My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Author: Astrid Scholte
Categories: Young Adult, Politics, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance
Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but she’s, in fact, one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. He runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie both find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.
With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.
This was a fast read for me because it was a mystery and I was pretty invested in wanting to find out who was killing these queens. But the ending fell flat for me.
What did I like? I enjoyed this sci-fi/fantasy world with four queens ruling their own quadrant. Each quadrant is different: Archia’s main economy is agriculture, Eonia excels in technology, Ludia celebrates the arts, and Toria is about curiosity and exploration. These quadrants help their kingdom survive and it seems pretty fair, as long as all the queens aren’t conniving.
The story is told between six perspectives but in essence told mostly through five of them for most of the story: Keralie and the four queens. Keralie is a Torian who is an expert thief but she steals something that leads to surprising consequences. Keralie as a thief, comes off as untrustworthy, naturally, but not sinister. Paired with Varin, the Eonist she stole from, they make an interesting pair. Eonist are taught, scarily so, to be void of emotions. But I did find the technology of Eonia fascinating, I just wouldn’t want to be born and raised there. Yikes.
The mystery of who is the killer of these queens kept me in this book all the way through. The writing flows nicely and I really enjoyed the queens. Their characters are strong and different but with any mystery, each of them carries a secret. They carry the story until three-fourths of the way when Arebella is introduced.
This is where the story kind of lost me and I understood what was happening and it makes sense, that part is all fine. But I wanted the twists and turns of the ending to pack a bigger punch than it did. It fell flat for me. Other than that it was a quick read, a murder mystery with a little bit of romance combined in a unique setting and it is promising for a debut novel.