I resubscribed to Owlcrate when I discovered their March theme was “murder & mayhem” and I’m so glad I did! The book, Four Dead Queens, drew me in and captured so many things I love: royalty and murder. No, that’s not a threat. But I did love this book, even if I don’t normally love fantasy. Can’t wait for Astrid Scholte’s next book!
Four Dead Queens is set in the fantasy land of Quadra, which is ruled by four queens who rule their respective quadrants and live by the Queenly Laws, which dictate their lives in order to keep peace. Keralie is a thief in one of the quadrants who gets involved in palace politics when she’s ordered to steal a comms case by her boss and accidentally sees the memories stored on the chips. And they’re not good. In fact, they are deadly. On those comms chips are the death of the four queens of Quadra. Their murders in fact. Keralie teams up with the messenger, Varin, to race to the palace to tell them what they know. But when they arrive they realize memories may not be what they seem. The palace is a deadly place to be, and Quadra’s very order is in danger of collapsing.
I love this book because while it has a fantasy element, it’s really a murder mystery. There are also sci-fi elements, especially related to genetic modification and health cures. But I love the queens! Yes, per the title, they die, but you get to know their lives, their secrets, their hopes and dreams, and how their deaths might change the course of history. Also, Keralie is kind of a badass character. Likeable even as you realize her flaws, if that makes sense. While I definitely didn’t see the ending coming, I wasn’t super surprised, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I knew there had to be a twist!
I’m not a big fantasy person, so I was drawn to this because it was promised as a stand-alone and also, ROYALTY and MURDER. The Owlcrate Box set around it was great. I’m not a huge bookstagram unboxer, but here’s a great look at what was inside. If you didn’t get it, you should definitely check it out.