The Queens of Innis Lear

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

Absolutely LOVE this book. If you haven’t read up on Kind Lear, I recommend reading a synopsis before starting this book. 

Beautiful prose, although a little dense. I feel as though it could have said more, with less at times. 

Gratton wrote very strong female characters, and I loved each of the three sisters. This is the feminist Queendom you want to be immersed in. I found myself rereading passages quite often because of how powerful they were. I don’t want to say too much about this story, as I believe it’s best to be discovered as you turn the pages. 

Highly recommend this book! I’m off to order the beautiful UK edition to sit alongside the US hardcover! Happy reading!
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Didn't realize this was a sampler, but I still enjoyed what I read so far and I am intrigued to see what happens next and I hope it is as bloody as people say it is!
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I honestly had a really hard time getting into this book, I tried multiple times, I think it may have been the multiple perspectives.
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There wasn't anything that I disliked while reading, although it did get a little slow in places. Gratton's writing style is very...verbose. Not like purple prose, but she includes a lot of details in a way that I find is more characteristic to adult fantasy (such as The Night Circus and A Darker Shade of Magic) more so than young adult fantasy. There's lots of description and history interwoven into what's happening, and the paragraphs are a lot chunkier than what you might see in YA, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. 

But this did take a little bit of getting used to for me, a young adult reader, especially because the review copy didn't let me change the formatting and shoved an entire page in one phone screen, making me squint to see the extraordinarily tiny text. 

Oh yes, that definitely could have contributed to part of why I wasn't as into this book as I wanted to be--the digital copy had tiny text that was very bothersome. *sigh*

I did enjoy where the story was going though. I'm not too familiar with the King of Innis Lear fable, but I can definitely spot where Gratton wove parts of this in her own story. I think the sisterly (and family in general) dynamics were portrayed very well and there was a strong something bubbling up between them.
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With gorgeous writing and an intriguing retelling, Gratton made me a fan of Shakespeare—it totally counts.

I know the very basics of the original, so I don't know if that helps at all. But somehow, this tragedy was enjoyable. Everything is complex: from the plot down to the characters. The diversity of the characters. Just, everything is positive. 

I think I held back from rating it 5 stars simply because at times the writing kept the pacing slow.
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I was not aware this was a sampler when I requested it. I don't read those so I would not have requested if I had. I tried it and this has some serious potential as a retold King Lear. We shall see.
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Fascinating book with a unique plot!  This is not typically the type of book I choose, as I generally prefer male protagonists, but I was thoroughly hooked on this band of women and their adventures.  I read it non-stop and loved every minute!  Highly recommended.
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I had high hopes for THE QUEENS OF INNIS LEAR and, although I did very much enjoy it, it didn't blow me away. I had added it to my Goodreads TO BE READ pile long before I found it available on NetGalley. I wish to thank the publisher for allowing me to read a copy before its publication.

At first, it was desperately slow and I was pretty sure that I was going to DNF it. However, I continued, and i'm glad that I did as after the scene setting it started to pick up pace and I begun to appreciate it a lot more. So, if you are finding it hard getting through the beginning, I urge you to persist as it does get better. You also see that a lot of the details given are what make the rest of the book make sense.

I am pleased that this is described as an "epic adult fantasy" as there are some pretty bloody scenes and a rather graphic description of a miscarriage that would not be appropriate for teenagers. As it is based on the Shakespearean tragedy King Lear, the story encompasses a king with a lack of sanity and an obsession with prophecies, and his three daughters - Gaela, Reagan, and Elia who end up having to take matters into their own hands as their kingdom crumbles.

I'm a big fan of William Shakespeare, possibly the greatest storyteller who ever lived, this retelling is definitely worth a read. As you would expect with King Lear, there is much blood and brutality. It is basically a story following the King in his gradual descent into madness.

I know one complaint in many of the reviews of this title is the writing. People feel that Gratton's style bogged it down but many people also feel this about my favourite author, Haruki Murakami, so this for me worked wonderfully. I felt her writing was brilliant and bold. No complaints from me. I tend to love books that describe things in minute detail so her worldbuilding felt like heaven to me. A masterclass in how to construct a world, in my opinion.

Tessa Gratton is such a talent, I know I will be purchasing a copy of this for my bookshelf, and would be interested in reading any future titles she chooses to publish.

I would like to thank Tessa Gratton, the publisher, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This was a great. I really want the whole book and not just the preview now. Exited to read it! The cover is so gorgeous!!! The teaser is concise and I can't wait to see what happens next. This was only preview and not the whole book. 
I am hesitant to give this a star rating because it is a preview but I will go with 4/5 stars
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This book had a lot of potential to be interesting. I wanted it to be interesting. However, when a book makes me want to put it down within the prologue alone, because I feel bored and the language is over the top even for high fantasy, there's a problem. I was also not given the entire book and for that, I feel, I can not give an entire review. How can you tell someone how good a book is, or isn't, if you haven't read the entire thing? So, based on what I have, I give it a 2-star. The word building was only okay and the characters were decent. Nothing to write home about.
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Although I found the idea and concept of this book intriguing, the writing was dull and I couldn't connect with the characters. The confusing worldbuilding and the slow pacing, in combination with the fact that this was a sample rather than a full book (as I was first led to believe when I requested this) meant that I did not finish it.
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I received an e-arc copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I did not realize this was a King Lear retelling when I was first interested in reading this book and I have never read King Lear so I cannot compare the two. 

I thought this book was ok with some interesting moments, but overall, it was a little too boring and slow-paced for me. Nothing happens in this book. Literally, nothing. Some people travel for a meeting, said people meet, some people get mad about the meeting, and that's about it. There wasn't enough plot for me and it was a little all over the place.
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Three daughters battle for the crown in this epic fantasy. The house is divided and everyone has their own plan. These three strong women will have you questioning and then agreeing with their decisions. Can they bring back magic without destroying all around them? I couldn’t put this book down and I was so drawn into the world that was built. Hurry up and pick this book!
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Absolutely loved this book! It was such an interesting read and kept me hooked pretty much the whole time. The character development throughout this book was absolutely amazing. It took awhile to get into the actual plot but after it did it got even better! I didn’t realize it was a retelling of King Lear, which made it even better after I realized. It’s set on an island where water and earth magic is blocked by the king and he doesn’t realize his Kingdom is starting to break down.  His daughters start to plot against him... amazing read
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I did not finish this book. 
I tried, I got nearly 20% of the way through. It may have gotten better after that.
This is one of those books that felt like things were just a little off. 
I really struggled reading it. I had to force myself to pick it up and as soon as I feel I have to do that with a book, then I know my reading experience is only downhill from there.
The writing was beautiful, but it was so beautiful that I got lost and none of the words actually sunk in. 
I couldn't connect to the characters, and the story felt too far away from them. 
It just didn't come together for me. 
It had a lot of potential, and it may have gotten better, but I struggled to get through it.
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Love that this is a fantasy retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear. More Shakespeare retellings! 
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This book was well-written, it’s character-driven and the characters are well-drawn.  There’s not a lot of action in this book, but I feel the Ms. Gratton did this to set up the story that will continue in future books.  The story is filled with metaphors and symbolism that I found beautiful.  It has betrayals, intrigues both personal and political, hidden motives and secrets.  It is written with different POV’x (six is my count is correct) so the reader needs to pay attention.

King Lear is the ruler of an island nation that has two different types of magic; he follows the star-based magic of the stars which deal with prophecies and despises the other magic of the soil and root water and springs.  After the death of his wife he covered most of the wells causing unrest. He is old, cruel and losing his mind.  He has three daughters and each one is different; the two eldest Gaela and Regan are close and they have always ignored their youngest sister, Elia.

As the eldest, Gaela expects to inherit the throne from her father, she is filled with anger and rage, she trains as a warrior and intends to be a warrior-queen when she has the throne.  She is married, but the only reason is because she need the men that he husband has; she despises him and has no intention of bearing his children or the child of any man.  She sees her sister, Regan as more of a partner than her husband but she would destroy her if she thought that she would try to take the throne from her.  Although she doesn’t believe in either type of magic she is content to let the people worship as they please if they obey her.

Regan, is a witch who uses the magic of the earth and water for her own purposes.  She is madly in love with her husband and longs to give him a child but has been unable to carry one to fruition.  Gaela has told her that it will be her child that will inherit the throne from her and while she has some aspirations for the throne it is only because of her husband; if she were queen she would be the figurehead and he would be the ruler.  Both she and Gaela believe that father had something to do with the death of their mother.

Elia is the youngest child and the favorite of their father, she follows his worship of the stars and constellations.  As a child she also had some knowledge of the earth-based magic.  She had a friend, Ban who was the bastard son of the earl of Errigal who taught her about this magic.  Her father disapproved of the friendship between the two of them and had his father banish him from Leer six years ago.  Since this she has mostly forgotten what she knew of the other type of magic.  She has no aspirations for the throne and wants to be a priestess to the stars.  Over the years she has tried to get closer to her sisters but they have always rebuffed her efforts.  She does not believe that her father had anything to do with the death of their mother and this is just one more thing they hold against her.

Ban has become a deadly soldier known as The Fox for the king of the nearby kingdom of Aremoria, Morimaros who wants to marry Elia.  I think this will become a love triangle in subsequent books which is one of my least favorite plots.  However, I did enjoy this novel and will probably read the next one.

4.25/5 Stars:  **I received a free digital ARC in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.  I sincerely thank the author and/or publisher for providing an ARC through NetGalley,.**
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First lovely thanks to Tessa Gratton, Tor Books and Netgalley for giving me an oppurtunity to read this tale for free in exchange for an honest opinion.

I had no idea that this was in short a retelling because as someone who has not read Shakespeare "King Lear" since high school, and not for fun mind you, this lavish tale can be read on it's own and it's beautifully well done.
Gratton has done an amazing job in creating this world and the the POC cast within is also just so brilliant that this can be read independent from the Shakespeare tale as I read maybe 3/4 in before realizing why it sounded oddly familiar. Right from the prologue, my attention was snagged and I kept reading till I was done which doesn't happen as often any more. Gratton, has in her writing, taken the basics of the established characters, added her own twist in order to make them feel new and still respective of the originals as her world is a bit more bleaker and gray around the edges than what Shakespeare originally wrote.

After having some time to think about it, I still come back to the princesses as not only were they a focus of the book, Gratton allowed them to have individual voices and thoughts that really spearheaded who they were as individuals and women in the ever changing man's world they are trying to reign over and the fact that they are women of color, really made that feel more modern as they were not just separated from each other, but themselves as well as the inhabitants of the island.
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really enjoyed the characters and plot of this book.  Thank you for allowing me to read.  I will follow this author for more books
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This review and many others, both german and english, can also be found on my blog. 
 Diese und viele weitere Rezensionen, auf deutsch und englisch, findet ihr auch auf meinem Blog.  
Ravenclaw Threadsister


I was actually drawn to this book because of its cover.  It’s really beautiful and promises a darkish story with lots of intrigue and scheming.  The synopsis was quite vague, which only intrigued me more.

Sadly I was a little disappointed with the book. It was neither particularly dark nor was there much intrigue.
I was very confused in general and it took me a while to really get into the book and follow the plot. There where various different POVs , which took away from the plot and the characters.
I usually like multiple POVs but here it didn’t do anything for the story. While we were able to see things we wouldn’t have otherwise seen I didn’t like the POVS of Regan and Gaela or Aefa.  I think they only served to spread out the plot even more, which made the whole story seem out of flow.

I’m not too sure what to think of any of the characters to be honest. I think I could like both Ban and Elia but the way they are portrayed in this book is way too superficial and confusing.
I don’t really know how to put it into words but I didn’t connect with any of the characters.
The relationship between Regan and Gaela seemed really wired to me, I just didn’t understand it. I was never sure if they were “just” sisters or even lovers or how deep their relationship ran.
I was really appalled at how they treated Elia, especially because there was no real reason why. Or there was no reason the reader is aware of. Which pretty much sums up the book for me.

One thing that might explain a lot of my confusion is something I read in a review, but only after having finished the book. One reviewer mentioned that she thought that being familiar with “King Lear” would be a good base for understanding the story.
While I know the name “King Lear”, prior to having read the review I wouldn’t have been able to tell you whether it was the name of a book/play/poem or of a real person, historical, modern or anything else. I wasn’t even aware that this book was based on something else.

I still rated it 3 stars as I enjoyed reading it despite all the confusion and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
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