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Queen Heir (NYC Mecca series Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 350 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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The plot of this book intrigued me which is why I picked it up in the first place. I love shifter books. There has always been something about them that interests me. What caught my eye about this book was the blurb. “The queen has been murdered and four heirs will now fight it out for the crown.” This just spoke to me for some reason. I feel this promises plenty of action in the book, which is one thing I think shifter books need. Then there is the bit about a “forbidden kiss” and a “bear king” that just adds some mystery along with some idea that this romance is going to be far from typical.
The characters in this book are so dynamic. Arianna is a wonderful character. I love how much strength she has. She is 20 years old and has been groomed to be queen one day, but never thought it would happen. Even with that, she has run a whole borough of the city as Alpha and seems to be doing a great job at it. Add in the fact that she takes responsibility for her 5 year old sister and you have one strong and amazing female character that our young girls can look up to. I think what I love most about this character is she allows herself to feel fear, but does not let it control her. She is able to keep herself put together for her people.
This book has many other characters as well. The council plays a part in this book and it just reminds me of how much I hate politics. You have the other heirs as well. Only one was most noteworthy and not in the best of ways. Arianna’s friends play a big role in this book. She has her circle of 6 who guard her, but who are also her friends. They protect her not out of duty but out of love. It shows what kind of person Arianna is. Then you have her advisor who is pretty amazing. While she is a stickler for rules, she also genuinely cares about Arianna. Violet is a wonderful character and I hope she gets her own book or novella in the future because she is a spitfire that would be interesting to read from her point of view. The final character is Kade, the bear king. He is probably my favorite character because while Arianna is mistrusting of him, it is clear to me as a reader that Kade is transparent. He is strong and fair. I wish we got to read from his point of view.
The heat in this book is there, but not too much. There are a couple of forbidden kisses and intense moments, but no outright hands on moments. I feel this book’s goal in the heat department was to get the readers to really invest in this forbidden romance and be rooting for it. Each time the two characters would get together, even the readers could feel the sexual tension. I think this aspect of the book was wonderfully written.
The writing style of this book was flawless. I could not believe that this book was written by not one, but two authors. I feel it is hard to get a book to seem so smooth when there are two different people who have two different voices writing the same story. I am amazed that this book did not seem to have a problem. The pace of this book is steady with a lot going on, but not so much that the reader feels there is too much. I think this book was just the right amount of mystery and set up the series to continue on into the next books.
Overall, I fell in love with this book. It is an amazing novel that kept me enamored the entire time I was reading it. I did not want to put it down. I have already started recommending this book to friends. I have already started the next book and plan to have the series read in the next day or two. If you haven’t started it, then what are you waiting for?
Writing Style: 5/5
Characters: There is a likeable main character and supporting cast. All the characters lack detail that set them apart though. Arianna is just the best of the best of the best that ever lived, apparently. Eve and Stone do an acceptable job making the stakes high enough for their very special super powered lead. I still felt like there were stakes Arianna had to overcome (though not until after she became queen). The whole front half of the book is about Arianna's bid for queen and that part is very boring. It drags so much I just skipped large chunks of it. There are no stakes for Arianna because she is set up as so much better than her competitors. I could have forgiven this if this was used as a time to humanize the main cast, but we don't learn anything new.
Eve and Stone resort to continued proclamations of love and loyalty between characters instead of setting up situations and actions where readers can see love and loyalty.
I'm still baffled by the whole relationship and point of familiars in this world. For me, they've become a very cliche (like the most powerful character has a horse sized white wolf and the sneaky character has a big poisonous snake) kind of annoying element that could have been omitted without losing any element of the story.
Setting: A delightful setting that I hope to see come into play in the future. I like building a magic world in New York. It's not new, but it's almost always fun. I like how Otherworld and the power of the Mecca is intergrated as far as travel goes. I'm confused regarding how/why crystals used for teleportation are also able to give Wolf Queens the power to link with their whole population or how/why Arianna, in particular, seems to be able to channel the Mecca if it's not magic. The difference between magic and Mecca is not defined at all and that makes a lot of the book's points fall apart under scrutiny.
Writing: I was immediately turned off by how course and choppy the writing was. I almost discarded the book out of hand as "not my thing". I kept with it and adjusted to the style, but it's not a strong point in this work.
Beyond style, some of the content choices were a turn off for me. All the wolf shifters in this book are super Barbie style white, and that rubs me the wrong way. The work is set in New York. Wolf shifters from around the world live here and not a single one of this huuuuuuuge wolf cast could be not white? Like it would have been cool for the advisor or the magic born or anyone really to have been not part of a generic casting call from the 50s.
Also, there's this "woman hierarchy" thing going on for wolf shifters that make no sense. I have no idea what Eve and Stone were thinking. Is it that women can only be powerful when all of them are in power? Was it just supposed to be for the "girl power" aspect? Another thing I hate hate hate hate hate about this book is a side theme about how powerful women are really just breeding horses for the species and pregnancy is dangerous for women's health. How you have a female centric hierarchy that hasn't found a way to make childbirth safe? And how can women lead if they need to be knocked up all the time and pop out babies?
Why were wolves' main adversaries bears? Bears don't live in packs. Why not ravens or rabbits or deer all of which are social animals that have a justifiable reason not to "like" wolves. And isn't it super convenient that their society seems to run better and is run by men?
Lastly, this book is really only setup for another book. I'm wary of reading series books because often times authors leave the reader with no resolution, just a ramp up for the next book. It's such a pet peeve, that the practice has soured me on reading series books, just in case this is the time the author does that. This book is all set up for the next in line. I mind it less because it's obvious what comes next, but I still can't support anyone who does this.
Plot: There's a lot going on in this book and that's good. All of the elements make sense, feel connected, and builds on each other. We could have been spared the fight over who became queen. Instead, Arriana could have immediately taken over power as the next in line. We could have watched Selene be jealous, with her next in line, and see her try to undermine Arriana. We still could have had a mysterious difficult counsel. The trials were both not necessary and terrible. Heck, in some ways I think it would have been better of Arriana to grow up royalty, engage with the bear family all the time and for the two to have an established secret friendship. They could bond over their disdain for the "old guard" way of thinking.
I do appreciate how the fae element is playing out plot wise. The way fae are handled is well done and the reasoning for two warring factions to come together is clear. I'm intersted to learn more about the fae and the previous queen.
While flawed, Queen Heir is a quick enjoyable read. It provides action and glimmers of interesting lore. I'd reccomend this book to a younger crowd and anyone interested in light quick reading. The key is to go with this story and think about it as little as possible.