Thank you Netgalley and Jill Myles for this ARC edition of Queen of Blood.
Thousands of years ago, the daughter of a ruthless king swore to devote her life to the Goddess against her father’s command. In the king’s rage, he took revenge on all the priests and priestesses in his kingdom, including his daughter, for being traitors. The Goddess became outraged and cursed the king and his lineage. He would never again conceive a daughter and all of his sons would be as cursed as him, unable to thrive underneath the sun and compelled by a powerful thirst for blood. The spell will only be broken if an Eterna is found, but people are beginning to believe they are a myth.
Queen of Blood is a novel dipped with Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Goose Girl references. Seri is a Vidari young woman scrambling to make ends meet as a goose girl. With her father frightfully ill and her sister blind, she is left to tend to their farm on her own. When possible her husband-to-be, Rilen, lends a hand, but he’s more caught up in the rebellion against the Athonite which has only grown in size as Prince Graeme of Athon recently moved into the nearby Vidari castle.
The best part of the novel is the world building which shows best in the very different cultural expectations of the Vidari and Athonite. The two countries are severely divided by their cultures. Rumors fly and create wicked stereotypes. For example, the Vidari are said to be wild savages. The women must be whores because their knees and necks are clearly visible. Some even say Prince Graeme is one of the Blood, a group of men that survive by sucking on blood, avoid the sun, and all around resemble a vampire, but you’ll never see mention of such in the novel.
Of course, Seri and Graeme fall in love, Their relationship isn’t exactly healthy, but their sex life sure is! They don’t talk about their issues, but instead rough it out over the bed. Romance is the number one aspect of the novel despite other plot elements screaming with potential. The rebellion and soon-to-arrive King of Athon (and evil dictator) are both heavily neglected. Pure romances are perfectly acceptable, but I expected a bit more since the rebellion was made out to be an important issue and ultimately wasn’t.
It’s a quick read. Without realizing what I was doing, I was done with the book in a day. There are no twists. Each moment that is supposed to be an unexpected development is very cliche and mimics earlier scenes. The novel also suffers from “saying the wrong thing at the wrong time repeatedly for plot development.” Again, there were some very interesting aspects to the story that could have made up for the weak plot devices, but unfortunately the author didn’t take advantage of her story’s strengths. The use of two points of view doesn’t exactly add to the story either, but there aren’t too many chapters where we see from Graeme’s side of things so his POV isn’t distracting. It would have been good if his chapters included information about his family and life before coming to the castle.
The ending is also very abrupt and not very satisfying. It left me wanting to know more about how the events smoothed out. I wanted reassurances for the future more detailed than the epilogue. What about their daughters? How does the world change by their union? And (view spoiler)
The idea of Queen of Blood is truly exciting. I couldn’t wait to pick up the novel. It has it’s fair share of issues, but was an enjoyable read. All things considered, I would recommend this for those that enjoyed The Selection, another novel that I truly wanted to like but couldn’t (even though I read every single novel and novella as quick as I humanly could). So if you liked the rebellion and royal romance of The Selection and want to add a dash of steamy sex scenes, pick upQueen of Blood.
Writing Style: 3/5
All Around Idea: 4/5
Final Score: 2/5