The Dead Queens Club

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

I received a copy of this book for a fair and honest review. This was a crazy and over the top YA retelling of Henry VIII. The story is told from Cleveland's point of view and sometimes she could be a bit much too handle. There were times the story was just funny and other times when it got a little dark and strange. There were a few times that I kept wondering what was going to happen and who was behind all of this. The little bit of mystery added to the dynamic of the whole tale. I would considering reading more by this author.
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This book. THIS BOOK. It was so good! It was twisty and turnsy and it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I ADORED our narrator Cleves, I even adored Henry (even knowing I shouldn't! That it wouldn't turn out well!)

The way Hannah Capin spun the story had me rooting against the other girls until suddenly, suddenly — they were, quite obviously, the queens.

Masterfully done and I cannot wait to read all the rest of her books.
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I really liked the idea of this book, I just wish it hadn't been so long. The hardest part about reading it was how confusing it was. Cleve just goes back and forth so much it was hard to follow. Overall an OK read. I would still recommend to others and would like to check out more by this author.
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I am usually a big fan of historical fiction but this was one was lost on me. I rated three stars because Hannah writing was amazing, I love that it was a reimagining of a Historical moment of history but I think the whole Henry8th story didnt quite reach me. I think I would love this more if it was about Henry mother or even grandmother. I can't wait to give more of Hannah books a chance thou because I do love how she lays out a story plot.
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Not the best or my favorite book of all time, but for a YA retelling of the Tudors I wouldn’t say it was bad. For the most part I was entertained, but more so by every character that wasn’t Cleves. It was kind of struggle to be in her head as you really want to shake her and yell in her face for the majority of the book. She definitely came off like the kid of the group. The other ‘queens’ were much more interesting, and I would’ve enjoyed more time with all of them, to be honest. For a story as bloody and gruesome as King Henry VIII and his wives, this YA story did a pretty good job of interpreting the whole tragic story.

Not sure who exactly I would recommend this to, but it would probably be a good beach/vacation read?

Received via Netgalley. All reviews and opinions are expressly my own
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After reading this, I feel like I need to catch up on the story of Henry VIII. I'm sure there were little parts in the book that didn't come across as well as they would have if I had been more knowledgeable. It was still an enjoyable read with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. 

I did have a little bit of a problem keeping some of the characters straight. There are some that are mentioned and explain some of the plot, but they are not truly characters in the books. It's like a background character in a movie, something they do may be important, but you are going to remember the main characters more. I guess in a way it's okay that I couldn't remember the differences between some of the background characters. I was able to understand the importance of their experiences. 

For me, I have to wonder just how good the cops were that investigated the situations. It seems like there were enough things that didn't add up for them to question their findings, but they never seemed to. 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Author: Hannah Capin
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN (US & Canada) and Inkyard Press
Publication Date: 29 Jan 2019
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I never expected to read a feminist twist to the story of Henry VIII and his six wives. The Dead Queens Club provides that along with a funny, sarcasm laced, modern take. This may not appeal to those looking for a more historically accurate read but those wanting a fresh take on this story will find much to enjoy within these pages.

The adapting of King Henry VIII's reign to a highschool setting works incredibly well. It's dramatic and filled with heightened emotions. It fits within a setting that breeds rumours and gossip as naturally as breathing. The setting is helped by the winks to the historical inspiration of this story. Many of the side characters are ones that history enthusiasts will recognize. The six girlfriends easily represent the six wives with fun details woven in for those Tudor obsessed. It's all done in a way that isn't overt and allows the story to go outside its inspiration. Some of my favourite details are the way Jane Seymour's Jane Seymour-ness was written into the story, the way Anne Boleyn's iconic necklace was woven into the story, Henry's obvious insecurity, and the portrayal of the character who represents Jane Parker. She is a character often vilified in recounts of this story so what was done with her here was a little more interesting.

The stories of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard have always angered me.  The smear campaign, slut shaming, and overall character assassinations these ladies endured was nothing short of a travesty. Capin, obviously, shares this anger (and has an apparent soft spot for Katherine Howard). She twists their story into something empowering. It becomes a story of support and sisterhood. It, at times, made my heart soar with how these ladies were portrayed. Their defense is something this book gets incredibly right. Both Anna and Katie were more than their reputations within this novel and I appreciated that care was taken for us to get to know both of them, even though Anna is already dead when the story begins. Along with slut shaming other topics like toxic masculinity and gaslighting are also represented with the snark and wit that the main character dishes out at every turn.

Cleves (aka Henry's fourth girlfriend) is the type of character that many will label 'unlikeable'. I personally loved her. Her anti-slut shaming rants are thing of beauty and she's intelligent if a little unfocused. She may be indecisive at times, and may hide behind her sharp wit but she's quick to defend those in need. She's also relateable in that she isn't sure she what she wants from her future. She's a teen who is still figuring it out. I think that will resonate with a lot of people in comparison to some of the other characters. She isn't perfect but I think that makes her a much more interesting character.

My only real issues with this novel are some pacing issues as it feels uneven at times and that I wanted more time with the other characters. I was intrigued by so many of them and just wanted to see them developed a little bit more. It worked for me overall which is why I will be looking forward to whatever Hannah Capin writes next.

Those looking for a very different take on the drama of Henry VIII will want to snap this one up. It's a clever take that gives the focus to the women instead of the tyrannical nightmare that was Henry. It celebrates female friendship, overthrowing the patriarchy, and manages to be a fun read in the process. Long live the queens, indeed!
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Though I never planned to review this book, or even finish it, I did, because Goodreads showed me I was still reading it, and I felt guilty abandoning a book without finishing. I was maybe a hundred pages in when I stopped reading the first time, and the plot hadn't moved, which is why I gave up on trying to finish it. 

I finally read through the whole thing today, and I wasn't any less disappointed. The plot just took too long to take off. Remember those plot charts we did in elementary school, with the whole exposition, rising action, climax, and falling action? This book was 50% exposition. 

Cleves was a good character, who always supported her friend Henry, even when he messed up with a girl. Girl, you can't call yourself a feminist when you always support Henry, even when he's wrong. But then again, loyalty to a friend is much appreciated, so I forgave her. 

The retelling aspect seemed a little off, in the sense that all the dead girlfriends weren't really addressed until it was absolutely needed by the plot, which would not happen in a real life situation, but I get it, you do what you gotta do for the plot. 

I love that the author made all her characters three dimensional, and not just told from Henry's skewed perspective because it really helped me sympathize with them. 


Overall, 4/5, knocking off a star for the slow start but overall great finish.
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I so badly wanted to love this one. That cover is to die for!! But it was just a stupid high school drama with no actual substance. So unfortunate.
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Thank you to Netgalley and Inkyard Press for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

I grew up reading about Henry VIII and his wives (Anne Boleyn was my favorite), so when I found this retelling, I was so excited to read it. The narrative centering around Anne "of Cleves" seemed to be a down-to-earth story with a thrilling murder mystery element. However, I was a bit disappointed by parts of the execution. 

First, the good: I appreciated Cleves' narration. She was funny and curious, and best of all, a journalist! I love reading about high school journalism because of the character archetype: a plucky investigator who will stop at nothing to uncover the truth and usually discover something about themselves along the way. Cleves did not disappoint. 

It was also fun to see the modern personas of the 6 wives, and reading about their historical achievements represented as modern-day teenage pursuits. Their representations were suprisingly accurate for having been translated into teenagers. I was impressed with Capin's work.

The bad: So much petty drama. A strange amount, even though I suppose it represents court politics. Everything felt very minimized, even the murders of two girls. I've seen some people criticizing Cleves' treatment of other women, but I think that was something that folks who DNF'd didn't get to read about, because I actually appreciated how that was resolved. If you DNF'd, I would advise finishing, because the book's ending was my favorite part. It gets better. 

Overall, any problems were "me" problems. I think I read this book as a drama with a hint of comedy, when it's actually the reverse. I expected the atmosphere to be different, less cavalier about some of the plot points. 4/5 stars for a fun historical read, with an intriguing mystery element.
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THIS WAS SO GOOD; everyone go read it now! 

I know Veronica Mars comps are overdone but truly if you want Henry VIII and his wives done in the style of Veronica Mars meets Mean Girls, this is the book for you. It was WONDERFUL and WITTY and DELIGHTFUL and Cleves was an absolute perfect protagonist, and even though you think you know how this goes down, I still found myself questioning everything because of how insidiously good this was at creating its plot. I would say spoilers but well history lol.

Go read! Long live the queens.
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This book was a slow burn for me. 
I was intimidated by the length. 500+ pages...could have been trimmed, if I'm being honest.

I felt like there were a lot of moments in this book that were a bit slow, and there was a little bit too much interaction between characters that felt a little forced. Also, Cleves leaned almost too far into manic pixie dream girl with the constant witty and "quirky" comebacks throughout the story. Also as an aside, some of the Tumblr references were inaccurate and don't represent real experiences interacting with the website.

Overall, though, despite my minor issues with the story, I thought it was a fun modern take on a historical retelling. I think it would be a hit with many readers, even if it wasn't for me.
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I was unable to get into this book. It sounds really cute — a modern take on Henry VIII and his wives, but set in high school. However, I’m just not into historical elements and it was too much for me. This makes me sad, because it’s orobsbly a really good book!
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I changed this from four to five stars and then back again like seven times. Because the ending, the last hundred pages or so, is a 25 star worthy read. But the first three hundred had some issues for me. I am landing on like 4.49 stars. Which is great. And this is incredible in so many ways.

The premise is amazing and drew me in immediately. Give me ANY historical retelling set in modern day with girls saying fuck and I'm in. I'm there. I especially liked this idea, though. And the name is magic.

The characters are my favorite thing about The Dead Queens Club. There is some serious #squadgoals in terms of girl friendship here. Our narrator, Cleveland, is so about supporting other girls and absolutely never judging women for their lifestyle (she starts an online alternate school newspaper because the editor of the school newspaper won't let her publish an article about slut-shaming). In YA I see A LOT that when someone writes the Edgy Artsy Girl, she has to be awful to girls who aren't edgy and artsy and who like makeup and cheerleading and Cleveland is supportive to all girls and their choices and that is effing wonderful to read.

A lot of the criticism I've seen surrounds Cleveland being mini-feminist numero uno but still letting Henry manipulate her and use her and she really does let her world revolve around him. But I think it's important that YA be realistic in that a girl with a crush will let the object of her affection get away with an awful lot before she's had enough, and the important thing is that she DOES eventually have enough so girls reading are inspired by how maybe they've let someone give them the business but hey, if this character can move on, so can they. And Cleveland's comeback is simply stunning.

I did have some pacing issues. It's hard to explain, because it's not that this was ever boring, per se, but it's just so on. I seriously can't think of how else to put it. We're in first person narration from a girl who jokes, not an exaggeration, on nearly every single line. Don't get me wrong. I love witty. I love jokes. But the frequency with which Cleveland has to have a snarky internal monologue is just mildly absurd. And had this been less pithy, even by half, it could have been a more reasonable length for a contemporary YA novel. I could have gotten to the last hundred pages, which made me gasp and scream and cry a little, way sooner. Rather than having taken more than two months to read this.

Overall I love this and I'm stoked as hell that it exists. 

*Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for access to this novel in exchange for an honest review.*
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I love retellings, but I haven't read many retellings of historical events. So when I saw this book on NetGalley I knew I had to read it. 

I had an interesting time with The Dead Queens Club. At first I didn't really care for the narration style. It's first person told by Cleves, Henry's ex-girlfriend but still friend. Cleves is sarcastic and witty, but for whatever reason it grated on me at first. It took me a good 25% in to finally start laughing and feeling interested in the style. I think that's because the plot picks up more around that point. 

Cleves is a great character. She's broken up with Henry, been his friend for years but still isn't over him. It makes her the perfect character to watch the events that unfold. I loved how feminist she is in the story, she calls out slut-shaming and gossip right and left. But she also isn't perfect, she certainly had to learned how to be more feminist over the story. 

The plot itself is dramatic, but also the life of Henry 8 was dramatic! And honestly I thought a retelling set in a high school was brilliant. I've read a fair amount about Henry and his six wives, but the politics of the time still confuse me.  But for whatever reason, this book added some new angles to the story that made sense to me, and were fascinating. I thought the murder mystery aspect of the story was great. I loved how the girls banded together and supported each other.  This book is about girls having each other's backs and I am so here for that. 

In the end I gave the book four stars, it took a little bit to get into but it was well worth the read.
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First of all, shout out to this book for taking place in my home state and including real places in Indiana. Of course, this doesn't affect my overall rating of it.

I had no idea that The Dead Queens Club was supposed to be a retelling of King George VIII and his multiple wives until I read the synopsis, which was after I started the book. I think it's a good thing that you can't necessarily tell, though, because it makes The Dead Queens Club not as predictable as a simple retelling (but maybe that's because I know nothing about George's history). 

I liked this book, but it has its issues-- the main one being that it tried to be something like Pretty Little Liars, but didn't reach the mark. This novel was good, but it could have been a lot shorter than the almost 500 pages it was. There's so much character interaction between the many girls in this book that it was too much. Almost nothing happens in the middle of the book, but the ending makes the slow build-up worth it.

I liked the premise of The Dead Queens Club and how it was an alternate history that wasn't much like the real thing because of its modern-day setting and characters with first-world problems. Overall, the book was good enough for what it was and I did thoroughly enjoy it-- it just wasn't anything special.

I do have to add that the Tumblr aspect of it was mostly accurate, but not completely. Sure, getting 900 notes on a new blog's original post is pretty good, but it's not "going prime-time"; also, no "actual blog" is going to send you an ask about being featured on their website because Tumblr doesn't have any "actual" blogs-- the accounts all run by teenagers who get famous by posting memes.
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Thank you Net Galley for the ebook in exchange for an honest review. 

I grabbed this book because I loved the title and the cover-little did I know that it was a modern take on Henry VIII and his wives! If you are into this moment of history, I think you would enjoy the connections you can make with characters throughout this book. 

I did think it could have moved a little faster. I found myself wanting to get to the next page and next event. One of my favorite parts was the girls coming together.
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For the most part, I liked this book. The reimagining was different and fun and made history more interesting. However, I did have a bit of a qualm with certain parts of this book, and that was Cleves. I felt like her character tried too hard to be this different, interesting and witty character that she really wasn't. It made her extremely less realistic to always have some sort of witty comeback. It just felt too forced. 

It was also a tad long, but other than those I mostly liked it - I'm a huge fan of mysteries and this definitely checked that box. Worth a read!
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I loooved the idea of this book. I like history, I like historical romance's when I am in the mood. So I figured this YA rendition of Henry VIII's wives would be right up my ally....sadly it was not. 
I had to force myself through this book. Many times I actually contemplate stopping all together but sheer stubbornness pushed me through it. 
The ending sort of saved it for me but it was a lot of work to get there. And something that I am not really willing to go through again. I loved the idea but the follow through was not up to par sadly.
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I really enjoyed this book! I've always loved reading about Henry the 8th and all his wives, and this book put a fresh spin on it. In the beginning, you can't help but like Henry, all the while shaking your head at his poor choices in girlfriends. But his and Cleves' friendship is super cool. I love the way the author writes this retelling. It's a super interesting and super thrilling read.
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