Tuesday, March 5, 2019

ARC Review: The True Queen by Zen Cho

The True Queen
Author: Zen Cho
Series: A Sorcerer to the Crown Novel (Book 2)
Publication: Ace (March 12, 2019)

Description: In the follow-up to the "delightful" Regency fantasy novel (NPR.org) Sorcerer to the Crown, a young woman with no memories of her past finds herself embroiled in dangerous politics in England and the land of the fae.

When sisters Muna and Sakti wake up on the peaceful beach of the island of Janda Baik, they can’t remember anything, except that they are bound as only sisters can be. They have been cursed by an unknown enchanter, and slowly Sakti starts to fade away. The only hope of saving her is to go to distant Britain, where the Sorceress Royal has established an academy to train women in magic.

If Muna is to save her sister, she must learn to navigate high society, and trick the English magicians into believing she is a magical prodigy. As she's drawn into their intrigues, she must uncover the secrets of her past, and journey into a world with more magic than she had ever dreamed.

My Thoughts: This entertaining fantasy tells the story of two sisters - Muna and Sakti - who washed up on the beach of Janda Baik without any memories of their past. They are taken in by Mak Genggang, primary witch of the island. Sakti becomes an apprentice magician while Muna, having no magic, finds work in the kitchen.

Muna is determined to break the curse on her sister but Mak Genggang can't do it. She decides to send them to England and her friend the Sorceress Royal in hopes that she can break the curse. She sends them on a path through faerie to save them the year-long sea voyage. Only Muna and Sakti are separated and on Muna manages to arrive in England.

Muna needs to hide her lack of magic and find a way to rescue her sister. But faerie is closed from England and the queen of the fae has declared war on England. It seems that a magical ornament has been stolen and she is convinced that the culprit is in England.

As Muna learns more about the conflict and more about the past she doesn't remember, she makes friends with Henrietta Stapleton who is teaching at the academy for young women learning magic. Henny is a good friend of the Sorceress Royal. She is also hiding her magic from her family since it is not at all socially acceptable for a woman to use magic.

Muna also gets involved with dragons in her quest to find her sister and finds herself on a rescue mission to save a mortal magician kept confined in the dragon lands until he can be gifted to the fairy queen as a snack and in reparation for the dragons having lost the queen's ornament.

This was a fun story with entertaining worldbuilding and a nicely developed main character in Muna. Fans of fantasy will enjoy this story.

Favorite Quote:
"But what has been stolen from me?" said Sakti. "I lack for nothing."

"Would you say so?" said Mak Genggang. "I can think of any number of things your enemy may have stolen from you. Your conscience, your manners, your respect for you elders..."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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