I had seen this book all over Instagram and so when my colleague, Marg, handed me our new copy to read I didn’t think twice; I took it home and started it over the holidays. However, when the first queen died I got such a shock. I then thought to myself “hang on a minute, what is this book called?” And well, yeah, it’s fully explained in the title. Anyway, I ended up enjoying this book.
Four queens sit atop the four thrones of Quadara. They each represent and rule over one of the four quarters of their nation; together they keep the peace and uphold the traditions of Queenly Law. Never again will their nation be troubled with conflict from within, nor from the greed of men. Their traditions are sacred, their responsibilities great, however, there is one that seeks to usurp each queen and change Queenly Law forever.
Keralie is a thief, and a damn good one at that. Mackiel, her boss and childhood friend, has trained her well, however, Keralie has begun to notice something off about Mackiel and it frightens her. There has been an increase in darkness around him and his business, but she is reluctant to do anything because he is still her friend. When her latest mark turns into something much more sinister and dangerous than Keralie signed up for, she is dragged further into the world of assassins and thieves.
Together with an unlikely ally, Keralie must race against the clock to save the queens whilst trying to solve the mystery of the assassin and uncover Mackiel’s involvement. The queens’ lives are at stake and only Keralie and her new ally can save them.
When I was given this book to read I obviously didn’t pay too much attention to the title and the blurb. So, when I started reading it and the first queen died I got quite a shock. I think it was because the way this book is written is very clever. The book is broken into four parts. For the first two parts there are two storylines being told simultaneously. The first storyline is that of the four queens during the period of their assassinations. Furthermore, this storyline is told from all four perspectives of the queens. The second storyline is that of Keralie telling the story of how she stole from her mark and the trouble that act caused. Although this may sound confusing, when reading it makes perfect sense. I think this is why I got such a shock when the first queen was killed, because they were alive at the beginning of the story. I had assumed that the four queens were already dead – see, just goes to show how much attention I’d paid to the blurb!
The third part of the story is told from Keralie’s perspective and is the storyline of how Keralie and her ally tried to warn and save the queens. This is where the mystery aspect of the book really ramps up and shows just how clever Scholte’s writing is. There are a number of red herrings and twists during this part that I did not predict and it kept me turning pages. The book really hits it’s stride here.
The fourth and final part explores the motives behind those that set out to kill the queens in the first place. We learn the truths behind the assassinations and the fate of Quadara. It’s clever, unpredictable, and very neat. I really respect Scholte’s ability to tie off all loose ends and still keep it unpredictable.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved the way the Scholte chose to weave all the storylines together and yet still keep the reader on track. The world building is done simultaneously and in such a way that the details are exquisite but do not take up a lot of reading time. I highly recommend this to year 9 students in particular!