The Born Queen Mass Market Paperback – Jan 27 2009
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Praise for Greg Keyes and his novels of The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone
The Blood Knight
“[A] sophisticated and intelligent high fantasy epic.”
The Charnel Prince
“There is adventure and intrigue, swordplay and dark sorcery aplenty.”
–Realms of Fantasy
“Strong world building and superior storytelling.”
The Briar King
“A wonderful tale . . . It crackles with suspense and excitement from start to finish.”
“A graceful, artful tale from a master storyteller . . . [The novel] starts off with a bang, spinning a snare of terse imagery and compelling characters that grips tightly and never lets up.”
–Elizabeth Haydon, bestselling author of Prophecy: Child of Earth
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Greg Keyes was born in Meridian, Mississippi, to a large, diverse storytelling family. He is the author of The Briar King, The Charnel Prince, and The Blood Knight (Books One, Two, and Three of The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone), The Waterborn, The Blackgod, the Age of Unreason tetralogy, and the Star Wars New Jedi Order novels Edge of Victory I: Conquest, Edge of Victory II: Rebirth, and The Final Prophecy. He lives in Savannah, Georgia.
From the Hardcover edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Actually, it looked like Greg Keyes couldn't figure out *what* to do with Anne & Stephen and their story lines follow weird arcs. An author shouldn't simply invert the basic personalities of his main characters and say its because of "magic" and "power".
The only thing still lovable about this book was Cazio - and who cares if he is cliched?
But though this book doesn't really match up to its predecessors, it does concludes the series (albeit in a hurry towards the end) and there are bits and pieces of action that are enjoyable.
All in all - an average fantasy story. The first two books of the kingdoms of thorn and bone were good enough to leave you breathless. The last two just leave you listless.
Don't get me wrong, I still think Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone is a great series, worthy of mention alongside Erikson, Bakkar, Cook and of course GRRM when talking about great "dark epic fantasy." I am in no way saying don't read Born Queen, especially if you have read the other three books. There's certainly something to be said about closure. I just wish that it had been done in a more satisfying manner.
The series overall is a 4.5/5 to me, with "Born Queen" being the only real blemish. But I'd still recommend the series in a heartbeat to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy.
I knew I would be sad at the end of this book, to put Anne Dare, her compatriots and enemies to rest in my mind. But I had hoped for a nice 15 year aged port to complete the 3 course gourmet meal, and ended up with someting passable.
It was my distinct impression that too many words devoted to physical battles with monsters could have given way to flehsing out character interactions/motivations and a better denoument. Sure the pace stays fast, but at what cost?
The fourth book missed, where they other three played a phenomenal stage. Take it for what it is.
And dues ex machina in droves. I don't think I've ever read a story that has so much 'get the character in trouble in every chapter' and then rescue him. Almost everyone in every chapter was rescued in the nick of time. Add to that the characters were for the most part, completely out of character. There is a difference between character development and personality changes on this scale.
Usually I enjoy books that make the conclusion hard to guess, but not this one. Events happened that made no sense and seemed to have no bearing on the story. The pacing was also too fast. It made one character blend into another because all they ever did was visit magic places, fight or flee.
The writing itself was good and the story had potential. (the world did as well despite essentially being a copy of the medieval Christian church, Scotland, England, Norway and Italy with only enough change in actual languages to make me wonder why Keyes thought a pretense language necessary. I mean wairwulf instead of werewolf? What's the point?
Add to all this the plotting and pace were terrible, wild and all over the place. You had so much to work with Greg, but I'm sorry, you blew it.
The Born Queen is, simply, the worst concluding book in a fantasy series that I have ever read, and a mockery to the rest of the books on my shelves.
More characters fall in love with each other over the course of 2 pages; 90% of the chapters end with a ridiculous cliff-hanger, half of which end up being revealed in the first sentence of the character's next chapter as having been no big deal at all; plot elements that were made out to be of vital importance end up having literally no bearing whatsoever on the story (for example, the Blood Knight is really not at all discernible from who he was before he became the Blood Knight); character development is virtually non-existent, and in several cases characters' actions are completely contradictory to their nature; one particular confrontation that has been built up to for some 1700 pages comes and goes anticlimactically in the space of a breath; fight scenes are virtually recycled copies of one another (as the utin/greffyn/manticore charges, a few arrows skip off of armor, a few hit their mark, then bow is abandoned for axe and dirk, Aspar takes a wound but ultimately gets the kill...rinse, lather, repeat); and the last 60 pages or so, which should ideally tie everything together and bring them to a nice close, are so rushed, so convuluted, and so utterly preposterous as to be practically unreadable. If not for my stubborn nature, I would have quit reading the book with 20 pages to go.
Cazio. He is the only character who I looked forward to reading about, as he was the only one who had any true development. But still, some of that was negated by the fact that every one of his chapters ended with him flying through the air, rapier in hand, beginning a fight against impossible odds.
Keyes was clearly rushed to get something finished, and clearly had no idea how to make it work. The end result is intolerably bad.
Through the first two books of the series, I would have recommended it with flying colors. Through the third, I would have still called it work your time. After reading The Born Queen, I would advise you all to avoid The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone entirely.