Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #4
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on 4th October 2022
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The queen has been cursed, and no one knows who’s behind the plot to threaten the realm’s fragile peace. Desperate to help, Jocasta hatches a plan to find Circe’s Garden, a fabled island where she hopes to discover an antidote.
But she can’t do it alone. She needs the strong arm and unflinching bravery of the warrior she’s loved since childhood—her brother’s right-hand-man and captain of the guard, Flynn of Sinta.
Together they can do the impossible. Yet with treachery brewing on Mount Olympus, one thing is clear: Thalyria and its new royals are still pawns in an epic game of power—one that might end in a War of Gods.
A happily-ever-after isn’t guaranteed for Cat/Griffin, which is how ‘A Curse of Queens’ begins–even if you do know it’s just temporary. But take a few steps in and you’ll enter into Amanda Bouchet’s world: one that’s a very, very slanted reframing and recollection of Greek mythology–purists, look away right now–cut and pasted piecemeal into a fraught land that is of her own imagination, where the pantheon of gods still behave as badly as the humans who populate the lands they apparently created.
But as much the last few books didn’t exactly sit too well with me, ‘A Curse of Queens’ is a relatively self-contained story within the larger universe built of the series: a new couple who should have been together from the start but weren’t, a quest archetype to save a newly-remade land, and a hastily-assembled team of varying gifts taking on insurmountable odds in order to save their queen.
Jocasta’s and Flynn’s relationship, written with so much heart, longing and angst (and short-lived unrequited feelings of a brother’s-best-friend kind of trope) helped anchor these elements and the result is a potent mix of high fantasy, adventure, unexpected humour and a portal into an alternate universe that sucks you right in. That both Jo/Flynn were neither magical nor immensely gifted by the gods, relying on their human strength, wits and cunning to get through the obstacles set before them, made them even memorable.
‘A Curse of Queens’ can be a standalone; Bouchet’s map of her world and a very, very generic idea of Greek mythology will get you through it, though not without much difficulty in following the story from where the last book left off. The story grew on me as I went on and to immediately want more after the somewhat rushed conclusion probably meant that this has to rank as one of my unexpected finds of the year.