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Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 04/2020
  • 9798630009722
  • 280 pages
  • $18.99
Karelynn Spacek
Author, Illustrator
Queen of Swords
Grow up to become a princess; isn't that every little girl's dream. Sure, unless that title involves tending to the sick and handling land disagreements. Then it's not as tempting.Ivyssa, Hedarian wild child and aspiring archer, has been chosen to become the next ruler of Azulyria, a prestigious role that she did not see as being in her future. Still, she makes the best of the hand dealt to her. While seeking immediate aid, she unintentionally interrupts a coming of age ritual, causing irreparable damage in her moment of distress. And a self appointed executioner has their sights on eliminating Ivysaa at all costs. In the pursuit of justice, chaos runs rampant, taking all of Azulyria with it.Decades later in present day New Mexico, Ex FBI profiler Alexandra Nealy is facing her own tragedy, one that has spurred her into dealing with ties to the past. In the search for answers, she uncovers a world of elemental powers and a book that can undo misdeeds of epic proportions. With the help of Jared, a Stone Walker whose goals align with hers, can they solve the puzzle before an unseen enemy gets in the way.
Reviews
Spacek’s debut fantasy displays tons of raw storytelling talent that could use a bit of refinement. Ivyssa is an impulsive, outspoken tomboy with an “abrasive personality” in a culture that prizes demure women. She’s shocked when a line of flames erupts on her face, marking her as the future Queen of Swords. Distressed and disoriented, Ivyssa stumbles into a boy’s magical initiation rite and he accidentally kills his mother. A witness to this event vows to get revenge as Ivyssa starts training to be the future ruler of Azulyria, but the would-be assassin’s plans have disastrous repercussions for the entire nation. Many years later in Santa Fe, Alexandra Nealy, an FBI profiler turned yoga instructor, finds an Azulyrian artefact that gives her Ivyssa’s powers—and that Ivyssa’s enemy is willing to kill for.

Awkward dialogue (“That doesn’t mean that I can readily forget all that has transpired like you seem to have done”), dramatic prose (Ivyssa describes her own eyes as “twin pools of lilac [that] glistened with innocent naivety”), and clichéd characters detract from the well-paced plot and imaginative worldbuilding. Both Ivyssa and Alexandra are classic examples of the “spitfire” heroine who’s not “a prissy little girl.” Alexandra’s love interest, Jared, comes across less as a tough alpha male and more as rude and violent. An unfortunate side plot kills off a same-sex couple.

Spacek displays a solid instinct for crafting a story that holds readers’ attention and captures their imaginations with a unique fantasy world. Though she tries to space out the introduction of Azulyrian lore, these paragraphs still slow the narrative. Plot inconsistencies and fumbles in the point of view cause confusion, but Spacek keeps the tension ratcheted up, and most major plot points land cleanly. Though readers never get fully immersed in the unfolding intrigue or form a firm sense of Azulyria, the familiarity of the modern-day Santa Fe setting is grounding. The captivating concept and setting hold great promise for Spacek’s future work.

Takeaway: This parallel world fantasy will appeal most to voracious readers of paranormal romance who like tough yet beautiful heroines and otherworldly magic.

Great for fans of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass, Patricia Briggs’s Cry Wolf.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: -
Editing: C
Marketing copy: B

Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 04/2020
  • 9798630009722
  • 280 pages
  • $18.99

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