A Curse of Queens
Grade : B+

In A Curse of Queens, book four in Amanda Bouchet's Kingmaker Chronicles, series leads Cat and Griffin make way for Jo and Flynn’s romance to play out, and take on more of a supporting role - though their trials and tribulations make up a large part of this story. The three kingdoms of Thalyria have finally been reunited after centuries of strife and conflict, so everything should be smooth sailing from here on in for the characters we’ve been following, right? 

Jocasta, otherwise known as Jo, a healer by trade, is the sister of Griffin, King of Thalyria, and for years, she has prepared herself to begin a courtship with Flynn of Sintra, her lifelong friend and captain of the guard.  But when she kisses Flynn and he apologizes, the notion is forgotten, and they lapse into a bitter estrangement.  Meanwhile, Griffin tries to pair Jo up with Alexander, a local nobleman who has a vast knowledge of gardens.  While they don’t strike sparks, he and Jo do become friends. 

Then Catalia – aka Cat, pregnant Queen of the realm - falls under the sway of a heavy curse which makes her immortal. Frozen in time, she’s destined never to age – or to deliver the baby she’s carrying, a girl prophesized to finish her parent’s work and bring peace and harmony to Thalyria.  When Cat suggests she has a cesarian section, Persephone, the castle’s healer, informs them that the baby would simply be stuck as an infant permanently, and would never grow to fulfill her destiny. While Zeus has been hard at work crafting this destiny for Thalyria for generations, it seems another Olympian has decided to step in to foul up his plans. 

When Jocasta learns of the terrible fate that has befallen her sister-in-law and unborn niece, she studies the possibilities and then determines to consult with Circe and beg her to create a plant and brew a potion which will reverse the curse. But no mortal has ever survived the journey.  The difficult sea voyage may be a fool’s errand, and it may end in Jo’s death, but she has found a scroll that contains all the advice she needs to get there and win the goddess’ favor – which will involve a five-part trial.  Her family balks at letting her go, but Griffin has faith in her.  Flynn, to her shock, volunteers to go with her. 

In close quarters, each battling a crush, Flynn and Jo take on the long and difficult journey to Circe’s abode. But it soon becomes clear that they are all simply pawns in a brewing war between the Olympian gods themselves. 

As always, Amanda Bouchet knows how to sculpt a fantasy world that’s rich with meaning and lore, though this book definitely doesn’t work as a stand-alone and is best read after you’ve consumed the rest of the (so far) quadrillogy.  

Bouchet’s determined and fearless heroine is a lot of fun to follow. Jo is a standout among the women she’s created, and I really liked her – she’s smart determined, and never foolish or reckless.  Flynn is also memorable in his determination to protect her, in his dedication to honor and nobility.  Their passion is angsty, thwarted, then requited and fiery.  They make a fabulous couple. 

Bouchet’s version of mashed-up Greek mythology is, thus far, my favorite take on the subject; her Gods are meretricious but not without their finer complexities.  The adventure here is dramatic, frightening, fun and emotionally moving. 

A Curse of Queens works beautifully as a continuation of the never-ending tale of Thalyria and finally gives fans of the kingdom’s travails a satisfying conclusion to Flynn and Jo’s romance.  It’s highly recommended, but only if you’ve read what’s come before it. 

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local independent retailer 

Visit our Amazon Storefront 

Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes
Grade : B+
Book Type: Fantasy Romance

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : October 4, 2022

Publication Date: 10/2022

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Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier
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