A clever contemporary YA retelling of Henry VIII and his wives (or, in this case, his high school girlfriends), The Dead Queens Club tells the story from the perspective of Annie Marck aka Cleves, a 17-year-old aspiring journalist who meets Henry at summer camp.
Beingn girlfriend number four is hard, and Cleves is the only girlfriend to come out of her relationship with Henry unscathed—but most breakups are messy, right? And sometimes tragic accidents happen…twice…
I unfortunately do not get to use the 5 star flower graphic a lot, but I am SO EXCITED to say that I AM USING IT TODAY LOOK AT IT. What does this mean? The Dead Queens Club was freaking amazing, that’s what it means!!!
Severly underhyped but severly deserving of hype, please add it to goodreads RIGHT NOW before you even continue reading. Even if it’s on a shelf that’s called “wtf-is-this-premise-rofl.”
Did you do it? Great. High five for you.
But seriously, this book is amazing and it was LITERAL DEATH holding back from just marathoning the whole thing. (I ended up marathoning everything after page 100 sorry Becca.)
I mean, let’s just talk about this. Is it insanely awesome? Yes. Did I love it? Yes. Do you need to know more? No.
But since there’s a bunch of you who are probably doubting the validity of my screaming, let me elaborate.
THE VOICE WAS A-MAZING.
I mean–CLEVES I LOVE YOU. I would give my left kidney to Cleves even if she didn’t need my left kidney.
She’s the Chinese (yes u heard that it is not popularly advertised but Cleves was adopted from China) heroine who is oh-so-chill and a very refreshing opposite to Stressed Me and Stressed Everyone I Know.
Not only is she chill and fresh (you will be hearing “fresh” a lot in this review) protagonist you want, but she’s also SO HILARIOUS.
And it’s not in a just-for-laughs way, it’s from a dry-humor-oh-my-god-this-girl-kills-me sort of way. AKA, Cleves is amazing.
Besides her awesome voice that is just *chef’s kiss*, she is just an awesome person in general??? I checked my DMs for the exact quote of what I said when I was on pg. 2, and it is “why is she so dryly relatable” and THIS is what this book is.
It’s like your cooler best friend who you just want to leech yourself to. Okay, maybe not in such a graphic blood-sucking way. In a good I LOVE YOU STAY WITH ME FOREVER way.
Even from page 1, you’ll discover how fresh and relatable this book is. I might not know anyone as cool and interesting yet simultaneously laid-back and not-stressed as Cleves, but I also found her genuinely relatable in the way that you know you’re never going to be that cool but you still try.
Because as chill as she is, she still ~thinks~ about her future and worries, she’s just a lot better at disguising it than the rest of us on-the-verge-of-a-meltdown common people.
But yeah. In short, Cleves is an amazing protagonist with an amazing voice.
CLEVES STICKS UP FOR HER GIRL FRIENDS.
This is piggybacking off of the last section, but even though Cleves is chill and laid-back, she’s passionate about what matters (vs. stuff that would stress me out. i am passionate about stress.) and she unflinchingly sticks by her girl friends and defends them and I love that about her.
I know sometimes ~character growth~ would mean her evolving to that point, but honestly? That’s not what this book is about and I wouldn’t change that. I LOVE how Cleves is supportive and “woke” (or, almost woke, except for matters of the Henry–which is where most of her own growth ARC comes in) from the start and it made The Dead Queens Club a really refreshing read as I didn’t have to sit through BS.
I could just read the smackdowns Cleves gave out that people deserved. (Mostly.)
THE TWISTS OMG SOMEONE HOLD ME.
Okay, so this book starts off fairly innocent–Henry, Cleves, backstory, friends forever! But then it gets seriously spicy.
Like, someone dumped 5 ghost peppers in the soup spicy.
I mean, NO SPOILERS but the drama is intense and deadly (this is why it is called The Dead Queens Club do not be deceived by the innocent cover PEOPLE DIE OKAY). It’s sooo spicy and I was left guessing until the very end.
So even though it doesn’t *look* like a mystery–oh, it so is. I guessed literally every character under the sun. Hannah is SO GREAT at instilling doubt in our minds and I just cry why was this so good.
Also I should have guessed it BUT I DIDN’T BECAUSE HANNAH WAS DOING HER JOB RIGHT. The twists are top notch and I just WOW. That ending scene was soooo tense and I nearly screamed (in shock, not fear) at [redacted].
So yes. If you think this will be dull, IT IS NOT. It is so spicy and entertaining and I 100% wish you to read it.
THE PREMISE IS BOW-WOW.
Okay, I am tired and it is late but I SWEAR THIS IS A GOOD THING.
I admit that I know nothing about Henry VIII. I did not take European history–
ASIDE: Honestly, this is probably why I didn’t guess the ending? But I assume if you *know* the tale, you’ll be able to draw connections and that’s just as exciting as guessing the twists.
–but I know that in short, Henry = bad, wives = poor souls. Yet, with The Dead Queens Club, Capin empowers the queens (YES YOU GO GLEN COCO) and also just puts a nicely modern twist on it.
I mean, who expected old-timey English history to be as spicy as high school drama? There is NOTHING in the world spicier than high school drama, but aparently the Tudors come close.
So it’s inventive and FRESH and still modern and applicable and not stuffy old dead white guys telling everyone else what to do. Yay!
ALSO THIS STORY IS ADDICTIVE?
I mentioned how I marathoned the last 300 pages, and it is true. I had such a blast and totally didn’t realize I was wasting away my homework time BUT WHO CARES?
It’s senior year, y’all. I have a negative motivation level. But yes! This book is awesome and really entertaining and the drama keeps things spicy and the voice keeps you hooked so you should 100% pick it up please please please do it for me.
Also, confession time: I wanted to read this over The Wicked King but buddy read prevented me. Know though, that this was my first choice and I would have picked this over The Wicked King any day #sorrynotsorry.
In the end, PLEASE READ THE DEAD QUEENS CLUB it is one of my favorite reads of the year and I want to scream about it with everyone!!!
Thank you so much to Hannah Capin for sending this ARC to me in exchange for an honest review! TBH I did not expect to like this so much.