In the follow-up to the “delightful” Regency fantasy novel (NPR.org) Sorcerer to the Crown, a young woman with no memories of her past finds herself embroiled in dangerous politics in England and the land of the fae.
When sisters Muna and Sakti wake up on the peaceful beach of the island of Janda Baik, they can’t remember anything, except that they are bound as only sisters can be. They have been cursed by an unknown enchanter, and slowly Sakti starts to fade away. The only hope of saving her is to go to distant Britain, where the Sorceress Royal has established an academy to train women in magic.
If Muna is to save her sister, she must learn to navigate high society, and trick the English magicians into believing she is a magical prodigy. As she’s drawn into their intrigues, she must uncover the secrets of her past, and journey into a world with more magic than she had ever dreamed.
I requested The True Queen from Netgalley because I quite enjoyed reading the first book. There were some things I didn’t quite like, but all in all it was a good read. See my review for Sorcerer to the Crown here.
This book is set in Malaysia at the beginning, and I enjoyed reading about the difference in the climate and environment of Malaysia and UK, having lived in both countries.
At the beginning, I was confused as to how this book ties in with the first, but I grew to enjoy it a lot.
I absolutely adored Sakti and Muna, and saw the plot twist coming long before either of them did. It was quite fun to wait for them to realise what was going on. I did not see the second plot twist, and was so relieved about it, as I loved how different the characters were. I especially loved Muna and think she is one of my favourite characters in this series.
My absolute favourite character has got to be Henrietta. A mediocre witch, who has to hide the fact that she is studying magic, even though she realises there was no necessity for it. I loved how the book explored her motivation and feelings, even though she was a minor character. This is what I love about Zen Cho’s writing, she doesn’t only focus on the main characters, but shows the reader that every character is their own person and has their own motivations, goals, and aims.
Also, shout out to the mention of mangosteen, which has got to be one of my favourite fruits of all time – I wish I could get it more often in London!
The True Queen is a gorgeous fantasy book that definitely focusses a lot more on characters than most books I have read this year. I loved the book and am looking forward to the next one. The book could be read without reading the prequel.
Trigger warnings: death, murder, violence.
Have you read The True Queen or its prequel? What do you think of them?