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Review: The Queens of Innis Lear

The Queens of Innis Lear - Tessa Gratton

I received a copy from Netgalley.

I somehow wound up with three Netgalley e-arcs – one was a sample I got by mistake. One approval from the US site which I never expected to be approved for and one from the UK site (I have both UK and US residences so I use both sites).

Reading this book reminded me of the Charlie Brown episode “Happy New Year, Charlie Brown”. In the episode Charlie Brown’s class are assigned to read “War and Peace” over the Christmas holidays. A daunting task as it’s such a big book and throughout the episode poor Charlie Brown is trying his best but only ever seems to be on page 5 of the book. At the end of the episode his best friend Linus asks did he like the book? Charlie Brown replies he finished the book at 3a.m. and doesn’t remember a thing about it. 

Which pretty much summons up my experience reading the Queens of Innis Lear. No matter how much I read, I barely seemed to make a dent in (it felt like I hadn’t got past page 5!) which I actually did. That being said – I absolutely completely fell in love with this book. I loved it so much I bought a finished US hardcover, a finished UK paperback and an audio version. It did take me well over a year to actually finish it. 

The book is a fantasy themed retelling of King Lear – the mad king and the ungrateful daughters and a kingdom poised on the brink of war. King Lear is not a play I’m that familiar with and did have to read the Spark Notes a few times to familiarize myself with the original story. The novel is full to bursting, it’s richly written with the most excellent word building. It’s so lush in its details. It has the most wonderful history and magic woven into the story. There are a hell of a lot of characters to get to grips with, lots of different points of view. Emotional and romantic and violent and a myriad of other emotions. 

I remember very little of the plot the characters, just that I loved it to pieces.