The Dead Queens Club

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

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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The synopsis of this story sounded amazing because I loved the Mean Girls movie, buuuuut I have to say that I didn’t like this book. I’m not sure if it’s the writing style or the way that Cleves is portrayed. Or it could have been the story being a little slow. Or maybe because its an historical book and I haven’t really read many, I don’t really gravitate toward those type so maybe that’s why I didn’t like this one? I’m not sure.

This is a retelling of Henry the Viii and his six wives but with a high school twist. Which I think is a cool way to put a twist on it. Cleves is Henry’s 4th girlfriend, then one day when 2 of henry’s girlfriends end up dead from mysterious accidents. That’s when Cleves and the other girlfriends start to piece everything together and try to catch henry in the act.

I don’t want to give this a bad review, but I must. Again, I loved the premise of the story but for me it just didn’t fall though for me in being a great book
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I was so fraking excited about this book when I first learned about it. I am a HUGE Tudor enthusiast, like crazy. I've read biographies about them (a lot of Elizabeth I ones because I find her really badass) and watched the movies/TV shows, I love this drama infused bunch. So I was ecstatic when we received the ARC for The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin. And Holy Hole in a Doughnut! 

It was fantastic. 
Imagine the Tudors meets Mean Girls with a touch of Gossip Girl and that is exactly what The Dead Queens Club is! Hannah Capin decided to bring this story to the 21st century and OH! MY! GOD! it works so well! Henry VIII was essentially a girl crazy teenager, why did I never see it before?!?!?! Nothing is forgotten in this book, the author hits all the little details, it’s so well done that I wanted to scream cause of how awesomely good it was. The setting is perfect. Who knew that bringing these iconic characters in a more modern  era would match the story so well. All that plotting and gossiping is perfect for high school. 


The plot is a tad slow but starts moving at a faster pace more towards the end. I really didn’t mind the pacing because it allowed me to discover the characters and watch every detail of this brilliant retelling unfold. The author even managed to get in his injury that left him with a bad leg and the way it’s done is clever. 


Our main girl is Annie aka Cleves, nickname given by Golden Boy himself , since Annie is from Cleveland (get it? Anne of Cleves like as in wife number 4). She is this fun, sarcastic - quirky character with a Rolodex of pop culture references that I can only applaud. Cleves is a feminist, calling out slut-shaming and fighting to find the truth, even if she might not like what the truth is. She’s always been my favourite of all the wives and I’m so happy on how the author decided to portray her in The Dead Queens Club. It felt true to what I know and relate to Anne of Cleves. All the Queens resemble some aspects of their historical counterparts and this books is very much for them. Hannah Capin gives these women a voice.
 

Oh and Henry... what to say about Henry. Golden boy, human magnet, egotistical chauvinist - Hannah Capin really kept true to what I know and love about King Henry VIII. OK, yes he's a prick but I can't help but love him - though I wouldn't have wanted to be one of his girlfriends. Not everyone gets out of a relationship with Henry and lives to tell the tale. 

If you are like me and are a fan of The Tudors and every scheming person affiliated with them, chances are you will love this book. It kept me wanting more and I just didn’t want to put it down. Hats off to Hannah Capin who was able to make me love these characters even more than I already did. I can’t wait to see what she does next, I will definitely be checking out her next book ,which is supposed to be a Lady Macbeth retelling (Helleth Yeah!). Let me leave you with these words of wisdom: Ugh Jane Seymour!


Thank you Inkyard Press and Netgalley.  ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.
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Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of Inkyard Press through NetGalley. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book. 

I'm afraid this will not be the glowing review I so wanted it to be. I'm going to get into each major factor that lowered my rating so you can judge if this book is something you want to check out, because OH. MY GOD. the ending (or the last 150 pages that I call "the ending") was a psychological, mess-with-your mind masterpiece. Have you ever watched Pretty Little Liars? The wrap-up for this book was the most epic PLL season finale, with extra sass mixed in. 

The first thing that didn't mesh with me for this book was its beginning and then somewhat muddled middle. The Dead Queens Club summary makes Cleves out to be a determined investigator in the deaths of Henry's exes. In reality, Cleves is Henry's best friend forever (they're really, really close, okay?) who will follow him anywhere, anytime. She's confronted with his "suspicious" past by several characters and vehemently denies his culpability for a loooong time. The actual sleuthing in this book is done by her friend Parker, and a few of Henry's other exes. Cleves just kind of ... narrates? Which honestly, she does really well. Her spunky snark is a favourite protagonist voice style of mine.

The second thing I struggle with was the entire feminist aspect of this book. Cleves is a self-proclaimed feminist. As a writer on the school paper, all she wants is to include anti-slut shaming articles. She frequently calls out fellow students for masochistic remarks. But she herself is very problematic. Notably, she:

Refers to one of Henry's exes, Jane, as "a girl so boring that looking at her picture for eight seconds cures clinical insomnia." Throughout the book, Cleves bashes Jane for being extremely boring and forgettable. (Feminism is about supporting each other!)
Puts down women who work hard (uses a mocking nickname students create for her friend, Parker, and bullies her editor-in-chief for having strict deadlines) and pranks Henry's exes/her friends without needing cause. (Some of the pranks were mean.)
At the end of the book, Cleves gets together with the girls she has mocked and sees them for their strengths. But this is at the end of a 460+ page book. I felt she could have seen the error in her ways a little sooner? 

Third thing! This is a very specific dislike within the book. A comment was made within Cleves' narration that made me incredibly uncomfortable. To give some context, one of Henry's exes was named Anna Boleyn. She is one of the dead exes. A year ago, there was a party at "the Tower," a piece of real estate (still under construction) and some fireworks were somehow placed under it. The fireworks went off, the building blew up, and Anna was the main suspect. 

"But I don't care, because the only thing I need right now is to forget about Ms. Parr and Judas Rochford and Anna bin Laden and every Lancaster kid."

I don't want to assume to know what the author was thinking with this line. I just don't think it's an appropriate joke. 

My dislikes did overpower a lot of the good in this book, because the last two made me uncomfortable and the first one disrupted my reading flow. At first I didn't know what was going on, and then I didn't like the message the author was sending, and then I got near the end and FINALLY I was enjoying things and I was really getting into everything! But I was spoiled at that point. 

Capin has a great idea here. A retelling of Henry VIII? I was in from the start. Henry's character is truly well done, I give major points to his development throughout the story. The way the girlfriends/exes weave in and out of the story really felt like a historical drama gone teen TV show. I'll for sure be looking up the life of Henry VIII now, I can say that. 

I struggled for a long time to choose a rating. Ultimately, my discomfort with the amount of slut-shaming done by a so-called feminist, as well as the joke/comment Cleves makes, led me to keep this at a 2.5 crown. Three on official rating sites. 

Posting to blog Jan 10: https://bookprincessreviews.wordpress.com/
Posting to Goodreads Jan 10: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2629641523
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I'm not a big history buff, but I watched The Tudors series on Netflix several years ago and was hooked.  Given, it was highly dramatized, but you can't tell me there weren't clandestine meetings, backstabbings, political maneuverings, and power plays during that time.  And then, of course, there was Henry and his wives.  When I saw this book, I was instantly curious about a modern day retelling - in high school, no less.

The author is very clever in how she created her characters based on the historical figures, bringing the queens, Henry, and some of their acquaintances into modern day.  Cleves, based on Anne of Cleves, who was queen for a few short months, is Henry's best friend.  Like Henry VIII, this Henry has a wandering eye and a long string of girlfriends.  Loosely paralleling their historical relationship, Cleves and Henry date for an awkward couple of weeks, but decide they're better as friends.  Cleves is blindly loyal, awkward, and her snark had me chuckling several times.

Make no mistake - this high school is just as socially treacherous as Henry the VIII's court, with suspicious deaths and characters falling out of favor.  Scheming, plotting, and gossip abound, making up a large portion of the book, but occasionally don't do much to advance the story.  All the back and forth is difficult to follow at times, but once the book hits the 75% mark, things move along quickly.

I didn't enjoy this read as much as I'd hoped, but that's more me than the book.  I'm not a big fan of Mean Girls and erratic high school drama, but judging by other reviews, many readers thought The Dead Queens Club was fabulous.    

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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As much as I loved the author’s witty writing and this book’s beautiful cover, I thought the main character’s POV didn’t completely capture my attention. I just felt so disconnected from the story. Needless to say, I couldn’t care less. I’m guessing that I’m not much of a history buff (in regards to this retelling) so I failed to appreciate the story as a whole. I thought maybe I should look up the “The Tudors.” And I found the history more interesting compared to this novel.

The characters in The Dead Queens Club were archetypal, sort of what you would find in almost every high school related book or movie. The humor in this book reminded me of one of my favorite YA books (Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly). But for some reason, I still find myself putting this book down.

I think I would have enjoyed this book if it were written in 3rd person and if it were to be more of a plot-driven novel. The writing overall felt like a “stream of consciousness” style, which I didn’t really care for. The problem with this is that some readers may OR may not like the voice of the main character. Additionally, I thought that Cleves tried to portray herself as “a feminist that doesn’t really take things seriously” even when the situation calls for it. I also think she was supposed to be "quirky" but I think it really didn't do anything for her character. I’m not sure if I like her? I actually don’t have any strong opinion about her character nor any of the characters in this book.

I guess it really depends on the reader’s preference or what they want to get out of this book. I mean, I did like the concept of this book but my interest can only go so far. For some reason, I have to like the characters in some way before I could actually be invested in the story. And while there is nothing wrong with Cleves, I just don’t think I will be able to finish reading this book because of how the novel was set-up. However, there were interesting and humorous titles in every chapter (which I liked).

All in all, I thought this was an okayish (decent) read but at the same time I felt that it really wasn’t for me. I think I wouldn’t recommend this book to those who are looking for “fast-paced” stories. But if you're curious about the retelling of "The Tudors" portion, I recommend giving this book a shot.
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DNF at 65 pages.
This made me feel scatterbrained while reading. The main character Anna aka Cleves is all over the place. In her inner monologue down to how she interacts with Henry. 

Even with me only reading 65 pages, this was problematic and a hot mess. Henry would rather listen to a rumor about his girlfriend and let the guys decide that she’s only “hookup material” instead of “girlfriend material”. I really don’t have time to read about a douche like this. 

It also doesn’t really tell you if there is a difference in time. They just give you whiplash with past and present and want you to keep up. I hope they change that in the final version. 

I’m so let down because I’ve been wanting to get my hands on an arc of this book for a while now. The synopsis sounds great but I just can’t.
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I really don't know how I feel about this book. I enjoyed it a lot mostly, but also it just feels so long. It was really fun to read while listening to Six: The Musical though, and there's so many little details that are pretty cleverly thrown in there. The length is really the main thing working against it in my opinion. I wish it were like a hundred pages shorter.
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The description of this book drew me in, on goodreads, someone mentioned that this book was a cross between Henry VIII and Mean Girls. I think I went in with too high of expectations because of this, or maybe the writing was too convoluted to understand. Either way, I was not impressed by this one.

Cleves is obsessed with her best friend Henry. He’s everything she’s not. Henry is cool and popular and people are inherently drawn to him. Perhaps because he oozes charm, or he’s good looking, or people just seem to trust Henry. But Henry also has a bad streak with his ex girlfriends. They always seem to cheat on him or break his heart. So Henry enlists the help of Celves to get back at them, through pranks to embarrass the girls. 

But Cleves is uprooted to Henry’s town and thrown into his school and inner circle. Cleves becomes torn between what Henry has told her and what her new friends tell her about events in their small Indiana town. 

There is a lot of back and forth in this book, but it is not done well. You get confused because there are not distinct chapters distinguishing the past and the present. Instead, flashbacks are in the middle of chapters and you have to pay attention to what is taking place. 

This book is also a giant cliche, every high school troupe you can think of rears its head at some point. From the girl swooning over her best friend, to the popular jock getting together with the cheerleader. If you like (pointless) high school drama, then this is the story for you. 

I don’t believe that there are any twists or turns in this book. You can see the ending coming from the beginning. There are attempts at high-stake action, but they all fall flat. The characters are predictable and this makes the plot seem boring. But, everything also feels drawn out. I stopped reading so many times because I was either bored, not invested, or rolled my eyes so much I got a headache. I cannot recommend this book.
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I actually really liked this. I got a little nervous when I checked out the reviews before I started reading and realized that this is a modern retelling of Henry VIII and his six wives. I had no idea what to expect but I honestly liked it almost immediately. 

I have a few quips that I'm just going to go ahead and get out of the way so that I can gush about the things I loved:

• There are a lot of people to keep up with. In the first 15% or so, I kept getting confused about which ex-girlfriend was who and who was on what side and whatnot. I ended up just making a note about each character to reference if I needed to, but my brain caught up with all of the characters and their story lines after a while and I didn't need the note anymore. However, it really is confusing in the beginning. That was honestly my biggest issue in this. 

• Everyone else seems to love Cleveland but oh my god the girl has no sense of loyalty. I still liked her (somehow) but she drove me up the wall. She was one of those girls who seemed really neutral all the time but is actually spilling your secrets and probably making out with your boyfriend. 

Okay, yeah, that's it for the bad stuff. Now to the good:

• This is the most clever retelling of anything I've ever read. Granted, I don't do retellings often, so I don't have a lot to compare to, but this was honestly really cool. About half way through the book I got curious about the real Henry VIII and his wives and I looked it all up. Maybe everyone else in the universe knows about him already but I didn't. Capin got really creative with some of the names (considering like half of his wives had the same name) and she really told their story perfectly but with a modern YA twist on it. So, not only did I get to read a great book but I also learned some new history. 

• I loved all of the characters so much! Well, except for Henry, but honestly even he is extremely charismatic. I'm not much of a gusher over YA teen boy characters (but shove a manic pixie dream girl trope in my face and I'll probably fall in love), so I was never not onto him thanks to my unclouded judgement. However, I still didn't hate him. I mean he was a total jerk and used Cleve's and is not a good guy but you still want to wish him luck. Does that even make sense? The girls were all so great though. I think my favorite character was actually Parker, though I did love that Cleveland was always calling out her classmates and friends for misogynistic and sexist remarks. Like I said, she has no sense of loyalty, but she will definitely stand up for you if a mean pack of adolescent boys try to come for you with bash words. 

• The story was really good. I know I pretty much already said that, but even if you seperate the novel from Henry VIII and it just stands on its own as a regular YA book, it's still really freaking good. I read it all in one sitting even though it's long. I didn't want to put it down for anything and I was rooting for the girls the entire time. Capin managed to capture my heart in a way that not many YA books can do. This isn't fluffy but at the same time still very highschool-y and sappy... just not overly. I think that if I hadn't known about it being a retelling, I would've still really liked it. I might not have noticed how freaking creative Hannah Capin, but I would've enjoyed it nonetheless.

• The writing is done so well!!! I don't know how to rant about it other than say that Capin is just as good of a writer as she is a story teller. 

Overall, I'm really glad I requested this from NetGalley. It was an awesome read and I'm going to be on the look out for more books by Capin from here on out.
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The Dead Queens Club is one that I wasn't sure how it would land on the rating scale for me, but I'm very happy that it landed more near the top for me. While I love retellings, retellings based on history are something I'm not as familiar with. I tend to steer clear of history based things unless a friend tells me I should read it. This was pitched as Mean Girls meets The Tudors though so I requested it. 

I really enjoyed all the characters in the story. I thought they were well rounded and I think they all work well together. 

I honestly was expecting a cute story so imagine my surprise when everything started happening!
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Note: I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I'm definitely in the minority in giving The Dead Queens Club a low star review. The story line and synopsis sounded intriguing and different. But ultimately, Cleves was not my cup of tea nor was Capin's writing style. I found myself growing annoyed and frustrated with Cleves and her ability to talk in circles. I wanted to shake my Kindle and yell "get to the point!" I think the author was trying to go for a bit of humor and lightheartedness, but it made for a very frustrating and confusing reading experience. 

The pace was also very slow. I thought this would be more of a mystery/suspense, but I was a third of the way in and barely anything was progressing there. Instead, a lot of time was spent on Cleves and her relationship with Henry - giving too much useless background information that didn't add anything to the story and only added to my frustration.

Overall, I haven't been this annoyed or frustrated reading a book in a long time - definitely not for me.
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WOW. The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin was everything. Take all your expectations and amplify them. King VIII meets JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE in this hilarious, heartfelt, and shocking "retelling." You will love every single character, but Cleves—CLEVES!!!—is, without a doubt, a break-out YA star. It’s funny, dark, unapologetically feminist, and the characters are complex, shady, and lovable. The voice is phenomenal and I will consider Capin my newest auto-buy author after this.

The two downsides: the book is long! The set-up/beginning takes some time, but the voice and characters are so great that it’s worth it and never boring. I would have also liked more physical descriptions. It seems like everyone aside from two or three characters are white. Cleves and her sister are the only ones who are definitely not white, though it’s not entirely obvious or ever really mentioned again. Lina might be a woman of color, but, again, not entirely certain.

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin will be published January 29, 2019.
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I was provided with an eARC of this book in exchange for a fair review. 

When I saw this book toted as “Mean Girls meets The Tudors”, I knew I needed to check it out. I’m all about retellings, and who doesn’t love a good Henry VIII story? All in all, I was very pleased with this! The story was fresh and well paced, with a great cast of characters and just enough historical and pop culture references to keep me intrigued. Plus the MC is so witty and I laughed out loud on several occasions. 
This does lose a star because it sometimes got a little frantic. Believing a 17 year old boy is serial murdering his girlfriends is a little far fetched, and the plotting and scheming and theorizing was a bit much sometimes. Plus, this being an eARC means it’s not properly formatted at that added to the clutter. 
Despite that, I still very much enjoyed it and will certainly check out more from this author!
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Okay, I'm gonna be up front with y'all: my experience reading The Dead Queens Club was, hands-down, one of the STRANGEST reading experiences I've ever had. I literally can't make up my mind as to whether I actively hated this book, or whether I'm just apathetic toward it.

Let me preface my review with the fact that I was so excited to read DQC. I've been obsessed with Tudor England since I was in elementary school, and this was pitched as "Mean Girls x The Tudors," which, like, SIGN ME UP. However, I was left feeling more frustrated and confused than anything else after finishing this book.

The Dead Queens Club retells the history of Henry VIII and his six wives, but in a modern American high school setting-- which is such a cool concept. Our main character is Cleves (short for "Cleveland," the city she hails from), who gets caught up in the charismatic Henry's world after meeting at summer camp and instantly clicking. Cleves also holds the title of Girlfriend Number Four, a fact both she and Henry try to ignore, as they long ago decided they work better as best friends than romantic partners. When two of Henry's girlfriends turn up dead after mysterious "accidents," Cleves and her fellow surviving girlfriends start to get a little suspicious, and hatch a plot to catch Henry in his lies.

Friends, I don't say this often, so take note when I say it now: this book was so damn confusing. And I don't mean that in the sense that the themes went over my head; no, I mean that in the most elementary sense-- disjointed plot threads are thrown in seemingly at random, only to be haphazardly hacked together much later in the story. It didn't feel like a continuous story because we jumped around so much, with very little connection.

Another thing I absolutely could not stand about this was the writing. Again, this isn't something I say lightly, but Capin's writing style screamed "trying too hard." Cleves's *~quirkiness~* is pushed on the reader at every turn. I don't even know how to describe this, but the author strings together words/phrases that would normally be hyphenated into continuous strings of words that are really difficult to read-- each time, it took me out of the story. This happened *at least* once per page of the e-ARC, usually more like two-four times per page. It was endlessly frustrating, and after about 20 pages, this grammatical choice alone had me ready to call it quits. I think lots of readers will take issue with the writing here. It's one of those things that's unquestionably polarizing. On the surface, Cleves is exactly the kind of "unlikeable female protagonist" I usually love (even when other readers don't), but in this particular case, she felt like a cardboard cutout with no backstory or development. Like, I never got a sense of her as a person, outside of her acerbic wit, which is an issue in a book that's told in a first-person POV.

I will applaud Hannah Capin on the brilliant idea to retell this segment of history in a modern high school, because wow, the level of drama is 100% conducive to that kind of setting. And, for the most part, I think the way Capin adapted these historical figures to the setting was pretty brilliant. Like, I definitely laughed every time Cleves said, "ugh, Jane Seymour," because, yeah, I think everyone familiar with the original history feels that way. That being said, I just needed more development for all of them. Like Cleves, all the other characters in this book felt very superficial and surface-level. Also, the fact that every character in this book is, at least to the reader's knowledge, straight and cis, is kind of a disservice to the messages Capin was trying to articulate with this book. Like, the fact that there were SO MANY CHARACTERS and none of them were canonically queer was... very strange.

Going off of this, I do appreciate the themes Capin addressed in DQC-- toxic masculinity, gaslighting, slut shaming, etc.-- but I honestly don't feel like she went far enough with any of them. The scene where Cleves realizes the ways in which Henry has been manipulating her was one of the (few) highlights of the book for me. Like the rest of the story, though, these explorations felt very surface-level.

I contemplated DNFing this infinite times, and on one hand, I'm glad I didn't, because it did get better as the story went on. On the other hand, though, I don't feel like I got anything out of reading this. I don't need to have a deep, meaningful experience with every book or anything, but I do expect to at least enjoy or be interested in the book if I don't get anything else out of it... and with DQC, not so. The last third of the book was the only time I was even marginally interested in any of the events of the story.

Overall, The Dead Queens Club boasts an excellent premise, but subpar execution, and I will not be recommending it.

Have you read The Dead Queens Club? If so, let's discuss in the comments! If not, do you plan to read it?
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DNF @ 21%

This review is based on an ARC of The Dead Queens Club which I received courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher (HarlequinTEEN/Inkyard Press).


I always hate to DNF an ARC, but here's the truth, plain and simple: I could not care less about this plot. Honestly, excuse me while I instead read Henry VIII's wikipedia page, it's far more entertaining than this book.

The main character "Cleveland" AKA "Cleves" (Excuse me while I gag. Could you be less original with the nicknaming?) is so infuriatingly obnoxious that she is my main reason for DNFing. First of all, "Cleves" wore cow print pajamas, not only out of the house, but into a grocery store which is a deal-breaker for me. Second, omg she is such a cringe-worthy die-hard bleeding-heart mega-PC SJW-touting feminism-preaching wannabe. It is just so hard to read. (I know that makes me sound awful, but omg cool it. We get it, you are into chick fights.) Lastly, I literally could not care less about her position on the school paper team. And I can just sense it; by the end of this novel she will have earned her "editor-in-chief-dom." Don't care, don't wanna see how she gets there.

Okay, so basically I was getting very annoyed with this novel and didn't care to read it to the end. That being said the chapter titles were kinda cool, but that remains the only saving grace.

Again, sorry I had to DNF this one, but it really, really just wasn't for me.
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This book was terrible and I don’t usually say that often. This book didn’t seem like it had any real potential and that saddens me. I always try to find the positive things about a book even if I hated it. I’m not for sure if I can come up with any but we will see as I go along with this review if I can come up with anything.

To start off this review let me just say I did not finish it. I tried so hard to finish this book but I just couldn’t torture myself any longer. I stopped reading this book at 30% and trust me when I say I was pushing myself even before that to keep reading.

I thought I would like this book because it mentioned Mean Girls in the summary. But looking back on the summary again I am disgusted with myself for requesting this book.

The main character Cleves is by far one of the most annoying characters I had meet in 2018. She has zero dimension to her. She’s supposed to be this big jokester but honestly I don’t find her funny at all. She just annoying. She’s best friends with this guy who’s the “king” of the school she just moved to a year or two ago. She’s apparently the only girl he’s dated that something bad hasn’t happened to her. She’s an aspiring journalist who doesn’t stick up for herself half the time and relies on others to do it for her. She then gets anger for what they do to try to help her. Seriously why can’t she just help herself. She’s all about feminism but yet she doesn’t take those values to heart.

Henry the so called “king” is prick in my opinion. He rather listen to rumors about his girlfriend and dump her than actually ask her if they are true. He’s had so many girlfriends and I can’t believe one of the reasons he decided to dump one of the girls was because she was religious and didn’t want to sleep with him yet. This is a big hell no from me. Guys or girls should always respect decisions of their partners and not make fun of it. If he didn’t want to be with her just for that sol reason then he’s got more issues than what I thought.

Not only were the character’s annoying and flat the plot was just wow. I didn’t think I would find such a weird plot like this in a YA contemporary novel, but I did. Henry was dating this one girl but cheated on her with another girl. Henry is all about power you see. He uses the girls he dates as status builder as he tries to fix the town he lives in that’s failure was cause by his father’s factory shutting down. All of the kids are super rich and act like they were in politics. But this is only present in parts of the novel when we are back in time. That’s another factor. This book switches between present time, to the time where they are at camp together, to where Henry’s girlfriends are still alive. And you’ll never guess how his girlfriends died. Apparently someone brought explosives to a high school prom. There’s this big mystery on who did it and why. But it’s too much drama for high school like seriously.

Overall I hated this book. I don’t know if it got any better because I didn’t finish it and nor do I want to. I would recommend this book for a younger audience but I’m not for sure how well they would take it either.
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