6 Magnificent Fantasy Books With Queens You Must Read


Whether it’s out of a fascination with royalty, political intrigue or something else, queens capture our imaginations. These proactive characters rule their realms, keenly aware of their responsibilities and duties as the reigning monarch.

Are you on the lookout for such a story? If so, you’re in luck. Today’s list is all about these royals.

Here are 6 fantasy books with queens you must read:

While most are queens, I’ve also included a couple of stories lead by future queens or particularly driven princesses.

Book descriptions, readers’ ratings and summaries of positive and negative comments for each book are below. However, if you’d like a quick summary, here’s a comparison chart.


Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

Description

Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, bestselling authors individually and together, return to the world of their New York Times and USA Today bestselling Obsidian and Enduring Flame Trilogies with Crown of Vengeance.

Here, readers will learn the truth about the Elven Queen Vielissiar Faricarnon, who was the first to face the Endarkened in battle and the first to bond with a dragon. She worked some of the greatest magics her world has ever known, and paid the greatest Price.

Crown of Vengeance is an exciting fantasy adventure that will appeal to fans of Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series. No previous knowledge of Lackey and Mallory’s collaborations is necessary to enjoy this fast-paced, action-packed novel, but returning readers will be excited to discover this amazing story.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.06

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

First on our list of fantasy books with queens is Crown of Vengeance by authors Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. Readers delighted by this book called it a vast epic, covering a large cast of characters over a great length of time.

These readers praised the story’s complexity, realism and its well fleshed-out characters. When the circumstances of the story turned against their favorite characters, these fans found themselves feeling for their loses as well as rooting for their comebacks.

Negative Comments

If Crown of Vengeance wasn’t a reader’s cup of tea, what did they say?

First off, for those you searching for a book that puts dragons front and center, it doesn’t seem like that’s the main focus of the novel. While readers didn’t mention this as a detractor, they also didn’t mention the dragons at all.

In addition, readers who didn’t enjoy this novel were frustrated by its several over-familiar story elements. For instance, the book features a ‘chosen one’ that’s the subject of a prophecy, a special school for the gifted, and a ‘bonded mate’ romance sub-plot.

Other readers said that the book had plenty of battle scenes – too much, in fact. Crown of Vengeance is action-packed, but the action won’t necessarily have the amount of tension, suspense or stakes to keep readers on the edge of their seats. After a while, these readers found themselves lulled into indifference.


The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Description

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one. 

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. 

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king — a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.80

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Second on our list of fantasy books with queens is The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a novel nominated for the prestigious Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Fans fell in love with Elisa, the story’s protagonist and raved about her  portrayal. Many of them were intrigued by how different she is from the typical ‘Chosen One’ character. While most ‘Chosen Ones’ start off as unlikely heroes due to their socioeconomic background, Elisa battles a powerful sense of worthlessness and a sheltered upbringing.

Readers often said that this made her easy to empathize with, especially given how much she has to fight to grow past her weaknesses. Several readers who had battled eating disorders or a negative self-image said they felt a particular connection to her. By the end of the novel, readers of all stripes said Elisa’s growth into a confident and heroic leader inspired them and warmed their hearts. 

Other fans mentioned how much they loved the world-building. In particular, readers praised the book’s multifaceted and respectful inclusion of religion into its setting. Often missing in fantasy world-building, it added a new dimension to Elisa and other characters.

In addition, readers said that seeing characters of different cultural and religious convictions interact was refreshing and made the world come to life.

Negative Comments

Not every reader enjoyed The Girl of Fire and Thorns. So, what did critics say?

For the most part, they had two main reasons. Some were upset that Elisa started off overweight but became thinner over the course of her trials. For instance, she trekked through a desert and had far less food available to consume than usual. Critics interpreted this as linking heroism and thinness.

The second criticism is more ambiguous, having to do with the portrayal of religion. Some readers disliked the fact that Elisa was religious or that religion was included as part of the story’s world. However, their distaste didn’t come across as a criticism against The Girl of Fire and Thorns, so much as a dislike of religion in general.

Ironically, others seemed to think that the religious aspect wasn’t delved into deeply enough. For instance, these critics were intrigued by the philosophical questions Elisa ponders. They said, though, that the book only offered surface-level answers.


The Stolen Kingdom by Bethany Atazadeh

Description

How can she protect her kingdom, if she can’t protect herself? 

Princess Arie never expected to manifest a Jinni’s Gift. When she begins to hear the thoughts of those around her, she hides it to the best of her ability. But to her dismay, the forbidden Gift is growing out of control.

When a neighboring king tries to force her hand in marriage and steal her kingdom, discovery becomes imminent. Just one slip could cost her throne. And her life.

A lamp, a heist, and a Jinni hunter’s crew of thieves are her only hope for removing this Gift–and she must remove it before she’s exposed. Or die trying.

The Stolen Kingdom is a loose Aladdin retelling. Set in a world that humans share with Mermaids, Dragons, and the elusive Jinni, this isn’t the fairy tale you remember… 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.02

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Third on our list of fantasy books with queens is The Stolen Kingdom, although technically our main character is a proactive crown princess. Inspired by Aladdin, this novel dazzled fans with its magical adventure tale and easy-to-love main characters.

Readers often described the story as fun and exciting. Each event in the novel built on the preceding one, creating a rapid-paced plot that kept readers turning the pages.

Moreover, fans found themselves rooting for Arie and Kadin as individual characters, but also in their romance together. In particular, readers mentioned that Arie’s determination, courage and care for her kingdom made her a joy to read about.

Negative Comments

No book is universally loved. When critics reviewed The Stolen Kingdom, they generally said that the plot featured several coincidences favorable to the protagonists’. Because they were noticeable to them, these readers were jarred out of the story.

Other critics, however, said that the characters’ relationships grew quickly, to the point where they seemed rushed.


The Broken Crown by Michelle West

Description

The first novel of the acclaimed Sun Sword series introduces readers to a war-torn world of noble houses divided and demon lords unleashed…

Tor Leonne — the heart of the Dominion of Annagar, where the games of state are about to become a matter of life and death — and where those who seek to seize the crown will be forced to league with a treacherously cunning ally….

Tor Leonne, ancestral seat of power, where Serra Diora Maria di’Marano — the most sought-after beauty in the land, a woman betrayed by all she holds dear — may strike the first blow to change the future of the Dominion and Empire alike….

Averalaan Aramarelas — that most ancient of civilized cities, the home of the Essalieyan Imperial court, has long been a center of magics both dark and bright. And though the Empire won its last war with the Dominion, and survived a devastating, magic-fueled battle with a far deadlier foe, both those victories were not without their cost…. 

But now the realm is on the brink of a far greater confrontation, faced with an unholy alliance that could spell the end of freedom for all mortalkind.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.93

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with queens is The Broken Crown. Inspired by ancient Arabia, this political intrigue novel stood out to fans with its refreshing setting and poetic prose. Mostly though, it delighted them with its fantastic characters.

Readers described the protagonists as coming from all different walks of life: they were princesses, street urchins and more. Each came across to them as well-fleshed out and authentic, and each had their own unique story to tell.

Fans admired them for making difficult decisions and charting their paths, regardless of the political and social challenges. Many of them could easily identify a favorite character, even as they enjoyed and sympathized with the rest of the character cast.

Negative Comments

What did critics say?

Overall, these readers focused on the world-building, saying it confused them. Some said this was because the book was heavily detailed. Others said that the world was complex in general and that the book’s slow pacing made it difficult for them to stay focused when it was explained.


Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn

Description

Zoe Ardelay receives astonishing and unwelcome news: she has been chosen to become the king’s fifth wife. Forced to go to the royal city, she manages to slip away and hide on the shores of the mighty river. 

It’s there that Zoe realizes she is a coru prime ruled by the elemental sign of water. She must return to the palace, not as an unwilling bride for the king, but a woman with power in her own right.

But as Zoe unlocks more of the mysteries of her blood and the secrets of the royal family she must decide how to use her great power to rise above the deceptions and intrigue of the royal court.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.01

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with queens is Troubled Waters. This novel enchanted readers primarily through Zoe, it’s protagonist, and the authentic romance between her and her love interest.

Fans described Zoe as a refreshing heroine, one that starts off in a vulnerable state but grows into a strong and self-possessed individual. Her journey moved these readers, who found her relatable and appreciated that she wasn’t the hyper-competent protagonist type.

In addition, others said that Troubled Water’s romance caught their attention. They contrasted it with romances in other fantasy books, which they said tended to say relied on ‘love at first sight’ with little substance behind it. Not so with this novel, which fans praised as having two strong characters who have gain trust and mutual respect for each other. These readers praised it as heartwarming.

Negative Comments

What did critics say about Troubled Waters? Well, they tended to focus on either Zoe as a protagonist or the story’s means of characterizing its cast.

For the former, these readers described Zoe as overly favored by the story. For example, some of them said she adapted too easily to the changes around her while others said she’d make frustrating decisions but face no consequences for it. As a result, these readers found her unlikeable.

In terms of the latter, critics said that the book tended to characterize its cast by astrology descriptions rather than showing those traits in action.

On the other hand, other readers didn’t mind being told about a character’s traits, but didn’t like how frequently those traits were attributed to the character’s astrological sign. This group of readers started to feel that the astrological signs dominated characters instead of informing about them.


Ruined by Amy Tintera

Description

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war; her parents were killed and her sister was kidnapped. Even though Em is only a useless Ruined – completely lacking any magic – she is determined to get revenge.

Her plan is simple: She will infiltrate the enemy’s kingdom, posing as the crown prince’s betrothed. She will lead an ambush. She will kill the king and everyone he holds dear, including his son.

The closer Em gets to the prince, though, the more she questions her mission. Her rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life – and her family – on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.87

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with queens is Ruined, although Emelina is technically not a queen yet. Fast-paced and exciting, this novel was one fans just couldn’t put down. Several mentioned that while the story itself may not be unique, it either twists familiar tropes or does the familiar spectacularly.

Other fans mentioned how much they loved the protagonists in Ruined and  their romance with each other. These readers often described Emelina as a riveting antihero who was fascinating to watch. The nobler Casimir, on the other hand, warmed their hearts. Hearing their perspectives, which were often dissimilar, was a treat.

Moreover, these readers praised the two’s witty dialogue with each other, which they tended to describe as both hilarious and artfully revealing the characters’ personalities. The romance itself is a slow-burn, which fans found wonderful.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Ruined, what did they say? Well, critics typically had two comments.

The first was that it came across as familiar Young Adult Fantasy, mostly because of the way the romance plot played out. 

The second had to do with the romance. In general, critics tended to describe Emelina’s transition from hating Casimir to loving him as rushed. Related to this, others thought she gave up on revenge –  an extremely important goal to her – too easily. As such, they seemed to lose respect for her.


6 Magnificent Fantasy Books With Queens You Must Read

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6 Magnificent Fantasy Books With Queens You Must Read


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