M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Alack! Young Princess's Half-Brother Steals Her Throne

First:
Back at the Salt Mines?
Hope you all enjoyed the holidays --
which ever ones you celebrate.
Guess I'm showing my northern hemisphere bias in thinking
 the dark time of year is a good time to party.

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Dipped into the to-read pile a lot over the holidays. One of the most enjoyable reads was Alma's Alexander's The Hidden Queen. Think the book languished there for years because I looked at the jacket and went "eh". 

How many books have you read about a lost princess whose throne was usurped by an unworthy pretender?. Thought I read it all before, but I'm still trying to get rid of the piles of book laying around. So, I gave the book its try and was hooked.

The book quickly moves from the battlefield where the king, Red Dynan, is killed with nine-year-old Anghara, his legitimate heir who also possesses the magical Sight that sustains the kingdom, surviving back at the palace. But she has a grown half-brother, Sif, who takes control of the army and sets his sights on becoming king even though he doesn't possess the Sight. Anghara is spirited from the palace by loyal retainers and fostered by obscure members of her mother's family. Several years later, she is betrayed by a jealous relative after she unwittingly displays her growing powers. The result is a pogrom where Sif uses genocide to rid his country of any magical influences. Anghara escapes over the border into a hostile desert land where she homes her powers.

The plot line's a cliche. So why was I hooked?

First Plus. The book is more than another medieval Europe rehash with an overlay of magic. A good part of the book takes place in a desert culture well-flavored by Silk Road nuances where the main character's magic is tempered. At all stages of her journey back to her throne, Anghara is supported by nicely rounded characters. 

Second Plus. The book's told from several points of view which adds layers of complications to the plot as Anghara struggles to survive long enough to control her magical powers.

Third Plus. The sensory detail of Alexander's writing is lush to say the least and all her characters well motivated.

The big negative. The Hidden Queen ends with her decision to return to reclaim her country. There is a sequel but it is not readily available. Still, I recommend it if you run across The Hidden Queen in a used book store. It was published in 2009. It's a well-orchestrated read.
 
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 Didn't really write much over the holidays.
Just reread a bunch of books
 because I enjoyed them the first or fourth time around.
Nothing like lazing around and talking to visiting relatives.

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