#SciFiMonth Audiobook Review: The Queen’s Advantage by Jessie Mihalik
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 3.5 of 5 stars
Genre: Romance, Science Fiction
Series: Book 2 of Rogue Queen
Publisher: Tantor Audio (October 8, 2019)
Length: 5 hrs and 41 mins
Narrator: Rachel Dulude
Time for another bite-sized romance sci-fi adventure by Jessie Mihalik! Like a lot of folks, I first came to these Rogue Queen books after reading Polaris Rising in her Consortium Rebellion series. Of course, once I discovered these novellas which were previously released in serialized format on the author’s website were getting officially published with audiobook releases as well, I just had to pounce.
The Queen’s Advantage is the follow-up to The Queen’s Gambit, which continues the story of our protagonist Queen Samara of the Rogue Coalition. Following her daring rescue of Emperor Valentin Kos from the clutches of the Quint Confederacy, Samara has agreed to help him root out the traitors in his court. It will be a dangerous job given how many enemies the emperor has, and it doesn’t help that those same mysterious traitors aren’t big fans of Samara either, considering how her past stunts had cost them a whole lot of money.
Sure enough, soon after their arrival there is a violent attack, prompting Samara to move up her schedule and show her hand early. Troublingly, Valentin appears to be losing control of his security forces, and his adversaries will no doubt make use of the confusion to sow more discontent and chaos, if they haven’t already infiltrated the higher levels of the administration. This is a problem for Samara, who has promised to repay her debts to Valentin by guarding him, not to mention there is the matter of their burgeoning relationship. The two of them have become quite close, and Samara is the type of woman who always keeps her promises and fights to protect what’s hers.
Compared to The Queen’s Gambit, this sequel might have had just a tad less action, but the story makes up for it by delving deeper into the world building. The Queen’s Advantage shines a light on the intricate web of politics that connects the galaxy, expanding on the power dynamics that exist between the factions in conflict. In particular, we get to see the inner workings of the Kos Empire, which aren’t as hunky-dory as we think—for one thing, Valentin doesn’t have limitless authority, and the truth is he faces quite a lot of opposition to his rule and there are quite a few people at court who hate his guts. In fact, what we learn here is that the state of the Empire is actually quite a mess. And walking into the middle of this pit of snakes is Samara, a queen in name only, who is as welcome as a wet dog at a fancy dinner.
With two books each of the Consortium Rebellion and Rogue Queen series under my belt now, I can also confidently say that Samara is a typical Mihalik heroine—and I mean that in the best way possible. Her protagonists are all smart, tough, and independent women who can take care of themselves. Case in point, Samara can more than hold her own against the scheming politicos and other bureaucrats who look down their nose at her. She’s also fiercely protective of Valentin, who is probably my favorite of Mihalik’s male love interests so far. He’s funny, sweet, and surprisingly down-to-earth for an emperor. While I’m still not sure how realistic this feels, I’m liking the chemistry between him and Samara, his idealism being a good counterpoint to the rougher parts of her personality.
Also, another thing I like is that we’re not rushing into the romance. That said, neither would I call it a slow-burn; quite simply, there are a few matters in our characters’ relationship that still need to be ironed out, and we’re just letting things take their natural course—the way it should be. Again, you won’t find anything too deep here, but The Queen’s Advantage nevertheless serves its purpose as an entertaining diversion if you’re looking for something to lighten up a few hours of your afternoon. I would recommend this series, especially if you’re enjoying what you’re seeing in Jessie Mihalik’s other novels.
Audiobook Comments: Rachel Dulude reprises her role as narrator, and once more she brings a passion and enthusiasm to the novel and is a perfect voice for Samara. One thing to note, however, is that I had to speed up playback for this audiobook a bit more than usual because of the slow speech rate, but this wasn’t a major issue and overall my enjoyment was unaffected.
More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of The Queen’s Gambit (Book 1)