Hi guys! I hope you are all having a great Good Friday, and for Christians full of prayer and mediation. Today I’ll be a bit less active in the spirit of the day, and I’m eagerly awaiting Easter, the day that Christ has risen from the dead! When I got back from DECA SCDC a few weeks ago, I received in the mail a huge book called The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton. I love fantasy, but I was very surprised by its massive size. I am so glad to be on the Blog Tour for this wonderful King Lear fantasy retelling, and I hope that you will check out Tessa’s latest novel!
About the Book
A kingdom at risk, a crown divided, a family drenched in blood.
The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes.
The king’s three daughters—battle-hungry Gaela, master manipulator Reagan, and restrained, starblessed Elia—know the realm’s only chance of resurrection is to crown a new sovereign, proving a strong hand can resurrect magic and defend itself. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align and a poison ritual can be enacted.
Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war—but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided.
Disclaimer: Thanks so much to Tor and JeanBookNerd for sending me a hardcover copy of this book in exchange for an honest review for the blog tour. This will not affect my review in any way.
To be honest, when I first received this book, I felt overwhelmed by its massive size: 576 pages with the print smaller and packed tightly. I did not think at first I would be able to complete it by today. When I first started The Queens of Innis Lear, Part One went by very slowly. I thought to myself, “How will I be able to get through this tome at this pace?” and I read lighter books when I did not feel in the mood for an extremely dark adult fantasy. But as I went on, deeper and deeper into the storyline, I found myself not wanting to stop. I became entranced by all the bloodshed, the betrayal, and the magic, and everything started to play in my mind like a movie. Miraculously, I’m writing this book on the Sunday before this review/tour stop is supposed to go live, and I’m writing in a bit of a different style than I normally do.
The Queens of Innis Lear is a clever and imaginative epic fantasy retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear with a Game of Thrones-esque atmosphere. I am not familiar with King Lear at all before reading this novel, so I decided to read the Wikipedia summary (gasp! though I highly recommend it before reading this book) of the play to get some background information. Gratton truly kept the essence of Shakespeare’s original work while adding her own fantasy elements and literary style, which created a beautiful and elegant masterpiece of prose and morality. I loved how names and events were very similar to the play’s (such as Elia = Cordelia, Regan = Regan, Gaela = Goneril, Elia/Cordelia is banished from Innis Lear/England, illegitimate Ban/Edmund devises a plan to exile his true-blood brother Rory/Edgar). The world-building of the entire novel just fascinated me, and I did not want to leave! All my questions about who’s who and what’s what became answered as I progressed further into the novel. I wish there was a map, though — that would make the reading experience even better!
I am truly in love with the entire plot. Once the pace began to quicken, the storyline unraveled in front of my eyes as if I were watching the entire Game of Thrones series, but even better. Although I am very satisfied at the end, I’m very tempted to want a sequel, even though this is great as a standalone! Set in an atmosphere in which you can literally feel the dread and suspense, The Queens of Innis Lear will make readers want to stay up all night to find out which sister will triumph and who will fall. (I was rooting for Elia the entire time, by the way.) The book just sucks you into the storyline and transports you to the island of Innis Lear, and you find yourself wanting more after each chapter. The book itself was very brilliant, and it is truly a memorable one!
As I said before, this novel is a bit slow at the beginning, and throughout Parts One and Two, you might want to just give up and stop reading it. Do NOT do this! It takes a bit of patience, but everything gets so much better once you surpass the 1/3-mark of the entire novel. Because I was confused with all the characters and all the places at the beginning, my initial thoughts of reading this book culminated into “This is why I avoid these huge fantasy novels.” However, The Queens of Innis Lear ended up to be one of the best and most well-crafted fantasy novels I have read. Truly it has strengthened my love for this awesome and epic genre, and it has helped me overcome my dislike for really long books. The story could have honestly continued for hundreds of more pages, and I would still enjoy and savor it. So many times I was surprised at how far I went, and I forgot about page numbers and getting the book done many times.
I will certainly recommend The Queens of Innis Lear to readers who crave for fantastic worlds full of magic and mayhem, regardless that it is nearly 600 pages long. I certainly became swept away by Gratton’s intricate world-building and storyline, along with complex characters that you can love and dislike at the same time. I’m wishing that it didn’t end, but it satisfied my hunger for a good — and this novel was not just good but awesome — fantasy. Because of The Queens of Innis Lear, the length of book really doesn’t matter to me much anymore since once you fall in love with a story, you just want to nestle up in it and call it your home. I am glad that I had the opportunity to read the latest Tessa Gratton novel, and I’ll be looking forward to more of her books!
Giveaway for a Copy of The Queens of Innis Lear!
Must be 13+ to Enter
5 Winners will receive a Copy of The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton
Ends on April 14, 2018
About the Author
Tessa Gratton is the Associate Director of Madcap Retreats and the author of the Blood Journals Series and Gods of New Asgard Series, co-author of YA writing books The Curiosities and The Anatomy of Curiosity, as well as dozens of short stories available in anthologies and on merryfates.com. Though she’s lived all over the world, she’s finally returned to her prairie roots in Kansas. Her current projects include YA Fantasy Strange Grace coming in 2018 and her adult fantasy debut, The Queens of Innis Lear, from Tor March 27, 2018. Visit her at tessagratton.com
Are you excited for The Queens of Innis Lear? Do you like fantasy novels?
Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!