The Cursed Queen – Sarah Fine

  The Cursed Queen – Sarah Fine, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781481441933, 2017

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

Genre:  Fantasy

What did you like about the book? Ansa is strong, she’s willful, she likes to add to the kill-marks on her arms, and she’s in love with the daughter of the chieftain of the tribe of Krigere raiders who kidnapped her when she was a child.  While this is a companion novel to a “book 1” in this trilogy called “The Impostor Queen”; this novel mostly stands alone (though clearly does reference events/characters from the previous book which could be more powerful if you’ve read the first book).  Ansa gains the power of fire and ice but her tribe of warrior raiders, the Krigere, consider magic evil so she tries to hide it.  There’s some romance between her and Thyra (the now-dead chief’s daughter) and there’s also a bit of romance between Ansa and a now-rival tribe’s boy: Jasper (another chief’s son; lots of that going around).  The main story though is Ansa trying to come to terms with her powers and discovering who she is and wants to be: which holds more sway; the family she has long forgotten and was torn from as a child, or the “family” to which she has bound herself in fire and blood and the love she has for fellow-warrior Thyra.

Anything you didn’t like about it? Mostly the first 2/3rds of so of this feels like a prologue. It takes a LOT of slow build-up and repetition which could have easily been edited out before the story really picks up and many of the side-characters (and even main characters) are incredibly flat, not well drawn out.

To whom would you recommend this book? Readers who enjoy strong female fantasy leads; particularly looking for really well done LGBTQ representation in main characters where it’s just part of the story and not “the thing to overcome” or something.

Who should buy this book? Public Libraries with large YA fantasy readership

Where would you shelve it? YA Fantasy

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: April Duclos, Hudson Public Library, Hudson MA

Date of review: 3/6/17

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