A divided nation. Four Queens. A ruthless pickpocket. A noble messenger. And the murders that unite them.
Keralie Corrington lives by as the preeminent dipper in the Concord, the central area uniting the four quadrants of Quadara. She steals under the guidance of her mentor Mackiel, who runs a black market selling their bounty to buyers desperate for what they can’t get in their own quarter. For in the nation of Quadara, each quarter is strictly divided from the other.
When Keralie intercepts a comm disk coming from the House of Concord, what seems like a standard job goes horribly wrong. Upon watching the comm disks, Keralie sees all four queens murdered in four brutal ways. Hoping that discovering the intended recipient will reveal the culprit – information that is bound to be valuable bartering material with the palace – Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the Eonist messenger she stole from, to complete Varin’s original job and see where it takes them.
(Before you start, you should check out my post from the Four Dead Queens blog tour about 5 Things You Should Do If You Witness a Murder!)
I first heard about Four Dead Queens at BookCon, where I was too late for the secret giveaway. Oops.
But since then, I obtained and promptly devoured the ARC I received, finishing up reading in my Disney hotel. Yup. I was reading this at Disney, because I was so desperate to get to the root of the murder.
There were a lot of things I enjoyed about Four Dead Queens, and here are some of them:
The mystery itself! (My favorite part.)
I definitely found the mystery in the novel to be one of my favorite parts–this book kept me along for the whole ride, wondering who was the murderer and how Keralie would catch them . . .
There are a lot of twists and turns, many I can’t spoil, but there was one big one at the end that had me SHOCKED. And more, smaller twists that I am still screaming over.
Scholte definitely has a lot of tricks up her sleeve, and the twists and turns in Four Dead Queens were not disappointing. I think she did a really good job of plotting this out and giving it the structure it has, because that made the mystery all the more ready to be relished!
Seriously. Still screaming about who ended up being the murderer. AHHHHHHHHHH.
The Quadrants are really fun.
I know some people are like “Quadrants? EYE ROLL” but I love it when authors play around with segmented worlds, and the way Scholte established the dynamics (especially with the Eonist people who crossed the border, etc.) was really cool.
I also really liked how it wasn’t very dichotomous and there wasn’t like, one segregated black sector etc. This isn’t the peak of diversity, but I appreciated how it wasn’t like “the agriculture sector is the black sector” *cough THE HUNGER GAMES*.
It was a lot more normal than that, and I appreciated this element as well. It wasn’t a race thing, it was a “this is the science sector! this is the more material sector!” sort of thing. And this made it a lot more enjoyable knowing that the sectors are not super racist. (High praise, truly.)
And the Quadrants aren’t just to be cool–they play an important role in the story. Because if the four queens are dead, who’s going to rule?
We get to see the queens’ points of view!
I definitely didn’t expect Four Dead Queens to have multiple point of views, but there were a decent number of sections telling what the queens had been doing before the murders, and also another secret POV that I can’t spoil . . .
It was in no way cringey or annoying (like those Mr. X POVs literally make me want to tear my hair out) and I think the positioning of these chapters were just right that they didn’t jerk you out of the story!
I liked reading about the queens and their deaths, and there are some clues Scholte is dropping in here that I wish I caught while reading.
This is not a huge book on romance, and I really appreciated that. Although there is a bit of kissing and whatnot, it wasn’t affecting the plot, so anyone (like me) who can get easily irritated with badly timed kisses in movies (*sCREAM*) can rest assured that the romance doesn’t meddle with the plot.
It’s still there, but it was low key and nothing extreme or crazy for two people who just met and have known each other for a very short time, so I think Scholte did a great job with this too.
Why four stars?
Although the twists’ concepts were fantastic, I was hoping for a little more shock value. What Astrid set up the twists to be were like, so genius and I’m forever applauding that.
But I do wish that the writing was a little more emotional to make these twists more shocking and even more surprising than they already are. Aka, I wanted Scholte to play up the twists even more than them just being twists.
And also, I do think it’s worth noting, as with any super-hyped book, that sometimes, your hype will get the better of you. I know I personally avoided falling prey to the hype, but I do think people can end up disappointed if they have super high expectations.
So keep that in mind! But honestly, there isn’t a lot for me to criticize about this–part of it is just “do you click with this book?” and that’s hard to verbalize.
Overall, it’s worth the read.
I enjoyed it, I LOVED the mystery, and I had a fun time reading! If you like the sound of it and are in the mood, I’d definitely recommend you pick this book up!
Thank you so much to Penguin Teen and Bookish First for sending me an advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review!