Review of Queen of All by Anya Leigh Josephs
This was just okay. The writing was good but the story was lacking. I love sapphic, YA fantasy, but unfortunately, this wasn’t the book I was hoping for. While this was disappointing, I did see some clear potential in the writing. Since this is the start of the series, I still might read book 2 when it comes out in hopes that Josephs’ can find her story magic.
I really enjoyed the beginning of the book and I found the writing style to be very easy to read. I liked the main character Jena, whose POV we are in, and I liked that she was plus-size. Although some of her internal fat-shaming was a bit much at times, it was nice to have characters with curves. Jenna is pretty young when the book starts out, most of the time she is 15. Her character did feel a little young at times, but I did see some growth by the end of the book.
While this has the LGBTQ tag, there is no romance. Well, there is an M/F romance between two secondary characters, but our main character is a lesbian who is stuck with a giant crush. It’s an unrequited love storyline so there is no main character romance.
The biggest problem I had with this book is twofold. One, the pace was pretty slow at times. The book would just meander along and I would keep waiting for it to pick up. I talk about how fantasy books often start off slow, which happened here, but this book never stopped being slow.
The second problem, which was the biggest, is that nothing happened! There was not much plot in this book. This book was about farm chores, traveling, learning palace etiquette, the secondary character dating, and one finale storyline that I’ll keep secret for spoiler reasons… but that is it. That was the whole book. There was never any conflict to drive the story. It looked like a villain was appearing, but that fizzled, then a problem for the characters to face, but then it was quickly solved. There was just nothing to keep me reading. It was only the fact that I figured something had to happen, so I kept reading even though nothing ever did.
As much as this book didn’t work for me plot-wise, I’m still tempted to read the sequel. It feels like to me that this should not have been a complete book one. This book could have been easily cut down by a third or even a half and it should have just been part one. This book just seemed to end when the story might actually begin, so the second book that is coming out next year should have been combined with this one in only one book. I know authors love to write fantasy series, but fantasy is tricky and writing bigger epic books always works better than short chopped-up half stories. In the end, I can’t really recommend this one, but I won’t say stay away either. This series will really depend on how good book 2 is. The potential is there but it needs a gripping plot. 3 stars
A copy was given to me for a review.