Book Review, Books

A never ending story

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The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

The queen is dead, and the king is going mad. The Island of Innis Lear is under a lot of threats, from nature, from potential conquerors, from star prophecies, from history catching up and from its own kings actions. It’s time for one of the kings three daughters to take over the ruling before everything is too late, but who is best suited, and who is the rightful heir? The warrior Gaela, the political strategist Regan and the obedient star priest Elia all got their own ideas about how to rule the country, and whom it may be ruled by. But long-buried secrets, potential romances and the ever interfering whispers of the trees also influences the chain of events. And at the end of the day, only one daughter can be named The King of Innis Lear.

Rating: 🐖🐖

This is an epic fantasy story. It’s a woman’s gaze kinda retelling of good old Shakespeare’s King Lear, and it’s somewhat similar to A Game of Thrones. With one big exception. For almost 500 pages, absolutely nothing happens.

When picking up this book, I knew I was in for a long and tricky ride, due to 1) English not being my first language 2) Epic fantasy story and 3) That story being told in a Shakespearian style. Nay did it take long, before my worst concerns were fulfilled. ‘Cause even if I knew that this book was going to take some time to finish, I was hoping to be caught up in the plot and hence inspired to read on. After all, The Queens of Innis Lear has been said to be a womanly retelling of King Lear, and since I’m always tired of portraits of historical dudes, a change in perspectives is something I warmly welcome.

However, after reading about 200 pages, it became painfully clear to me that not much was going to happen. This book may be a fantasy story, but it’s not much of a fantasy adventure. Even close to the end (with some killings and drama finally going down), I had the feeling that the story never quite kicked off.

If you love dimmed political conspiracies, lengthy background stories and endless depictions of castles, this may be the book for you. It certainly wasn’t for me, though. I gave it two pigs since it wasn’t horribly written, but the reading experience was a single, exhausted, little piglet. 

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Dr. Bea approves of retellings from women’s perspectives, if not of this particular book.

If you’re looking for a lengthy fantasy adventure, told from the women’s point of view, I would recommend you to read the classic Avalon-series, that’s a retelling of the King Arthur-legend, by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

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