Thorn Queen (Dark Swan #2) by Richelle Mead
It’s been a while since I read Storm Born, the first book in Richelle Mead‘s Dark Swan series, and many of the details have faded into fuzziness. Fortunately, the author’s done a great job of reminding the reader what happened last time, so I don’t feel like I missed anything by not re-reading Storm Born.
In Thorn Queen, Eugenie Markham, a.k.a. Odile Dark Swan, shaman extraordinaire, now also the queen of the Thorn Land. Her kingdom’s a mess, in part because of how she reshaped the land after killing the previous ruler, her love life is chaos thanks to her boyfriend’s preoccupation with his pregnant ex, also a fairy queen, and the wooing of other interested fey men. Plus there’s that pesky prophesy about her firstborn destroying humankind hanging over her head, and girls are going missing from her kingdom and no one seems to care why, except for Eugenie. Oh, and her mother and stepfather don’t know that Eugenie’s tapping into the magical gifts she inherited from her dead tyrant of a father.
I was basically nonplussed after reading Storm Born. I’d read a couple of Richelle Mead’s Georgina Kincaid books and enjoyed them, and was excited when she started a dark urban fantasy series. Unfortunately, I didn’t find it all that memorable. But Thorn Queen is different. The plot is nice and tight, the dialogue is crisp, and the love triangle is fairly interesting, though I suppose I should reserve judgment until the next book, since there are major developments on this front in Thorn Queen. Eugenie’s bound demon reminds me a bit of Rachel and Al’s relationship in Kim Harrison‘s series The Hollows, though there are definite differences. I found some of the characters to be a bit generic but I can’t wait to find out more about some of the supporting cast, like Nia, Shaya, and Rurik. One thing I really liked: Eugenie being forced to see the gentry as people, and confronting other people’s prejudices about that.
Richelle Mead’s website tells me that the third book in the series, Iron Crowned, will be out in a few short months. I look forward to reading it.
Dark Swan Series (click on the title to purchase through The Book Depository)