THE TRUE QUEEN
SERIES: Sorcerer Royal #2
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: Historical Fantasy
REPRESENTATION: Malaysian MCs [f/f relationship, black side character, mixed race side character]
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.
A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Sorcerer to the Crown was one of my absolute favourite books I read last year so I was unbelievably stoked to see that this sequel was coming out this year.
Since the mercenary, ambitious Prunella was my highlight of the first book I was a little disappointed to read The True Queen‘s summary and see that the story veers off to centre new characters. I shouldn’t have worried though, because the new characters are great and it totally worked! Something that’s nice is that although Prunella, Zacharias and some of the characters from Sorcerer to the Crown make appearances and cameos, if you really wanted too, you could read The True Queen with only minimal spoilers for the first book.
The new protagonists are Muna and, to a lesser extent, her sister Sakti. The girls are very different but there’s a great and really believable sibling dynamic between them in the scenes where they’re together. I also thought that in the sections where they’re separated, Muna really felt like a worrying sister. I thought the Muna was a really compelling character and I’m glad that of the two sisters we saw the most of her.
I thought that she was an interesting choice as a lead. She’s doesn’t have Prunella’s obvious power and strength, nor does she have the very vibrant, loud personality of Sakti. She’s quite quiet, hard-working, and loyal and she seems determined to put others before herself. The way Cho writes her, however, completely sucked me in and fascinated me. Muna does become part of an f/f relationship, but not until the very, very end of the book and it’s played very low-key throughout.
Although I was sad to see less of Prunella, I loved that we got to see more of the dangerous Fairyland which was really only hinted at and mentioned in Sorcerer to the Crown. I loved that we got to see more of the politics of the Fairy Queen and her court, more of the dragons and more of the aftermath of Prunella’s claiming the Sorcerer Royal staff. I liked that things don’t appear to have gone smoothly, but that she, Zacharias and the school have been making progress.
The True Queen manages to be very different from Sorcerer to the Crown while being just as engaging and just as magical. I adore the world and characters Zen Cho has created in these books and I’m really, really excited see where she takes the series next. I just don’t know how I’m going to handle the wait.
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