Thorn Queen by Richelle Mead
Eugenie Markham is a shaman for hire. She's paid
to bind and banish creatures from the
But something happened after her last battle. She became queen of the Thorn Land. With her kingdom in tatters, her love life in chaos, and eager to avoid the prophecy about her firstborn destroying mankind, the job's really not all it's cracked up to be.
Now young girls are disappearing from the Otherworld, and no one seems willing to find out why. Or to put an end to it. Not that Eugenie's fazed by spilling fey blood, but this enemy is shrewd, subtle, and dangerous -- and nursing a very personal grudge.
Eugenie must venture deep into the Otherworld and trust in a power she can barely control. She may be a reluctant queen, but she's vowed to do her duty, even if it means facing the darkest and deadliest side of her nature.
Publishes in US: 2009 by Bantam
Genre: adult fantasy
Audience alert: this is an adult book. It does contain sex scenes that aren't fade to black as well as mentions of rape and violence. If you are under 18, get your parent's advice if this is a book for you.
Series? Dark Swan #2
#1 Storm Born
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I wanted to read Thorn Queen because I love Richelle Mead, as well as the first in this series. Eugenie is charismatic, and I love her passion and energy. She is now the queen of a kingdom in the other world since she defeated its king. She is totally inexperienced and didn't have much interest in it, but as the story goes on and she meets some of the subjects, she can't help but feel responsible and want to help.
She begins splitting her time between the worlds, and trying to figure out her new place in things. She is still with Kiyo, and I like them together, but they aren't without their issues. Kiyo of course is expecting a baby with one of the queens of the Fae world, Maiwenn. When he isn't doing that, or busy with his veterinarian job, Eugenie is balancing her shaman work with her obligations in the Thorn land.
Things get pretty complicated with known issues, and other new characters, ones that are still wanting to rape her, another who is in love with her and trying to win her hand, and having to deal with gentry girls going missing and coming back traumatized, and of course, her sister running around. Dorian is helping her be established as a queen and get her kingdom running by helping her to get staff in place, making trade negotiations, and sending someone to help her learn to work with air magic. There is still the sexual tension between the two, and I have to wonder like Eugenie does what his motivations are at times.
I love the funnies that Richelle writes in her books. It helps keep things from being too heavy, and I love her sense of humor. For example:
“I had a few other things on my mind. Like if it was going to rain every time I got aroused. That was not cool. I guessed I could handle it so long as it rained other times as well. I didn’t want the connection to be so obvious. Hey, it’s raining! The queen must have gotten laid. Ooh…is that hail? Must have been into some kinky shit today.”
But even with the humor and the steam, she doesn't shy away from the complexities of character. Eugenie had so many layers, and she had to deal with lots. She was torn between the worlds. Her and her stepdad Roland fight about how much she's been going to the Otherworld. It is also an argument between her and Kiyo, and they begin having issues that are bigger than him being the father to another woman's baby. Kiyo also encourages her to stay out of the politics and doesn't want her to keep learning and practicing magic. It's sad but inevitable with the way the story was going. Dorian has a play in it, and he has to have his moment to shine, and Richelle may even go with him rather than Kiyo.
Some of her inner monologue really sums up her character struggles and growth in this one.
I'd realized just before my capture that I loved both him and Kiyo, loved them just as my blood and soul were also split in two. The two halves of my nature would always war with each other.
The ending was good, and I liked the wrap up but the huge issues yet to be resolved, and Eugenie on a thin line balancing her control and desire for magic. I will definitely be continuing this series.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Would you want to rule a kingdom?