My review below might contain very *minor* spoilers, you’ve been warned!
Title: The Queens of Innis Lear
Author: Tessa Gratton
Genre: High Fantasy/Retelling
Rating: 5 Jeweled Stars
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Synopsis: The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes.
The king’s three daughters—battle-hungry Gaela, master manipulator Reagan, and restrained, starblessed Elia—know the realm’s only chance of resurrection is to crown a new sovereign, proving a strong hand can resurrect magic and defend itself. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align and a poison ritual can be enacted.
Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war—but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided.
Review: Given my star rating above, I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise that I LOVED THIS BOOK! So, when I first heard about The Queens of Innis Lear it was pitched as Shakespeare’s King Lear told Game of Thrones style and hey, I’m all here for that! But I had never actually read King Lear, so like a good little bibliophile I went to google and found a Spark Notes summary (because who has time for MORE books on their TBR??). Having read this and with the reference to Game of Thrones I knew this might be a rough read if I got attached to any characters. And I was not wrong.
But holy cow guys! This book is amazing! The reference to Game of Thrones is in the way the story is told through different points of view at various kingdoms within the world. And the world is so well built up. The island where most of the story takes place even becomes a character itself which happened to be my favorite part of the entire story.
Another fantastic part of this book is the diversity of the characters, racially and in sexual preference and gender presentation. And to add to this, the sexual preferences and gender presentations aren’t explicitly drawn out, but so ingrained as a part of their overall character that you know it without the author having to tell you.
Overall, this was just a fantastic read and even though the hardcover is close to 600 pages, it goes by so fast. Absolutely pick this one up if you like adult high fantasy!
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the book:
“No one thing keeps Innis Lear alive or its heart beating! That is not love! That is selfishness. That is pretending we are all only one thing. Only a star, only a woman, only a bastard. You’re more than that, and I am, too: a woman and daughter of a foreign queen and a star priest. I’m all of that. Take one piece away and the rest shifts and changes, just like…just like this island, or any land.” -Tessa Gratton, The Queens of Innis Lear