The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

The Queens of Innis Lear

The Queens of Innis Lear cover

First of all, let me thank Netgalley and Tor for the chance to read and review this book: The Queens of Innis Lear pre-release. As always, these thoughts are my own. This review is spoiler-free; no main plot points are revealed.

I give this story 4 stars.

Synopsis:

A kingdom at risk, a crown divided, a family drenched in blood.

The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes.

The king’s three daughters—battle-hungry Gaela, master manipulator Regan, and restrained, starblessed Elia—know the realm’s only chance of resurrection is to crown a new sovereign, proving a strong hand can resurrect magic and defend itself. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align and a poison ritual can be enacted.

Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war—but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided.

Full disclosure: I am not as familiar with the story of King Lear as I ought to be, nor have I read Three Dark Crowns (which some people believe this book to be too similar). I think probably if you liked Three Dark Crowns, you will also like this story. I also have neither read nor seen Game of Thrones (seriously, if I’m gonna read it, I’m gonna have access to the entire series, people. Not this waiting for years stuff).

BUT if you like Shakespeare + Game of Thrones + Three Dark Crowns,  you’ll probably like this too.

Prose Pros:

I liked this book, I really did. Let me just start with that: I did like it. I gave it four stars and I’d like to have it on my shelf and NOT just because it’s so pretty.

The world is dark and beautiful, the magic is fantastic (although perhaps a bit soft as far as rules go) and the characters are well-fleshed out, even if they are borrowed from the Bard. The writing is lyrical and there aren’t too many complaints I can make.

But…

. . . guys, it’s slow. It’s a long book at over 570 pages and it moves like a snail. There are a few too many point of view characters, and while they’re clearly delineated, I would have liked to see this story from just three or four characters viewpoints. In being pretty, it’s a bit superfluous.

 

Character Pros:

Elia is a good narrator. She’s sweet and loyal and diligent. She’s lost a lot as the story starts and more when it finishes. She feels like a real heroine.

However…

She doesn’t do a lot. She’s not really that proactive. She sits around, comforts lear, studies star charts, and out of nowhere decides to have a backbone and make a decision that ruins everything for her. It didn’t seem realistic to me.

And:

There’s not a conclusion. It doesn’t have a Denouement/ falling action. I’m not familiar enough with the original story to automatically know what’s coming next. So I feel like the Ending of this book may well just have been the middle of an epic story split in two. 580 pages as book one and more as book two, maybe? I’m assuming here that there will be a book two.

forest tree root

Conclusion:

While I liked this book and definitely recommend it, you might wait a few months until the second one is announced, or go read King Lear first.

Have you read The Queens of Innis Lear or are you familiar with King Lear? Drop a comment and let me know if this made it onto your TBR!

What do you think?