The Dead Queens Club

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

I absolutely enjoyed this reimagining of Henry the VIII in modern day. I went into this book knowing a bit about ol' Henry, but some things struck me, so as I hit up Google while reading certain sections, it was really cool seeing how much truth was incorporated into this tale. Very tense moments and a tense ending that had me stressed till the very end. Great book!
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I am a hardcore history buff and a sucker for Tudor England. So when I found our about this re-telling of Henry VIII and his wives set in a modern high school, I said sign me up! Unfortunately I had a hard time staying interested and the length of the book didn't help. If it were about 100 or so pages shorter I probably could have kept pushing but I found the narrator to be annoying and the story confusing. It makes me very sad as I was looking very much forward to reading this book. Concept was awesome the execution not so much.
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I finished this last night but had to sleep on it. When you read a 450+ page book in one day it kind of attacks your brain like a hoard of little termites causing you to think of little else. Thankfully the termites were gone when I woke up so now I'm going to try to bang out a coherent review.

I liked this book more than my starring suggests, but - a big ol' but - I had some problems with it that I felt a higher rating would be a stretch. So, yes. I enjoyed it. But.

But why on earth were these teenagers so quick-witted? God knows I was an annoyingly quick-witted teenager - hello, sixteen year old kayla, have you met your un-biological twin sister Cleves? - but these kids never stopped. In real life at some point someone would have run out of dry, witty, and/or sarcastic remarks, wouldn't they? So, yeah, it got to a point where the writing changed from Really Fun and Snappy and Unlike Anything I've Read Recently, to How Do These Children Have So Many Funny Thoughts [insert fourteen question marks here]. Breaking: they don't. (If you've read it you know why that's funny - or not funny depending on many times your brain can handle reading the word breaking before imploding.)

Cleves being introduced as Cleveland to adults and teachers calling her Cleves instead of Annie is just borderline ridiculous, but I supposed it's not the most ridiculous thing in a retelling of Henry VIII and all his wives. To be perfectly frank I don't know much about dear ol' Henry. I two (2) history classes in university and one was The 10 Days That Shaped The World or something which is, like, odd, because we definitely learned more than 10 events? I think. I dropped it before the last exam because This Girl Couldn't Be Bothered! The other class was an ancient history class that was full of BORING FACTS. Why did we need two months on pottery? On urns? Why was there almost no exciting information??? The second I could leave that exam I did and guess what, readers? I PASSED! And stayed bitter about how boring the class was to this day ~7~ years later.  BUT I DIGRESS.

So I don't know much about Henry VIII. Lots of wives, some dead, etc. I never watched the Tudors or read The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels Series (I will read them one day seeing as I own a bunch). I was hoping THE DEAD QUEENS CLUB could teach me a little bit - and it did. Kind of. Maybe? Not sure because as I said, 458 pages in one day is A Lot. The writing just pulled me in despite nothing happening for a good chunk of the first half; one hundred pages could have been cut from the middle and not one thing would have to be changed. 

I would've liked the switch from past to present to in-between to be a little more obvious as the narrative jumped a lot. The plot was messy. I have to say it. I don't know if that was purposeful due to the insanity that Henry's life was or if it was because it was an arc, but god. I was told so much? But nothing? Do I even know what happened in this book? Whom knows.

Why on earth was Cleves so wishy-washy? She was so strong and opinionated for everything in her life that wasn't Henry. I understand the crush aspect - who hasn't had a crush one someone that you think hung the moon? - but when she is being given HEAPS on HEAPS of evidence why does she push back it so much BUT ALSO BELIEVE IT but also push back and Oh My God, No, He Couldn't Have Done That except what if he did? It was, like, five straight chapters of this. Just pick a side and take a nap, girl, honestly.

The chapter titles were very funny and I wish I had saved my favourite ones, but alas. I was hurtling towards the end trying to guess how it would end - remember, all I really know about Henry VIII is that he's dead 'cause he's ancient, so. - and forgot to tab the funniest ones. But I really enjoyed them.

So despite my average rating, it was enjoyable. But messy. BUT I am very excited to read Capin's next novel at some point - it comes out in 2020 but these greedy girl is going to try and get her hands on an arc - because it's a retelling of Macbeth.  

Big thanks to Harlequin TEEN & Inkyard Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed reading this book. I love anything to do with King Henry VIII, so when I saw the description of this book I had to pick it up! I loved this modern day retelling of Henry VIII and his six wives (I mean girlfriends!). It kept me on the edge of my seat, and I found I couldn't put it down. I loved Cleves and Henry's relationship. I loved little Katie. This was a masterful retelling with a great modern twist!
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I received a copy of the Dead Queens Club from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

You know what.  I really enjoyed this book.  I really, really enjoyed it.  The book was pitched as Mean Girls meets The Tudors.  I didn't get that "Mean Girls" feel, but it did remind me of John Tucker Must Die, which is less popular, but I sure do love that movie.  So think more like John Tucker Must Die/The Heathers meets 10 Things I Hate About You.  This is a retelling of Henry VIII in present day high school drama with a lot of fun subtle historical reference.  Some made me roll my eyes, others I just laughed and like, dang Anne Boleyn's mottos were expertly used throughout.

If you're the type that love a good old fashioned teen movie and history, check this book out.  There was something "iconic" in the way high school was presented as the main character, "Anne of Cleves" slowly realizes something is very, very wrong with her friend Henry after not one, but two of his recent girlfriends dies.  

It's history, teen drama, mystery, and a little intense at moments because let's be real.  Men are terrifying.
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There was so much to enjoy about THE DEAD QUEENS CLUB! The voice was fantastic. However, I did find myself getting lost in the plot. There’s a lot of shifting back and forth between the past and present timelines without much demarcation. It was confusing, especially in the ARC format (to no fault of the book) but I struggled.

Cleves is a witty, entertaining protagonist, even if she was frustratingly indecisive. Occasionally it felt as if her voice was too curated, and it pulled me from the story. The history and feminism worked so well and was enjoyable. The girls striking back against toxic masculinity is timely and important, yet I couldn’t suspend my disbeliefs when it came to the plot.

Overall, a mixed experience. The author has a great voice and shows skilled character development; I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for their future works.
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I requested this book because I love history and am interested in the Henry VII and his life and so a modern YA retelling sounded liked a slam dunk to me. Unfortunately, I could not finish this book. I got very confused and it seemed to be a little all over the place. I guess trying to compare a crazy king who had many of his wives beheaded doesn't translate well to high school drama. 

One of the things that made this the hardest to read was the formatting. I know it is an ARC and the formatting will changed when it is published but it was pretty unreadable.
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The Dead Queens Club was on my list for most anticipated book for 2019. However, this was really kind of a mess. The plot was SO hard to follow. I had to keep re-reading to figure out what was going on. I really struggled to finish this book, which rarely happens to me. It was just almost impossible to figure out what was happening and to whom. If you can make it to the ending, then you'll appreciate it. The humor was good at points but sometimes it just felt forced. I normally love snark but this didn't feel natural. Overall, this book is okay, if you can make it the end you'll probably enjoy it.
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Firstly, I will admit that I know next to nothing about history, let alone about Henry VIII, so I'm sure someone who actually knows the history about him will probably enjoy this more than I did if this was a good modern retelling. 

Now, about the actual book. In general, I did not find any of the characters particularly likable, especially Cleves. I find her personality to be quite grating. It's as if the author tried a bit too hard in attempting to make her a relatable girl by making her quirky and the "not the typical girl" kind of gal. Probably the "best" character out of the lot of characters is Cat, but she didn't grow on me until like 3/4 into the book, which is also when she actually shows her true colors. This is unfortunate since it would have made the story much more interesting if she had done that earlier. 

I would also like to comment on the pacing of the story. Firstly, I found the first half of the book kind of boring and a bit unnecessary to the plot since nothing important really happened. In fact, the story itself does not start to move until halfway through the book and approximately 3/4 way in the action really starts to happen. Maybe it was just me, but I found that the placing of the flashbacks was not done that well, as the jumping from the past to the present got confusing at times as it was not consistent, or maybe it was and I just never noticed (if that's the case then just disregard this comment). 

Lastly, I would also like to say that the ending wasn't bad, but it could've ended better, as I felt a bit unsatisfied. Perhaps an epilogue could have fixed this problem, as it would be nice to know what happened in the aftermath of the whole incident and what happened to the girls because admittedly, they were an awesome group that worked well together. 

Overall, I thought this was okay. Nothing outstanding, so don't be surprised if you're not entertained at first, but it does pick up later if you stick around for it.
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Disclosures first: I received this book from NetGalley for review purposes. I also don't do spoilers in reviews so this may be very vague. I'm sorry now!

I'm going to be honest, I really didn't think this was my kind of book. I love YA and a bit of a history geek but I generally hate modern adaptations of historical events. I didn't hate this.

Turning Henry VIII into the king of high school and his six wives into the six girlfriends of a serial monogamist was genius. Making Anne of Cleves, Henry's shortest marriage and the wife later referred to as his "beloved sister', the narrator was also a brilliant move. 

Espionage, drama, murder mastery, girl gangs, and sarcastic feminism round out a humorous take on a historical reality. There's enough true history and artistic license that history buffs and history haters a like will enjoy this novel. 

Join the Dead Queens Club now and enjoy the roller coaster.
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As someone who loved learning about Henry VII and his wives (especially Anne Boleyn), this novel was right up my alley in terms of interest. I will say that the novel started out slow and I did not know if I would finish it, but when the action hits, it hits hard and it was hard to put down in the end. The girls are not playing any games when it came to justice! I really loved that this brought a new look to the Henry VIII story and made it extremely easy to relate to for teenagers and connect with the setting being high school and none of the girls being true royalty. I would recommend this book to students who are interested in historical fiction and want new twists or just want a more modern look at history.
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Hello, I will be publishing this review to my Instagram, Goodreads, and blog on January 8th,2019. I will also publish it onto Amazon and Barnes & Noble on the publication date of January 29th, 2019. I will add the links to the reviews when they go public, thank you. 

Title: The Dead Queens Club
Author: Hannah Capin
Publication Date: January 29th, 2019
Rating: 3 stars
eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley

The Dead Queens Club is a retelling of Henry VIII with high school girlfriends instead of wives. It is told in the PoV of his close friend Annie Marck aka Cleve who is a school journalist. She tries to find out the truth of what happened to his exes before another one bites the dust.

When I started this I didn't know what to expect. Sometimes retellings are great while others fall short. With this one, the high school setting really fits because sometimes high school can feel like a royal court. There is always drama no matter what. I also liked it being about girlfriends because it makes it more relatable. Now a days, there has been a lot of talk about women empowerment and women coming together  to support one another. The author does a great job building up the relationships between the girls all the way up until the end. The titles for the chapters were interesting because they were meant to be like news headlines.

The reason I'm  not sure about it is because there was a lot going on. It was like the movie Mean Girls but on steroids and it was just a little too much for me at times. I also wasn't a fan of the writing style. I did end up reading it in one sitting because I just wanted to know where it was going so obviously it wasn't all bad!

If you want to go on a crazy ride of high school drama, mean girls, and deadly relationships this book is for you!
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I received a copy of the Dead Queens Club from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I really liked the idea of this novel and maybe I wasn't in the right mood for this one when I tried reading it. I just couldn't connect with any of the characters and the timeline was a little jumbled which left me feeling disconnected from the book. I might revisit this book at a later date because a book that has a high school setting and is a retelling of Henry VIII is so genius that I want to love this one.
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I received a copy of the Dead Queens Club from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.It's really lovely to read a book by someone who loves history as much as you do. I really liked the attention to detail and how lively the characters were. There were a few parts that made me cry.
I really liked Annie  Marck. This book is not just a historical retelling but a rumination on toxic friendships and internalized misogyny.
Long live the Queens.
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An intriguing reinvention of the wives of Henry VIII, down to Henry the magnetic jock's football jersey number being 8. Some of the parallels were fairly obvious, some had me itching to google details (but alas, I was reading this on a plane and so my phone was stuck on airplane mode right along with me). This modern take is only slightly less deadly, but thankfully comes with a healthy helping of feminism just robust enough to be vocally against slut-shaming. For those who enjoy drama, there is plenty of it, and I really wasn't quite sure where the plot was going multiple times. It certainly ended up in a place different than I had originally expected, although I am thankful for how it went.
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I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Dead Queens Club was pitched as Mean Girls meets The Tudors and as a modern retelling of Henry VIII and his six wives, except Henry is now a high school senior and it’s his six girlfriends.

There will definitely be readers that love this one. Unfortunately, I did not. The book struggled with two main things: characterization and pacing.

This is a very lengthy debut for a contemporary: 464 pages. If a YA contemporary is going to be this length, it needs to have excellent pacing. This story did not. At times, the story dragged out, and the death alluded to in the summary doesn’t happen until more than a third of the way through the book. When this character dies, it was treated as an “oh well, that happened” by the main character Cleves even though Cleves called that character one of her two best friends. The only exploration of grief from the loss of a friend is from Parker, Cleves’ friend. Parker is far more interesting and more hellbent on revenge, convinced that Henry was responsible for that death as well as two previous deaths, and that’s what drives the rest of the story.

As for the main character Annie “Cleves,” this is where characterization seems to be a particular struggle. In a throwaway line, we learn that Cleves was adopted and is Chinese. She has a sister who is mentioned only a few times and is almost never seen on page despite living together. Cleves is infatuated with Henry and is unsure of what she wants to do for college. She also is very much into breaking down the different standards for the female gender. And that’s about it. Her character is very one-dimensional, and I felt very apathetic towards her because the author never gave me much of a reason to be rooting for her or to even care about her.

If I had not been approved for the eARC, I wouldn’t have finished this.

So much potential but fell flat.
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3.5 stars

Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived.

Annie Marck aka Cleveland aka Cleves is certain of one thing—Henry is her best friend and she's his right hand man. No matter what girl he's dating. And he's dated quite a few.

But strange things keep happening to Henry's girlfriends, and Cleves might be at the center of it all...
Okay, so lemme tell you what I loved.

I absolutely adored the Henry VIII parallel into modern day high school.

It works so damn well.

Granted, there are a couple of tweaks (compressing the timeline, girlfriends instead of wives, how Anna Boleyn and Katie Howard die, what happened to Jane), but so much 16th century gossipy goodness is packed into this story and there's a healthy dose of Shakespeare that I was in historical hog heaven the entire time.

There are just so many easter eggs planted throughout the story!

The Tower Anna Boleyn dies in. Henry's fitness and then his horrible, never-ending leg injury that he got doing a stupid stunt that Anna and co. goaded him into trying. Catalina Tortuga of Archibald-Callaway. That so many of the place names in Lancaster, Indiana, correspond to actual locations in Henry VIII's England. Cleves being Henry's bestie/sister and pretending like the marriage/relationship never happened. Many of the secondary and tertiary characters named like members of Henry's court. And on and on and on. None of these goodies are spoilers, btw.

I loved Cleves' snark and her voice. She's smart, but unfocused (more to that later) and has no freaking clue what the hell she's going to do after high school, and is low-key freaking out about it since all her friends have high flying plans and she's got nothing (sooooo relatable) besides tagging along with whatever Henry does (not so relatable but I can see it). She's also definitely got a heavy streak of sarcasm and a very interesting sense of fashion, so even if you have literally no clue why the God King himself would want her as a bestie, you're entertained by her zippy remarks.

And I really liked the climatic last portion of the story. It was tense, thrilling and as much chaotic as you would expect given what happened.

So what I wasn't so thrilled about:

Like Hamlet, Cleves might be smart, but she is indecisive as fuck. She takes her sweet time making her decisions, and she jumps about here and there with her actions and thoughts and comments, making her one hell of an unreliable narrator because you're never exactly sure what side she's really on. She whines about not being editor and hating Cat Parr who is editor, but makes a gajillion crappy editorial decisions, undermines Cat's authority at every turn and exhibits very few qualities that would make me feel like she could even have gotten into Overachiever's Camp in the first place.

In short, you want to smack her across the face and yell at her to focus and actually be the objective investigative reporter she claims to be.

Plus, aside from the thrilling last 10%, the entire last half of the story bogs down with the weight of Cleves' indecision and waffling. I really feel like a solid 100 pages could have been snipped away as cleanly as Ann Boleyn's head and nothing would have been lost from the book.

So reasons to read this book:

1. A creative historical Henry VIII gossip fest in a high school setting and it works
2. Feminist history that puts things into perspective
3. (view spoiler)
4. Snarky heroine and found-friends girl gang.
5. Fluff with a nice dose of teen craziness and gore.

I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
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This book was a party that I was way too excited to go to, and then once I got there it wasn't as great as I'd hoped, but I still had fun!

As someone who was far too obsessed with all things Tudor back in high school, all you have to say to me is "King Henry and all his wives, but set it in high school" and I'm sold. The story follows Anne, aka Cleves, the new girl at Lancaster High, and her best friend, Henry, football star and notorious serial dater. Even with minimal knowledge of King Henry VIII, you know how the rest of the story goes. But, what would've happened if all of his wives banded together to enact their revenge? The book reads as The Tudors meets John Tucker Must Die, and was truly a wild ride from start to finish.

The characters in this book are beautifully fleshed out and vivid, and are what truly carried the story for me. Each one of them had unique personalities and I never had trouble telling them apart, which is important when you've got such a big cast. I especially loved Parker, she was complex and layered and had such a unique perspective, interesting backstory, and crucial part of the plot. Truthfully, I would read just an entire book about her.

I also loved how well the little historical details were weaved throughout. From Henry's leg injury, to Anna's necklace, and how each girlfriend's backstory tied into one another. Condensing a large chunk of a country's history into one small town and a high school is a difficult task, but, the author made it seem easy and fairly seamless. The plot really didn't kick in until about the halfway point of the book, the first half reading as extensive backstory and exposition. But, once the action (and heads) finally started rolling, I went from struggling to get through it to finishing the the book in a matter of hours.

Unfortunately, I did have some issues with the writing and the narrator's voice. It often felt like the writing was working too hard to be quirky and overtly snarky or sarcastic, full of hyphenated, conglomerate words and improbable dialogue. It pulled me out of the book constantly and kept me from really getting invested until the action became more intense.

If the narration had been toned down I feel this book would have completely knocked me out of the park. It was still a fun read, but it didn't quite live up to all my expectations, which could easily have been my own fault. If you love well-done characters, murder mysteries, and high school antics, definitely check this book out!
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Grade: DNF

When did I stop reading?: 23% into my e-galley.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Well that was disappointing. The main problem with The Dead Queens Club stems from the fact that the narrative hops around constantly, going back in time and going forward with no real signals. Plus, there are a heck ton of characters to keep straight and no one's personality felt fully-formed. Also I felt like the author tried to make Henry likable? And there's no way anyone who's based on Henry VIII could be likable. I appreciated that Anne of Cleves was the narrator, but she just added nothing. I also didn't understand how anything worked at their high school, and I'm wondering if I'm too far removed from high school now?? (Dear God, I hope not.)

The Verdict: Maybe there's an audience for this book, but it's not me.
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I was excited to read this book, but unfortunately it did not meet my expectations. The idea was great, but it just didn't work for me. The main,problem was the pacing. It was soooooo slow and long. I get the need for the backstory but literally nothing happened for,the first half of,the book. And don't get me started on Cleveland. She drove me nuts with her willful blindness and constant excuses on Henry's behalf. Not a winner for me.
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