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Except the Queen Paperback – April 5, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

World Fantasy Award–winning Yolen (Dragon's Heart) teams up with Snyder (The Innamorati) to weave a magical tale. After Serana and Meteora stumble across a secret that could damage the reputation of the Fairy Queen, the close-knit fae siblings are separated and banished to Earth. Stripped of youth, beauty, and magic, they struggle to adapt to the baffling modern world. In New York, Serana meets a feral young man whose talent for music is uncanny. In Milwaukee, Meteora finds refuge in the legendary Baba Yaga's house, where she befriends a troubled woman being stalked by a murderous tattooist. As the various players converge for a deadly showdown, the truth behind the sisters' exile is revealed. Unconventional narrative techniques and a full dose of magic and folklore give this urban fantasy a lyrical, mythic feel. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; Reprint edition (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451463404
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451463401
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #779,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) VINE VOICE on March 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In _Except the Queen_, two faerie sisters, Serana and Meteora, accidentally learn a scandalous secret about the faerie queen and let it slip. For their transgression, the two women are separated and banished to mortal Earth to live among humans. They are completely adrift in this new world, and if that weren't bad enough, their new human bodies are old and overweight.

I think _Except the Queen_ is meant - at least in part - as an exploration of aging. Most of us don't get magically zapped into older bodies overnight, true. But I think most of us feel sometimes like our aging bodies, with their aches, pains, and gray hairs, aren't really our "true" bodies. We still feel like the same person we were at 16, 18, 20, so who is this stranger in the mirror with the crow's feet? And I think we all feel disconnected, sometimes, from the new generation of young people: their slang, their fashions, etc.

Unfortunately, in _Except the Queen_, this alienation sometimes seems to tip over the line into "Kids These Days"/"Get Off My Lawn." Kids these days use the F-word and the S-word. Kids these days party too much. Kids these days get tattoos! I'm not sure, at 32, whether I'm supposed to side with the older women against the young hooligans or whether I'm supposed to feel like a hooligan myself.

I'm also disappointed that the Latino character's Spanish is wrong. I don't mean slang. I mean using "ustedes" to refer to a singular person, that kind of thing. It's strange, because this would have been pretty easy to research and get right.

Most problematically, the plot just doesn't have a lot of forward momentum, at least for me. The prose is beautifully crafted, but the story is not keeping me turning pages.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. de Freitas on March 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Except the Queen is a beautifully written tale with a myriad of viewpoints, a twisted and engaging plot and a satisfying conclusion.

I've read several sidhe/Fae tales and I'm pretty familiar with the basics most authors employ when describing the realm(s) of the Fae and the remarkable creatures that inhabit them. Sometimes this familiarity leads to boredom and much rolling of the eyes, but the ink spilled from the agile pens of Ms. Yolen and Ms. Midori managed to keep the lore of the Seelie and the UnSeelie fresh.

There are many disparate voices offered in this book and all sorts of POV formatting [switching from 1st person to 3rd person omniscient to straight up 3rd person and so on] so the plot takes a little time to get into... however, it's well worth wait.

Initially chapters read like misshapen puzzle pieces but eventually the pieces snap together and a clear picture of all players' intentions and their significance is unveiled.

Our heroines are definitely of the "unlikely" variety - a pair of Seelie sisters who are gossipy and concerned only with fun. They are flawed, biased, selfish, frightened and heartwarmingly real. One of my favorite aspects of the novel is how the authors manage to reveal the foundation of unshakeable loyalty and love between the sisters despite all their hardships.

Naturally, with "real" heroines, the villains are "real" bast- jerks and made out of the parts of nightmares.

And finally, even the character(s) in need of saving aren't always loveable either. IMHO, this just adds another special dimension to the overall tale.

I'd call *Except the Queen* an exceptional literary work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By carolteach4 on January 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
I sat up until two o'clock in the morning finishing this wonderfully crafted story. I have long been a fan of Jane Yolen, and this collaboration with Midori Snyder didn't disappoint.I absolutely fell in love with the two sisters and how they adapted to their changed situation. We had little time to understand their character before they were exiled, but they must have been compassionate in the land of fairy for them to bring those qualities with them to the world of humans. While I found Baba Yaga's explanation of the "f" word hysterical, it does prevent me from recommending the book to my middle school students. Having just finished The Sisters by Nancy Jensen, where two sisters are separated and never get back together, the way the sisters in Except the Queen found each other and worked to help each other was very satisfying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on December 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Except the Queen (2010) is a standalone Fantasy novel It is set Under the Hill and within New York City.

In this novel, Meteora is a minor fey. She lives in the Greenwood near the Queen's court.

Setana is the sister of Meteora. They are often together.

Baba Yaga is a very powerful witch who now lives in New York City.

Jamie Oldcurse is a case worker in the city. She takes care of the most indigent.

Sparrow is a young woman living within New York City. She manages the apartments within Baba Yaga's house.

In this story, Meteora and Setana slip out of the Greenwood to watch the mortals. They see their queen with a mortal man and a child. Setana tells Meteora that they must keep this news secret.

When they return to the court, Meteora and Setana separate and go their own ways. Meteora, though, speaks of the secret while awaking and the gossip quickly spreads. Setana is expelled from the court and Meteora runs away.

Both end up in the mortal world. Meteora is taken by Baba Yaga to her disguised house in the city. She meets Sparrow and the boys living downstairs. She doesn't particularly like the boys.

Setana wakes in a hospital bed listening to a knock on the door. Jamie has been assigned as her caseworker to provide social assistance. Jamie gets Setana to sign many papers, helps dress her, and takes her to an apartment. She also gives her some funds.

Naturally, neither Meteora nor Setana understand anything that is happening to them. At least they can speak the language, but known nothing about human culture. So they start out slowly and cautiously to learn about their environment.

Setana meets Juan Flores at his produce store.
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