Author: Rebecca McLaughlin
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Released: January 7th, 2019
I received a copy of Nameless Queen through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Nameless Queen is the debut novel of Rebecca McLaughlin, and it has been getting a lot of attention in the last few months. It’s been favorably compared to novels like Red Queen, Everless, and Furyborn. Having read the novel, I can certainly understand why those comparisons were made.
Nameless Queen is set in a world where magic exists, but only serves to strengthen the differences between classes. There are the Royals, the Legals, and the Nameless. That’s where Coin comes into play – that’s the name she chose for herself, since she was never given any other.
The Nameless are the lowest class in the city, and are treated worse than dirt. The only good thing they have going for them is that magic doesn’t seem to affect them. A small grace, given the odds of being killed by lack of food, hygiene, or being in the good graces of a guard.
But all of that is set to change on the morning of the King’s death. For Coin herself has inherited that magical and coveted crown tattoo. The one that marks her as the new queen of the city.
“Wearing Legal clothes is enough to get me thrown into prison, or if the patrolling Royal guards are in a bad mood, I’ll get a quick trip to the gallows.”
Nameless Queen was an interesting and emotionally compelling read. This was a tale that wove politics with magic, and it was such an interesting combination. I would gladly read more about this world, given half the chance.
It’s impossible to read this book and not feel sympathy for Coin and her Nameless friends. McLaughlin did an excellent job of portraying all of the hardships that come along with living in squalor and being treated so poorly. Seeing the magical flair was a nice touch, of course.
This was a fast-paced read, one that had us rushing alongside Coin as she struggled with politics, betrayals, and magical battles. To say that there was a lot going on here would be the understatement of the year.
My one regret is that we didn’t get more time to know more about the characters on a personal level. We saw a lot of Coin and what made her tick, but I still felt like there was this barrier to getting to know her. I think that had to do with how frequently she was focused on other dilemmas, but I’m not certain. Likewise, I would have loved to see a stronger connection made with the secondary characters as well.
I did really enjoy this world, and was enthralled by the magical system that McLaughlin created. I’m not sure if her next book will be a standalone, or if it will be a sequel. But if it is a sequel, I look forward to seeing more of this world – and the politics within it.