“I adore this—rich, epic, blood-soaked—a glorious and grand sweeping fantasy.” —Kate Elliott, author of The Poisoned Blade
“A gloriously symphonic, thematically rich variation on the story of the daughters of Lear. The danger of seeking certainty makes this a tale for our time; the power of truth and mercy makes it a tale for all times. Prepare to devour every word, for Innis Lear will consume you.” —Karen Lord, author of Redemption in Indigo
“Messy, beautiful, and dark, darker than Shakespeare could have dreamed.” —E. K. Johnston, author of Star Wars: Ahsoka
The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes.
The king’s three daughters—battle-hungry Gaela, master manipulator Reagan, and restrained, starblessed Elia—know the realm’s only chance of resurrection is to crown a new sovereign, proving a strong hand can resurrect magic and defend itself. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align and a poison ritual can be enacted.
Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war—but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided.
Queens of Innis Lear is a retelling of Shakespeare play King Lear. The book is spread out in 5 pats, similar to the 5 acts in the play. The names of 2 of the daughters were changed (not sure why).
Goneril (Lear’s eldest daughter) is Gaela in the book
Regan (Lear’s second daughter) is still Regan in the book
Cordelia (Lear’s youngest daughter) is Elia in the book
The location for the book is the Island of Lear, not England. The island in itself is an amazing character, with its own language that only those with magic can hear and understand. Seeing the turmoil that the land was going through during the story was in my eyes a story in itself.
Lear doesn’t believe in the magic of the land, he rather the follow the magic of the stars, since they never change, ever constant. The stars predicted his wife’s arrival, the birth of 3 daughters and the death of his wife. He chose to let the stars dictate his life and how he should go about handling his people. After the death of his wife, the strain started building between his daughters and himself.
Outside of the daughters and Lear, there are a number of characters that play roles in the story, even if they are the outside characters whose impact doesn’t play vital parts. I found I had a soft spot for Ban the Fox, the bastard son of Earl Errigal. He never wavered over the use of his magic. He uses it while being a soldier for the King of Aremoria. Ban I felt was the most to gain or lose in the entire story, and I honestly cannot blame him for the part he had by the end.
There is quite a bit of political intrigue, masked motives, secrets, betrayals and magic in this book.
I won’t lie this is a very word heavy book, and at times it can drag. I felt that there were parts in the story that didn’t need to be there, it was just there for descriptions sake. The action didn’t show until the last part of the book, so if you are expecting action right away you will be sadly disappointed.
There were times I was considering DNFing it, but I just had to see how this book was going to end despite knowing how the play ends.
It made for a good fantasy story, even if you don’t know anything about the play, it’s worth picking up. The promise is there. Just make sure you set enough time aside to read all of it, not a quick read.
Tessa Gratton is the Associate Director of Madcap Retreats and the author of the Blood Journals Series and Gods of New Asgard Series, co-author of YA writing books The Curiosities and The Anatomy of Curiosity, as well as dozens of short stories available in anthologies and on merryfates.com. Though she’s lived all over the world, she’s finally returned to her prairie roots in Kansas with her wife. Her current projects include Tremontaineat Serial Box Publishing, YA Fantasy Strange Grace coming in 2018, and her adult fantasy debut, The Queens of Innis Lear, from Tor March 27, 2018. Visit her at tessagratton.com