Reviews

The Queen of Crows by Myke Cole

eastofreality's review

Go to review page

adventurous challenging dark sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

bethtabler's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

Getting old is more than marking days off on a calendar. It is a state of mind. Age can happen over many years with slow growth, tremulously, and wobbly marching towards adulthood and old age. Or age can occur in an instant. It is marked by one moment, a precipice that you are thrown off of never to be the same. Heloise started this series as a child, naive, young and untested. Not any more. Heloise is an old soul now - battle-scarred, hardened, and worldly. In a way, her forced toughness is a little death. The death of who Heloise could have been. She could have been someone's wife, a mother, and a partner. Maybe Heloise can be those things in the future. If she can survive the coming events. She has already lost pieces of herself, more than the physical (an arm, and now an eye.) Maybe those are things that she no longer wants.

We have a lot of maybes at the end of book two.

What I can tell you is that this book is nearly as good as the first one. (please see my glowing review here) I said that Heloise is the hero that we need now. It still holds I think Heloise is the hero that this story needs and the hero that we, as a society, need to read. We need strong female characters that are not written into the corner of false insusceptibility. The vulnerability can be a strength if one can conquer it. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the power to overcome weakness and terror to do what needs to be done. Heloise does that. Cole has written a female character outside of the archetypes. Authors either write female warrior characters as fearless and invulnerable, which is false and frankly lazy. Or they write them as needy. They need to be saved, and usually, that is by some hunky and strong man. Heloise is neither. She is vulnerable, and the epitome of strength all rolled into an iron machine set to save and free her people. Heloise needs to be protected by no one, not her parents or the traveling people. This is her duty, and she understands what fear is. But fear will not conquer her.

The insane thing is that Cole is doing this inside of 250 pages.

"Getting old's the hardest thing I've ever had to do. But it's taught me that...that life is like being a mouse caught in a river current. So much of living is simply trying to keep from going under long enough to ride the water to its end."

The story starts right as we left off from the first book. Heloise is in the thick of things. The first novel of the series, The Armoured Saint, is about Heloise shedding her childhood. While the second, Queen of Crows, is about her accepting the mantle of leadership and what that means. Interestingly, Cole gives us a new character group called the Traveling People. They are the antithesis of the villagers, both in religion and personality. This opens up the story to ingrained prejudices on both sides and how that plays out when put into hairy situations where one must rely on the other for survival. One thing they do have in common is an enemy in The Order. Even the names that Cole chose are clever. The order: a group is adhering to an orderly and systematic belief structure. The Traveling People: wild and free unbound by rigidity. The Villagers: a group right in the middle, ordinary people. These names reinforce the worldbuilding that Cole does and helps create those identities in the three groups.
I say that this is almost as good as the first one. This was a close thing 4.5 stars instead of 5. Some of the turns in the plot felt a little shaky to me. Especially those with the traveling people and I won't go into specifics, because why ruin it.

The Queen of Crows is an incredible book. Dark and grim, but with the occasional glimmer of hope amongst the pain. This story is Grimdark done right. I can not wait to read the next one; if it is anything like the previous two, then I am in for a wild ride. The final book in this series comes out on November 12th. Get to reading, so you are ready for it.

rikkesreadingnook's review

Go to review page

adventurous inspiring sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated

3.0

hagbard_celine's review against another edition

Go to review page

2.0

Middle book syndrome, and a gory case at that.

cameronkc's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

This was 250 pages and not one of them was wasted. This book picks up and wastes no time getting into the action. There is constant motion and advancement in the story with only the characters interactions and inner thoughts guiding you. I liked the fast pace of things and enjoyed reading this (it only took a few hours). While I learned a little more about some of the people inhabiting Cole's universe there was not a lot more information about the big bad emperor, devils, and what exactly the hell is going on. If you ignore the larger questions of the world, this was an entertaining and extremely fast read.

kynan's review against another edition

Go to review page

2.0

[b:The Armored Saint|35018914|The Armored Saint (The Sacred Throne, #1)|Myke Cole|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1499255978l/35018914._SX50_.jpg|50836132] spoilers ahead, go back and start with book one! If you like book one, it's likely that you'll also like this one.

I always feel bad when I rate something as two-stars because it feels like less than the "It was OK" that Goodreads states those two stars stand for. "It was OK" is not the kiss of death! It's more of a modern Curate's Egg, "partly bad, and partly good". And that's precisely how I feel about The Sacred Throne series so far. I've read book two, and I'm going to read book three, and that's not something I'd do if I wasn't enjoying the story so, you know, it's definitely not a "didn't like it" (and, if you think about it, just because you don't like a book, that's not necessarily a great reason not to read it, this is just a super-subjective guide to what people like and if your likes tend to line up with some other person's, then you can maybe use their star ratings to locate a book that you'll acively enjoy reading...this is a terrible tangent, stopping...NOW).

So, we step back into Heloise's stinky boots exactly where we left off in book one and I think that you could reasonably say that book two is very much the same beast. If you liked the casual brutality and the "who's dead now?" element, that's still very much in play. If you're interested in the young female lead kicking ass and taking names, you'll be glad to see Heloise really starting to learn how to use her new-found War Machine to good advantage, if you are rooting for a battle between corrupt religious bodies floating in unearned luxury atop the unwashed and oppressed masses, step right up! There's a lot to like about this story, it's not what you'd call original - in fact, one of the things I'm having trouble with is that I keep having triggered Wheel of Time (WoT) flashbacks. When we meet the Travelling People in this story and learn of their adherence to a religion of sorts that alludes to the Wheel of life taking people around, who travel from place to place to avoid the Order (although very much not following the Way of the Leaf), the powers revealed back in Armored Saint wielded by the wizards, and another point of similarity that currently escapes me, well that comparison just starts to be drawn. And that's not really fair, because obviously both stories are drawing in reality, and stories that have grown around those realities. But the problem I have with the Sacred Throne is that it feels somewhat the opposite of WoT. Where WoT meanders, drags it's feet and generally doesn't know when to leave a sub-plot along, Sacred Throne feels like it's all skeleton and no meat. All of the potential sub-plots are poking out all over the place and obnoxiously jab you in the face, constantly. This leads to a tight, fast-paced story (I'm averaging two days per book so far) but one that also feels like it could have had a bit more character development and time for the character interactions to occur more naturally.

Heloise feels like she's growing in fast-forward and I'm having a little trouble buying it. Likewise, in reverse, for Samson, Sigir and Barnard, and all the other villagers come to that. Not to mention the cardboard cut-out bad guy that is Tone. Everyone's just super-two dimensional.

OK, enough ragging on the poor book because, as I've pointed out, I am actually enjoying it. I truly thought I knew exactly what would happen back in Armored Saint and Clodio's arc really surprised me, I did not see his catalysing actions coming at all. And there's more twisty bits of that nature in Queen of Crows too, and lots more action and adventure. The strong, nascent-homosexual female lead (although something that's becoming a lot more common) is a welcome normalising element, but it keeps popping up at inelegant moments and I can't tell if I have a weird bias that makes me feel like it's inelegant, or if this is another symptom of the EverythingsHappeningAllAtOnceOhMyWhoJustDiedNevermindILoveHerFIGHTIneedABath skeleton writing style. Either way, it's nice too see a two-dimensionalish female lead doing unbelievable things and saving the day instead of a male one for a change.

Err, in short: read this if you liked book one, and expect to need to read book three to find closure.

do want to know what's going to happen next and

theviolettides's review against another edition

Go to review page

Loved the first one and the general premise, but was thrown off by the constant back and forth between the townspeople during the first few scenes of this one .. definitely lessened the reading experience, dnf

mhcovill's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

Continues the adventures of Heloise and her village as they seek out a life of freedom from the wicked Order. The stakes are much higher this time around and the combat has reached an epic scale. It’s easy for me to compare this middle chapter to something like The Two Towers with an epic siege battle and the unfortunate burden of being the middle chapter, but I was highly entertained. Im looking forward to the final book of this violent and exciting trilogy.

someonetookit's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

Holy snapping duck shit, this was fantastic

ktjawrites's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

The Armored Saint was an intimate introduction to Heloise; The Queen of Crows is an exhilarating continuation which I couldn’t get enough of.