The Dead Queens Club

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

YES this book was excellent. I was cackling the whole way through. I heard about it on recommendation from several trusted friends, and they didn't let me down. Plus...I mean...Mean Girls meets Henry VIII? Sign me up. I don't usually like funny books, but this one delivered.
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Absolutely riveting! I could not get enough of The Dead Queens Club. It was fun, witty, and dark. This book was tiny glimpse of history mixed with John Tucker Must Die. A must-read!
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Rating: 3.5 Stars

I am going to start by saying I am not well educated in all things Tudors, and though I recognized who was who in this retelling, I could not trace each and every act back to the original. What I will say is that I was throughly entertained by this book. I was a big fan of Cleves. She was snarky, witty, and her commentary often made me laugh. Her narration was one of the things that kept me reading. 

Knowing what I know about Henry VIII, I expected a lot of drama, and Capin really delivered there. Wow! It's dramarama, but instead of being repelled, I was drawn into it. It was fun and there was a lot of humor and interesting social commentary, but I will admit, that there were a few times I got lost in the story. There is a LOT going on, and with quite a few threads intermingling, it got a bit muddy for me. 

With that said, I still rather enjoyed the book. Was it perfect? No. Was it an intriguing historical interpretation? Absolutely.
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The Dead Queens Club is truly unique. Henry VIII goes to high school. Still tyrannical and crazy with the added bonus of being a teenager. Girls, run!! Seriously, though, this is a high school fiction story based on Henry VIII and his six wives. Just to recap them: Katherine, exiled and died; Anne Boleyn, beheaded; Jane Seymour, died in childbirth; Anne of Cleves, annulled and actually came out quite nicely; Katherine Howard, beheaded; Kathryn Parr, outlived him. These were not happy women. Now, high school Henry VIII has his six girlfriends. Granted, a certain suspension of disbelief is needed because it's far fetched. It's still an entertaining read. It's helpful to know anything about the time period when he lived, 1509-1547, because historical references are thrown out here and there. It's not necessary to read the story though. Overall it's a good read. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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So, this was completely awesome. The tale of the Tudors - Henry VIII and his six unfortunate wives - set in a modern American high school, dripping with sarcasm and wit, darkly fun and enjoyable reading. I could not put this one down, and I literally LOL'ed so many times that I was getting weird looks from people around me. 

Would someone not familiar with the Tudors enjoy this book as much? Maybe not, although I think it's funny and action-packed enough to stand on its own. Is the good guy/bad guy flipping somewhat whiplash-inducing? A little, though I suspect that's probably how it felt in actual Tudor times. Was Cleves (the narrator) a little arrogant and misguided at times? Yeah, but it was fun to watch her journey and she definitely redeemed herself in the end. 

Personally, I think Hannah Capin knocked it straight out of the park with this one.
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I saw a review for this book on Vicky Who Reads blog a couple of weeks ago and I knew I had to read it! This book is a mix of the Tudors of England meets Mean Girls. It’s amazing!

I love the combination of historical figures and modern teens. My own manuscript is an adaptation of Wuthering Heights in a modern high school, so I especially love these kinds of adaptations.

There were also some thriller aspects to the story. Henry’s girlfriends either disappear or die after they break up. It ends up becoming a mystery of what really happened to Anna Boleyn. She apparently set a tower on fire, leading to the deaths of her and her brother. The real Henry VIII murdered his wives when they weren’t pleasing him anymore. The question in this story is did Anna actually set the fire or was she innocent?

I loved this story so much! I can’t wait to see what Hannah Capin writes next!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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First off I would like to thank the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read and review this ARC. While the copy was provided for free, all opinions are honest and my own.

The Dead Queens Club is a modern high school retelling of Henry VIII and his wives. It’s got drama, romance, and strong female friendships, narrated by Annie “Cleves” Marck, Henry’s fourth girlfriend. She’s the only one that’s managed to survive dating Henry so far, and she’s starting to wonder why…

The first quarter of 2019 seemed to be ripe for a lot of Henry VIII retellings, and this novel was one of a few that caught my eye. I’ve been especially into murder mystery novels lately, trying to find more YA ones as the genre keeps growing, so this book was an instant add to my tbr. When I was accepted to review it before release, I was even more excited, and couldn’t wait to get started.

While in the end, I didn’t rate The Dead Queens Club all that highly, I did thoroughly enjoy the first half of the book. Cleves was a narrator that truly stuck out, whether it be due to her characterization as well as the how the story itself was written, and I found myself speeding through the first half of the book. The insane amount of drama the book involves was also hilarious to read, and while some of it was a bit ridiculous, I can definitely see some of the people I was in high school with acting this exact way. Additionally, even though the book dealt with a decent amount of death for your average high school story, it still managed to be pretty lighthearted and funny, for the most part. Unfortunately, that latter trait had consequences later on.

I wish I could say I liked where the story ended up going and went into the ending with the same zeal I had started with, but I can’t. Somewhere along the line the book just lost me, and I blame that on a few reasons.

1. The book keeps switching who Cleves/we are supposed to trust. While this is common in mystery novels, the sheer amount and speed at which we are thrown back and forth between characters made me feel like a ping pong ball. I’ve never had a book give me quite this much whiplash, and honestly, I really hope I never do again.

2. We are given way too many different stories on what happened “that night.” I felt like I should’ve been taking notes on all these stories since the beginning since by the time everything started going down, so many different tales with so many different intricacies had been spelled out that I couldn’t even keep them straight anymore. I normally still think for myself as I’m reading, not necessarily taking everything the main character thinks as the truth, but in this case, I just had to trust Cleves because I couldn’t even remember everything anymore. 

3. The writing style ends up adding to the confusion. I mentioned the writing style above, and while I did like it then, it’s lack of directness and it’s wishy-washy way of spelling things out just added to the confusion the first two points gave me. I had to reread a few parts to get what was really going on, and even then I’m still not sure if I interpreted the scene properly. While I almost always love unique writing styles, this one just ended up hurting the ending even more.

4. At some point, Cleves stops being suspicious of others. There were tons of moments later on where Cleves just kept on believing what her friends said, even after being shown multiple times that they’ve very frequently not been entirely honest with her. Normally this isn’t so annoying, but if I’m relying on Cleves as much as I mentioned above, and suddenly I feel I can’t trust her, I feel even more lost in the book.

5. In the end, I wasn’t able to actually like anyone. Now I get the point of the book wasn’t to make people likable, but the way this book went made it hard to actually enjoy and go along with some of the scenes and events in the final 20% of the book. I was at the point where I literally didn’t like nor trust anyone, but I had to go along with how it ended up being tied up anyways. I just wasn’t into it anymore.

I’m sure there are more little things that started bugging me the further along I got in the story, but these are the main issues that switched me from loving the book to just being annoyed by it. I feel like it has a lot of potential, and some of these issues may have been fixed enough for the final copy, so I do recommend just trying it. And I’ll definitely see what other books this author will release! However, The Dead Queens Club just wasn’t for me.
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*I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own*

DNF @ 28% (in addition I skimmed the last 4%)

Here's the thing: I probably could finish this book, but I'm not into it. I'd be pushing myself to finish it and I'd end up disliking it even more. Do I want to know all the answers? Yes, but not that badly... 

There is content here to really enjoy if you like Gossip Girl and other super drama-filled stories. This one has it in spades! I think the problem I had with the drama though is that it could at times feel so overboard. Yet, when given that it is a retelling of Henry the VIII it makes more sense. How the characters and some places are named to correspond with history made me smile. 

There is also a lot of female empowerment here. While there is slut-shaming, girls back each other up and defend each other. There are some great quotes and moments of girls being friends and not caring about boys.... sometimes. These moments did feel forced at times or just felt confusing because Cleves would totally be on believing the girls' side and sticking up for them, to turn around and then not for another girl-- usually Anna. Cleves needed to make up her mind.

I didn't understand why everyone likes Henry so much and cares so much about his dating life. I think this may be a huge part of why I couldn't stay in the story. Everyone wants him to continue being happy in his relationship and they step on eggshells around him, yet besides his magnetism and who his father used to be, I didn't see a reason for all the attention. 

I did like that we got snippets of the past here and there. I liked the writing. Although, I wish the moments in the past were more distinct because sometimes it was hard to tell where we were in time -- year ago, last night, tomorrow afternoon? 

So, would I recommend this? I would recommend this to people who like Gossip Girl type books and shows. It has drama, girls who stick together, and a subtle mystery to make people want to read it with a bowl of popcorn.
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Dead Queens Club is a clever retelling of the Six Wives of Henry VIII. Cleves is our narrator; she's snarky and smart, and it is really refreshing to read about a high school senior who doesn't know where she wants to go to college or what she wants to major in. For her senior year, she moves to Lancaster where her summer camp BFF Henry lives. Drama and death ensue. 
The voices of the girls - some friends, others adversaries - are all very distinct and authentic. I've seen some reviews mentioning how Cleves says she's a feminist but doesn't always act like one. I find this depiction quite realistic; she's 17/18 years old and figuring things out.  Capin fantastically tackles slut-shaming, social media, and high school politics. With regards to Cleves's feminism, the author really sharply unpacks and explores the complexities and importance of female friendships. 
If you love Tudor/Elizabethan era historical fiction, Dead Queens Club is a refreshing and cracking contemporary retelling.
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As soon as I read Vicky’s review of this book, I knew it needed to be placed front row center on my TBR. I’m no Tudors historian, but I love me some Henry VIII, from Showtime’s The Tudors to Margaret George’s tome The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers.

The premise is simple: Henry VIII drama transported to a modern high school setting. These high schoolers are the cool you can only dream of—oodles of money, absent parents, an arsenal of witty one-liners on their lips. We’re treated to first person narration by the MC, Cleves, who is no-holds-barred hilarious. Let’s get real: nobody talks like this in real life, but it doesn’t really matter, since you just want Cleves to keep on spitting jokes. Also be prepared that there are some near break-the-fourth-wall moments; for some readers this will be all in good fun and for others this might get annoying.

“I don’t give a flying fuck whether or not you slept with him.”
“Really?”
“Really. We’re done talking about guys, okay? Let’s pass the damn Bechdel test.”

If you’re looking for a standard whodunnit, this isn’t it. Really this book is all about character development, voice, and teen drama. Yeah, there are some dead queens and a finger-pointing blame game, but the sleuthing is kept pretty minimal until the end… This being said, I will say that the end does get intense, in an awesome way. I got actual chills. Yet the multidimensional characters and rock-solid voice are the real reason to open this book. I’m very curious to read the author’s future works; will we see a modern adaptation featuring some other infamous historical figures? Julius Caesar, perhaps? The Medicis? I’m game if Capin is.
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I loved this book!  I'm a huge fan of Tudor England and anything to do with Henry VIII and this retelling was perfect.  The voice of Cleves was perfect for a modern version of her and the story kept you entertained, despite already knowing what happened to the real wives of Henry Tudor.  Definitely adding this one to my must-buy list.
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While I found the idea of basing a book on Henry the VIIIth and his wives intriguing in concept, I think the book was just a mess.

First of all, the grammar and typos were really hard to get past.  Secondly, 6 wives (or girlfriends in this case) is just too much.  There should be at least 2 books to give them all their due.  The overachievers camp and pranking stories were distracting.

And the whole thing really doesn't make sense without the overarching historical and religious themes.  It might work if it was set at a boarding school.  For example, I went to an episcopal boarding school, but I wasn't particularly religious.  Some kids opted out of attending chapel and instead went to Catholic mass on Sundays.  That might work.  Or maybe you could make it about people who follow a particular team religiously.

On the other hand, I don't know how you replace the main theme of Henry needing an heir...

Regardless, this attempt just doesn't work.  It's convoluted and over the top.  I did like some of the characters, though...
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Captivating, suspenseful, entertaining novel! This beautiful thriller kept me on the edge of my seat while I was reading it! Would highly recommend to those who enjoy this genre.
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I loved this book. It is no perfect by any means but I loved its message and how things play out. This is such a great novel about perils of toxic masculinity. It also explores important feminist themes, including girl-on-girl hate and girl friendship. It lacked a bit on the intersectional front, though. 

I assume those who are into history and know of Henry VIII and his wives will be intrigued and yes, there are many references to historical figures, events and details. I loved most of them, although I admit it felt jarring when it comes to names. Some of the names are taken directly from history and it took me a bit away from the story. 

All in all, a really relevant story and a great exploration of toxic masculinity. What I liked is that we experience many of those things from the MC's eyes; she grows throughout the novel so much. And the ending is perfect.
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I think this story might have worked better as a comedy. Watch this teenage boy burn his way through a line of increasingly wrong girlfriends. I really thought that's where it was going for the first third. Changing to an investigation of suspicious accidents was a hard pivot, thematically and tonally. THe first third was relatively light. Murder and toxic masculinity and savior complexes are much heavier and darker. And characters that had previously appeared frivolous or intense suddenly became unhinged.
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Not only is this book immensely fun, it’s super clear to me the Henry VIII nerd that Hannah Capin seriously knows her stuff. I really enjoyed catching all the historical name references, but there were plenty of other, more subtle details sprinkled throughout that were just amazing. Lina having a jar of pomegranate seeds in her dorm fridge? Perfect.

In addition to appealing to my history geek side, this also adds in a heaping dose of girl power, feminism, whatever you want to call it and gives Henry’s queens a chance to take back their power, because let’s face it, he may have been fascinating and even charming, but Henry was a real dick. History may not have always been kind to the women in his life, but this book sets up a scenario where they are given a chance to shine.

Altogether, what we have is a book that is clever, fun and totally satisfying. My reading this year has started pretty well, but this easily seizes the top spot.
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The Dead Queens Club takes the historical facts of King Henry VIII and his six wives and translates it into a Contemporary Young Adult novel set in a high school. No, high school Henry is not married to six girls, but he has had six girlfriends in the last two years. Including our main protagonist, Annie Marck “Cleves”, girlfriend number four, and best friend to Henry. When she hears a rumor that Henry is possibly responsible for the deaths of two of his ex-girlfriends, Cleves investigates to help clear his name. Is the most popular boy in school the funny partner in crime she knows? Or is he a guy with anger management issues who takes revenge on his cheating girlfriends?

The Dead Queens Club cleverly names all of it’s characters after their true life namesakes and incorporates familiar places from Tudor history into this small town. I’ll admit to once again using Wikipedia to give myself a quick history lesson on each wife (and if they kept their head or not) and found that I relished watching the mystery unfold more because of that knowledge. Setting Henry VIII’s relationships in a high school certainly had it’s challenges but I thought Hannah Capin did a GREAT job at intertwining and creating original scenarios while still maintaining their historical references. It wasn’t just the names and places that were similar, but each person’s relationship with Henry, down to his advisors who fed him false information to turn him against his wives, were represented in this book. Once you know the history (as I did with my quick Wikipedia exploration) you have a few aha! moments where you stop and admire the machinations and manipulations the author took to make that reference happen.

Lancaster High had all of the drama and gossip you’d imagine from a high school setting and even though the pace was kind of slow I was surprised at how well the political intrigue of the Tudor court translated into the cliques and capers of high school life. Cleves rides on the edge of any clique although her friendship with Henry puts her in the elite circle. She is blinded for a long while by that friendship, his magnetic personality, and his lies, but the other girls, even though catty and mean, help her see the truth.

Even though The Dead Queen’s Club had a contemporary setting I found myself enjoying it like I do historical fiction, yet it was easy to read and didn’t bog down as some historical fiction does. Cleves was probably one of Henry’s least impressive wives, yet in this novel she was the catalyst for the readers emotions to dip and surge. She was so torn between her “best friend” Henry and this other Henry that her friends were trying to make her see. Who was the real boy? Well, if you know your history you know the answer to that question. But there is so much more to this novel than the historical facts. There are emotions, discoveries, and the realization that people just sometimes suck. The story, however, didn’t.  ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a free copy of this ARC for my honest review and it was honest!
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Now, don’t send me off to the guillotine but when I was watching The Tudors all those years ago, I fell in love with Anne Boleyn and her story.. it was probably how great of an actress Natalie Dormer was in it but I was completely captivated by this obviously wronged woman whose only crime was loving a psychotic man. I hated what happened to her so much that when Jane appeared (Ugh, Jane Seymour) I stopped watching the show. Yes, I know Katharine of Aragon got the shitty end of the stick first but.. I just felt that Henry was truly in love with Anne before he went all nutty and emulated the Queen of Hearts with the whole off with her head thing. 

I truly loved how much The Dead Queens Club with it’s channeling of Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girls just managed to tell a story where the women finally get the last word in the story. I adored how this book was all about feminism and women finally winning. This book didn’t let a man like Henry whose charming personality hid what was such an obvious psychotic persona. 

So thanks to this author for reawakening my obsession with all things Tudor! And to Netgalley and the publishers for sending this book to me in exchange for an honest review.
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King Henry VIII and his six wives step out of history and take on high school teen drama in The Dead Queens Club. I have to say I do really like the title and that it is used later on in the book. Unfortunately being the second Henry VIII adaptation that I have read, I can now say that I am not a fan of books based on him. I think the author did well at turning these historical figures into prom king and queens and naming the characters to fit them. I also liked all of the references in her "possible future day jobs" such as "#24601 Life Without Parole" and "#1984" though they didn't seem to have anything to do with the Tudors. I'd say the last 80% was pretty good as the reader starts to see the girls banding together and be all "girl power." That way it didn't end with just broken hearts...and rolling heads. In my opinion I wasn't a fan of the content, but that's not to say that it was a badly written book or that the plot didn't work. It just wasn't for me.

Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for the arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Rating 4/5

I loved this! It was like watching The Mean Girls again but with Tudor actors! The drama here was unreal and I am VERY glad I was not part of any of it! I laughed so much and enjoyed this immensely!
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