most insight into Toria (which I found pretty boring). Eonia and Ludia both sound so cool (technology and pleasure) and I was disappointed that we never really learned more about them. Eonia especially, with its futuristic setting and emphasis on technology, would've been really cool to spend more of the novel there. Varin seemed to have a lot of tech, and his apartment was really cool, but we never really got any more detail on this world.
Not Enough Information on Varin
While it was great to get POVs from all the women in the book, I was disappointed that we never really learned much about Varin. Although him and Keralie travel together throughout the book, he was pretty forgettable, which was disappointing. I would have loved to get his POV because it would’ve expanded the reader’s knowledge of who he is, and his own hopes and dreams, instead of having everything from Kera’s perspective. Varin seemed like an interesting character, but he ultimately ended up being fairly forgettable (which is especially depressing when he’s supposed to be the love interest).
I thought this was a quick read, but it didn't keep my attention as much as I had hoped. While the mystery of the murders was interesting to figure out, I never really felt like I connected to Kera or Varin. That said, I'd still recommend this to anyone who like fantasy or mystery novels, because the storytelling is very cool.
FINAL RATING: 3.5/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
Follow Me on Instagram