Review: The Lost Queen by Signe Pike

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☆☆➹⁀☆ 4 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

In a land of mountains and mist, tradition and superstition, Languoreth and her brother Lailoken are raised in the Old Way of their ancestors. But in Scotland, a new religion is rising, one that brings disruption, bloodshed, and riot. And even as her family faces the burgeoning forces of Christianity, the Anglo-Saxons, bent on colonization, are encroaching from the east. When conflict brings the hero Emrys Pendragon to her father’s door, Languoreth finds love with one of his warriors. Her deep connection to Maelgwn is forged by enchantment, but she is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of a Christian king. As Languoreth is catapulted into a world of violence and political intrigue, she must learn to adapt. Together with her brother—a warrior and druid known to history as Myrddin—Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way and the survival of her kingdom, or risk the loss of them both forever.

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My Thoughts:

The Lost Queen is author Signe Pike’s first book in a trilogy.  It is part historical fiction and part fantasy.  The story is set in the middle ages in Europe when Christianity’s rise is threatened the ancient Celtic religion and lifestyle.  There is plenty of political and religious conflict that reflects the author’s research on the period and topic.  The story further explores the impact this conflict has on the people of Scotland.

This epic saga features legends, warriors, a forgotten sixth-century Scottish queen and Merlin.  I loved the strong female character, but her blunders reminded me of what I didn’t like in the main character of the Outlander series (to which The Lost Queen has been likened). The occasional use of a modern phrase can be easily overlooked by most readers (but fantasy devotees may cringe at a few).  While modern readers might take offense to how some characters are treated, the author’s use of the social hierarchies and norms is clearly well researched and felt authentic to the period.

Unlike some fantasy sagas I’ve read, Ms. Pike’s plot is straightforward. There is a lot of forward movement.  In the several fantasy sagas I’ve read, there was so much devotion to world-building and creating an incredibly vast cast of characters, that the arc of the plot is easily lost, or it wasn’t until the final book that there was any real forward trajectory in the plot.

Even though the story is well written, at 500 pages, the book was a bit long for me given my interest level in the fantasy genre in general and Arthurian legend specifically.  True fantasy lovers will relish diving into Ms. Pike’s debut novel!

 

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