four dead queens book review

If you read my blog, you’ll know that YA isn’t usually my jam, but I do love a good murder mystery.

Four Queens. A divided nation. A ruthless pickpocket. A noble messenger. And the murders that unite them.

Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington is one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves, but when she steals an unexpectedly valuable package from a messenger she is soon entangled in a conspiracy that leads to all four of Quadara’s queens being murdered. 

With no other choices and on the run from her former employer, Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the Eonist messenger she stole from, and together they race to discover who has killed the queens. But when dark secrets threaten their reluctant partnership and put everything at stake, Keralie and Varin must use all their daring to stay alive and untangle the mysteries behind the nation’s four dead queens. 

Duffy’s Thoughts on Four Dead Queens

If you’re world building, you have to do it right. All too often I’ve been confused when trying to grasp different worlds, people, terms and belief systems, and I end up giving up before getting to the end. I’ve also found some authors getting a little self-indulgent with their worlds, in turn, sacrificing the plot and character. Luckily Scholte keeps the balance here and Four Dead Queens has a lot going for it. All main characters are female and Quadara is divided into four distinct quadrants which made the story easy to follow. There’s a bit of futuristic fantasy sprinkled on the pages and who doesn’t want to imagine four boss Queens swanning about the corridors of a golden palace?

Keralie as the main protagonist and ‘anti-hero’ is ok, but quite annoying and big headed on occasion which irritated me enough to skip some paragraphs. I also found the romance between her and Varin added nothing to the story with Varin being instantly forgettable. It seemed a shame that in Four Dead Queens, there so many chances to have a strong female character shine, yet the biggest potential seemed to be in the first Queen to be knocked off in the first third of the book. I’m also a plot twist fiend and sussed out who was ruthlessly murdering Queens which took the excitement away from the last third of the book.

These flaws aside, Astrid Scholte does offer up a very commendable YA murder mystery with some solid world building and early suspense. However, I have no doubt that Scholte will build on the success of Four Dead Queens and I look forward to reading her next books!

Published by Allen & Unwin RRP $19.99

Book review of four dead queens
Click the link to grab your copy for $15.95!

Check out Duffy’s other YA reviews