Audiobook Review: The Seventh Queen by Greta Kelly
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): 4 of 5 stars
Series: Book 2 of Warrior Witch
Publisher: HarperAudio (November 2, 2021)
Length: 13 hrs and 33 mins
Narrator: Imani Jade Powers
Although it was only a ten-month wait between The Frozen Crown and The Seventh Queen, I have to say even that felt too long given the scream-worthy cliffhanger the first book left us with. Needless to say, as soon as I received my review copy of the audiobook from the publisher, I fell upon it like a ravening wolf.
As the story picks up from where things left off in The Frozen Crown, be aware that this review may discuss events and contain possible spoilers from previous novel. Our protagonist princess Askia of Serevesh has been captured by the tyrant emperor Radovan, having failed in her mission to repel the Rovan invasion and retake her rightful place on the throne. Now she is also forced to wear a cursed necklace that would steal her magic, which is Radovan’s true prize.
However, the transfer process itself takes time—thirty days to be exact. This at least gives Askia a chance to hatch up an escape plan, which is determined to do before her time runs out. Even as a prisoner in her enemy’s domain, our protagonist is not helpless. A death witch, her powers allow her to see and communicate with the dead. Very quickly, she makes allies of the ghosts of Radovan’s late wives, six other women whom he had imprisoned and murdered for their magic. They know better than anyone what Radovan is capable of, but they also know his weaknesses and what makes him tick, and Askia is not about to let that advantage go to waste.
Meanwhile out in the world though, the Vishir empire is also in turmoil, having just lost its ruler. His two heirs now vie for power, leaving the Roven empire free to press its attack, making Askia’s changes to win back Seravesh look grimmer than ever. With the threat of a civil war on the horizon, what kind of world would she return to even if she somehow manages to escape?
I definitely enjoyed The Seventh Queen, but probably not as much as its predecessor. This by no means makes it a bad sequel, just that perhaps the novelty has worn off slightly, and the fact that we have quite a different story this time. The biggest change is given away in the publisher description: “Askia was born a soldier, but now it’s time to become a spy.” The story reflects this with far fewer displays of her martial prowess and a general lack of kickassery, focusing more on her cloak-and-dagger skills. This made for a more subtle, low-key kind of book, and with the events of The Frozen Crown still relatively fresh on the mind, my expectations required a bit of adjustment.
In addition, the story was noticeably slower, making a lot of the book felt like filler, even when it was not. Much of the early plot took place on the castle grounds following Askia as she learned her way around, getting to know the resident ghosts. Even with her thirty-day deadline looming, we just didn’t have that same sense of urgency which was a constant presence throughout the first book. Granted, we still had those vibes here, but they were relatively muted, which didn’t really mesh with the desperation of Askia’s situation. That said, we still got to see her resourcefulness at play here—just in a different way. If I’m to be honest, I quite liked seeing this side of Askia. Slow-burning plot notwithstanding, it was a joy watching her brilliant mind at work teasing out solutions to her problems and calculating risks with that brilliant mind.
We also got some political intrigue, some romance. Everything came together nicely in the end too—exactly as expected, as some might say, with all the pieces falling into place just a tad too neatly. However, I don’t really begrudge the book that. The characters were all very well written, and with everything they’ve been through to get to this point, my heart could only feel contentment at that picture perfect ending.
All in all, a duology worth reading. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a hidden gem! And mad respect as well to narrator Imani Jade Powers who once again delivered a pitch perfect performance for the audiobook edition of The Seventh Queen.