Title: Four Dead Queens
Author: Astrid Scholte
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery
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.
“As the chips dissolved on my tongue, the embedded video links traveled to my brain….I was no longer in Mackiel’s office. I was in the palace. And I was covered in blood.”
*I received an uncorrected copy of Four Dead Queens. All quotes in this review are based on the uncorrected proof and may not be in the final book.*
Four Dead Queens has easily become one of my all-time favorite debut novels. I was not expecting to be completely immersed into this story from the first line, nor was I anticipating to have this captivating story stuck in my head weeks after I read the last line. Astrid Scholte’s book is truly a masterpiece.
I first heard about this book from a friend that went to BookCon in June. All I remember hearing was the title and I was immediately hooked (how can you not be hooked by that title?). I fell in love with the cover and the synopsis, so of course, I had to find a way to get my greedy hands on a copy, and I am very thankful I was able to get a copy. Once Four Dead Queens was announced at BookCon, people could not stop talking about the book. The hype from the book community was incredible, so I knew this book would be something special. And it is. Four Dead Queens is worth all the hype and more.
In Astrid Scholte’s author bio, she mentions how she’s a visual writer and works to capture the stories in her head that play like movies. Four Dead Queens had to be one of those vivid stories. The book played out like a movie in my head and it flowed so well on paper. Most books I can visualize in my head, but not all books have the ability to make me feel like I’m front and center in a movie. This book felt like a movie; it felt like I was watching the scenes play out right in front of me. Each chapter was a scene that produced some type of emotion from me; there were times where I thought about my love for Lord of the Rings while reading this book. And that’s because Lord of the Rings made me feel every emotion, just like this book.
Astrid Scholte’s world building helps to bring this book alive. The world building is phenomenal, especially for this being a standalone. The book takes place in a land called Quadara. From there, Quadara is separated into four distinct quadrants. Each Queen is from one of those quadrants. Four Dead Queens has world building that is not overwhelming or filled with descriptive information, but rather it touches on the surface of the world, which to me, is perfect for this standalone. The reader is aware of the world and the difference between the quadrants, and that’s really all they need to know. If this were a fantasy trilogy, then the world building would be slightly different, but the world building for this book is just right. There was never too much information nor too little. There was always a clear picture of this world and the characters in my head.
“I was used to putting myself above everyone else. Stealing what I wanted, doing what came naturally. Looking for quick and easy wealth. Thinking that my wants and desires were more important than everyone else’s. But now I had the opportunity to be someone different. Someone worth my parents’ love. The girl they’d raised me to be.”
I thoroughly enjoyed all the points of views, which consisted of Keralie and the Queens. They were all so uniquely different from one another, so it made it quite easy to determine which point of view I was reading from (yes, the name at the top of each chapter helped, but trust me when I say you would have been able to determine each character from their distinct voice). Just like in movies, you rarely follow one person’s story, but many, and they all connect by the end of the movie. Four Dead Queens is exactly like that, which is, in my opinion, not an easy feat. But Astrid Scholte did it wonderfully and so intricately well.
I took every available chance to devour this book. I wish I could have in one sitting, but my days are, unfortunately, always busy. But this book produced so many facial expressions from me, from surprise, to laughter, to sadness. I feel as if there was not an emotion I did not feel while reading Four Dead Queens.
I have easily become one of Astrid Scholte’s fans, and I cannot wait to read her next work. She is incredibly talented and knows how to capture the reader’s attention.
Four Dead Queens comes out February 26, 2019. If you are a fantasy genre lover, then I highly recommend not missing out on this fantastic read! And if you are not, I still recommend this beauty, as the fantasy is not the main part of this book!
My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars