The Lost Queen by Signe Pike
Her deep connection to Maelgwn is forged by enchantment, but she is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of a Christian king. As Languoreth is catapulted into a world of violence and political intrigue, she must learn to adapt. Together with her brother—a warrior and druid known to history as Myrddin—Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way and the survival of her kingdom, or risk the loss of them both forever.
Based on new scholarship, this tale of bravery and conflicted love brings a lost queen back to life—rescuing her from obscurity, and reaffirming her place at the center of one of the most enduring legends of all time.
Synopsis from Amazon
The legend of King Arthur has always been an interesting one, but I don't know a lot about it. I actually found out when I was in England that King Arthur and Camelot are taught as part of grade 7 history! I'm honestly so jealous of those kids and teachers! But other then Disney's Sword in the Stone and some other very old novels called The Seeing Stone (very different retelling though), so I was really excited to get The Lost Queen ARC and read about Merlin, Uther, and so many other characters that existed before Arthur came to be. This was a very detailed book and really brings readers into the sixth century.
A Forgotten Queen
I don't know much about sixth century England (or the sixth century anywhere in the world) so I loved that Pike decided to tell her story from the point of view of Langoureth, a woman from a powerful family with ties to so many parts of Arthurian history, instead of Merlin's (Lailoken) or Uther's. While I'm a bit disappointed that the title already hints that Langoureth will become a queen, while the book itself does not get to that point of her story (seems like an awkward spoiler), Pike does a wonderful job telling Langoureth's story as she grows from childhood to adulthood and all of the difficult decisions that comes with it. There are so many difficult realities to her life - forced to marry, not allowed to marry the man she chooses, and becoming a chess piece between her families - that felt incredibly true of all women in this time period. I'm really excited to read what happens next to Langoureth and her family. It's clear that she will be the queen, but who will be her king?
Maelgwn is the epic hero of legend and I continue to hope that he and Langoureth do eventually find their way to each other. There are so many beautiful moments between them in this book; the most heartbreaking one is when they run into each other in the barn and Maelgwn brushes off why he was at her home. I don't want to give spoilers, but this moment was so emotional for both Langoureth and me as a reader. While Rhyderreh is a genuinely nice man who ends up loving her, and I like that they develop a mutual respect for each other, it's actually hard to read about Langoureth's marriage to him, because it's clear that no matter how much time they spend together, her heart will always be with Maelgwn. I'm not sure how this love story will end up -- will Rhyderreh become the next King, making her the Queen? Or is there are story that needs to be told here? -- but as much as I like Rhyderreh, I would love for Langoureth and Maelgwn to finally be together!
Read the Author's Note!
This is a novel where I would highly recommend that every reads the Author's Note at the end. Personally, I love reading what an author has to say about their inspiration or sourcing of their novel, particularly when the novel is a work of historical fiction. In this case, Pike goes into detail regarding different historical details that she has decided to investigate further when delving into Langoureth's story. Her research into the Arthurian legend, how Merlin got the name "Merlin" and why Langoureth's story has been forgotten was incredibly interesting to me and I used it as a sprindboard to do further research myself. This was an incredibly interesting time in history that there is very little concrete information on (hence the name "The Dark Ages") and I thought that Pike did a brilliant job choosing which story she wanted to investigate further. Langoureth is a compelling narrator and woman and I wish I could read the rest of her story now!
I didn't know what I would be walking into in this book, but I loved it! Pike does a beautiful job telling Langoureth's story and I've fallen in the love with these characters and the world that she has written about. I'm so grateful to have received this ARC, but now I have the sad wait for the next book to come out (I don't even know if it has a publication year yet!). The Lost Queen is a beautiful introduction to the pre-Arthurian world and I cannot wait to find out where this story goes next. If you pick up this book, let me know what you think! I'd love to discuss it further.
FINAL RATING: 4.5/5
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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.
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2020 Reading Challenge
Alexandra has read 20 books toward her goal of 85 books.
2019 Reading Challenge
Alexandra has read 5 books toward her goal of 90 books.
2018 Reading Challenge
Alexandra has completed her goal of reading 80 books in 2018!
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