Author: Astrid Scholte
Release: February 26th 2019
Warnings: Somewhat graphic detailing of murders
I received a copy of Four Dead Queens through BookishFirst in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Four Dead Queens is Astrid Scholte’s debut novel; though she’s not new to the world of writing. Before she decided to dive headfirst into books (which I can already tell you was a brilliant decision) she was a writer for film and television.
What first caught my attention to Four Dead Queens had to be the cover. I love the bright turquoise over the dark background, with the silver font. Having all the crowns be in different styles was a nice touch as well. Though I’ll confess that for the briefest moment I thought this was another book by Kendra Blake thanks to all of the crowns on the cover. That misunderstanding didn’t last long though, I can promise you that.
The novel is based on a nation divided into four. Thus the need for four queens. Each queen rules her district, and there’s very little crossing that happens between each one. The districts are; Toria (the intellectual quarter), Ludia (the emotional quarter), Archia (the agricultural quarter), and finally Eonia (the futurist quarter – not to be mistaken for Toria). Naturally the nation is named Quadara – nothing else really would have made sense, now would it? The queens all rule from the same throne rule, also split into four, but they don’t make joint decisions. At least not about the individual districts.
Warnings first: There are some scenes, both ones that actually occurred and those pictured or described that are fairly graphic. They all pertain to the plotting and murdering of the four queens. For the record, you can usually tell when one of these scenes is about to happen, so if it is disturbing to you it could be easily skipped.
I’ll confess that I was somewhat hesitant to read a book titled ‘Four Dead Queens.’ While I’ll admit that I could tell, from the title alone, that it could have a lot of potential for intrigue and fascination…I was worried that it’d be a heavy tale. I’m sure that’s understandable, since the title sort of implies that four queens will be dying imminently. But then I went and read the except over at BookishFirst, and I was immediately enthralled. I just knew I had to read all of it, and sooner rather than later.
My favorite part about Four Dead Queens is that I walked into it with an assumption being made; that four queens were dead or going to die, only to have that thrown into question. For a while nothing was clear, not even the accuracy of the title. And I really liked that. Scholte managed to throw some surprises at us with what seemed like the only part of the plot set in stone. That I couldn’t predict how the rest of it would go from there was wonderful. It was all masterfully done.
I was pleasantly surprised by the choices made for perspectives in this book. While I would have assumed that the queens would be shown in their own perspectives (and I was right on that count) I wouldn’t have expected Keralie at all. She’s seemingly uninvolved in any of it, but somehow ends up in the center of the mess before the end.
I really enjoyed Keralie’s character in particular, though there were one or two queens that I was fond of as well. Keralie absolutely had the most character growth during the course of the novel. She took some blows, both emotionally and physically, and she came out stronger for it in the end. I love it.
I can’t wait to see what Scholte does for her next book. Hopefully we’ll get some hints soon! I don’t think it’ll be a sequel to Four Dead Queens, but then again I could be wrong. Regardless I’m looking forward to hearing more about whatever book it’ll end up being.