A divided nation. Four Queens. A ruthless pickpocket. A noble messenger. And the murders that unite them.
Get in quick, get out quicker.
These are the words Keralie Corrington lives by as the preeminent dipper in the Concord, the central area uniting the four quadrants of Quadara. She steals under the guidance of her mentor Mackiel, who runs a black market selling their bounty to buyers desperate for what they can’t get in their own quarter. For in the nation of Quadara, each quarter is strictly divided from the other. Four queens rule together, one from each region:
Toria: the intellectual quarter that values education and ambition
Ludia: the pleasure quarter that values celebration, passion, and entertainment
Archia: the agricultural quarter that values simplicity and nature
Eonia: the futurist quarter that values technology, stoicism and harmonious community
When Keralie intercepts a comm disk coming from the House of Concord, what seems like a standard job goes horribly wrong. Upon watching the comm disks, Keralie sees all four queens murdered in four brutal ways. Hoping that discovering the intended recipient will reveal the culprit – information that is bound to be valuable bartering material with the palace – Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the Eonist messenger she stole from, to complete Varin’s original job and see where it takes them.
I received an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Alright, let me tell you a little something about this book: I almost died to get a copy of it. I know what you’re thinking – I’m prone to dramatics and surely I didn’t almost die. I did though. I’ll paint a word picture for you: there I was, minding my own business at Book Con, when suddenly, a wild mob surrounded me where I was calmly standing near the Penguin booth. Before I know what’s happening, I’m being pushed, security is coming in to break up the mob, and I swear I saw my life flash before my eyes. You know what though? It. Was. Worth. It.
In the last few years, there have been a ton of hyped debut authors. Though I liked some of them, I’ve felt that quite a few fell short of the hype. I am so so happy to share that 4 Dead Queens did not fall short, not even a tiny bit. This book is worth ALL of the hype. All of it. (I tried to fit the word hype into this paragraph one more time, but couldn’t find a way to work it in seamlessly…or did I?)
4 Dead Queens was not at all what I was expecting. First of all, I was expecting for the queens to already be dead by the start of the book, or within the first chapter. However, they actually play a large role in the plot, acting as narrators throughout the book. I loved getting to see them and learning about their country through their eyes – it really helped with the world building.
Speaking of, I was seriously impressed with how well Quadara was built in just one book. Typically fantasy novels are trilogies or duologies, giving the author the necessary time to world build. By utilizing the queens POV’s as well as Keralie’s, Scholte was able to paint a well rounded picture of the world without the book dragging at all. That being said, I would like to see more of both these characters and Quadara itself. It honestly was a bit reminiscent of The Hunger Games in that each quadrant of the land was responsible for producing a service or commodity. There were even parts of Quadara that reminded me of Ketterdam – a favorite city of mine. Overall, I want more.
Keralie was a really unique narrator in my opinion. She was selfish and brash, outspoken and all of the things I would generally be annoyed by. However, she was also charming, and over the course of the book I adored the way her character matured and developed. Her budding romance with Varin was sweet and adorable, but added to the plot instead of taking it over.
My Takeaway: Astrid Scholte, if you’re reading this, I just want to say that I hope you have your next novel written already. Because I need it right now, please and thank you. For a debut, this was honestly incredible and I can’t wait to see what Scholte gives us next. 4 Dead Queens comes out in February of 2019, so mark your calendars!