Belegaria is a distant relative to the royal family of Vairian, never really destined to be of any importance to her cousins subjects, eeking out an existence of fun and fabulousness. Her favourite pastime is flying, frequently leaving classes early in order to soar through the skies in peace. This is all about to change when an entire branch of her family tree is annihilated in one fell swoop, leaving her father and brother to ascend to the throne.
Happily content to let them lead their lives, Bel hopes to remain obscure. Until her father calls her to a meeting with an emmisary of the planet Anthaeus. She is required to travel to their homeland in order to maintain peace in the universe. Determined to not let herself be taken by the heir to their throne, Conleith, Bel’s life is about to take a whole other turn.
Ok. Where to start? Bel is honestly an amazing protagonist, female or otherwise. She exhibits all those amazing qualities I love to see in a character. She is flawed but stoic. Soft but oh so resilient. Honestly, she is the sort of heroine I would happily allow my daughter to read because she’s just wow.
When her lady in waiting is killed in… circumstances… a lady of Anthaeus steps in to take her place. Enter Elara, a manipulative little piece of work who doesn’t do anything for no reason. Will being close to the Queen to be help her social status help her? Sure. Hand her an unkempt girl and a pile of hideous dresses with which to work her magic and you can guarantee that girl will be beautifully dressed and immaculately preened. I really loved this lady as well because as everyone knows, I love a good manipulator/villain.
The male leads take on a smaller role in Queen’s Wing but are just as amazing (honestly I am obssessed with these men rn). Con is strong and a born leader while also being squishy for those he loves (both past and present). Jondar is the ultimate in right hand men. And Thom is just a lovely character to read.
Oh did I mention there’s an alien race living in cave that guides the Prince through telepathy? And selects the nations leaders? Yeah there’s A LOT of spacey amazingness throughout. I especially enjoyed the two main voices – they argue and attempt to pursuade each other to agree. It’s like a marriage but not.
The wroldbuilding, while fairly standard for an alien planet is not too farfetched to be believable. There’s an underground city, a massive palace, sprawling ruins and lush greenery. Basically all the amazing things you could have in a book but forced into less than 400 pages impeccably. I want to live there to be honest.
‘But how was the story?’ you ask. It was epic. The pace was continuous but not rushed. Think indepth and multifaceted like George RR Martin but not requiring endless flipping of pages because you forgot who was where (I made maps for that series and I STILL got confused). When the action was starting to die down, there was another punch of action to keep the reader entertained. Also replicons (possibly Cybermen is a better description?) attempting to take over. And psychic aliens selecting the new leaders of their lost world. Lots of death too (I love a good bloodbath. Sorry not sorry). But at the core of everything was an unwavering (mostly) faith of character from Bel and Con, sprinkled with romance and just the right dash of stubborn stupidity because who hasn’t done silly things when in love.
I just have to say here – this was supposed to be a romance. It is described on the cover as ‘A completely gripping fantasy romance’ which almost turned me off requesting it. It lied. Does it have romance? Yes. Is that what I would class it as? Um… No. Its more a space opera, fantasy, scifi cauldron of red hot amazing. So in the interest of keeping this concise (my initial word count was 1788… oops), I just need to say if you haven’t heard of or weren’t planning on reading this novel, you’re wrong… A very respectable 4.5/5 stars.
The Queen’s Wing released on 21st November 2018 from Bookouture and is expected to be part of a series of the same name.