A review by anna_hepworth
The True Queen, by Zen Cho

5.0

I probably missed some of the subtleties of this book, not least in what to expect from various characters, not having read book 1. My assumption is that the protagonist, Muna, is new to this books, as is the original setting in Janda Baik, but by chapter 5 the story has moved to England, and introduces rather a lot of characters in a hurry -- I did not at any point get some of them sorted out, and I'm not sure how much of that is because they weren't particularly relevant to this story, and how much was that they are generally back ground characters.

The plot is a relatively simple one in places, but there are a lot of twists and turns to get from one point to the next. I'm not sure how obvious the author meant for some of those twists to be, but it was certainly relatively obvious in places what was going to happen later. This isn't a complaint -- I like seeing how a story unfolds, regardless of whether I know what is going to happen.

There are places where the story is quite nasty. Not just in terms of 'period appropriate' misogyny and racism, but in terms of the individual interactions. There were a couple of sections where I thought the number of twists and turns of the story meant it was about to devolve into farce, and was pleased that it did not.

On the positive, there are some lovely explorations of what family means, in particular how sisters interact. This isn't necessarily all positive interaction, but the cross-cultural nature of the narrative means that there are some very different perspectives to explore.