When Queen Cressa of Weirandale comes under attack and narrowly escapes assassination, she decides to put her daughter, Princess Cerulia, in the care of a civilian family to keep her safe until she defeat can defeat the invaders for good. As the Queen battles her enemies, a Regent governs in her absence, but he has his own agenda: find the young Princess and install her in the throne so he can stay in power.
While the Regents minions search for Princess Cerulia war is also brewing with the surrounding Kingdoms. Everyone is in on the power grab. Princess Cerulia must find a way to survive and stop the invasion while there is still a Kingdom to rule.
If I could describe A Queen in Hiding in one word it would be “immersive”. The writing is so descriptive it is easy to get lost in the world of the Nine Realms. The characters are expertly drawn up, such that it felt as though I was experiencing everything right along with them. And the choice the author makes to write from multiple POVs of characters across the world from each other positions the reader as an all-seeing observer, watching the action take place from up close but not being able to affect the action. There were times I wanted to engage a character to protect them from harm or warn them of impending danger. During the times I was reading this book, I was completely submerged in the story.
A Queen in Hiding is also a very balanced book. While there is a lot of political intrigue, the story is not all gossip over tea and bureaucratic scheming – there is a lot of action, too. Not to understate it, as there is plenty of conspiracy and divisiveness, most of it was used as lead-up to some kind of conflict that results in a climax in the story. These mini-crescendos and diminuendos, ebbs and flows, allowed the story to persist at a pace that kept me engaged as a reader. Because of this, I found the book difficult to put down.
This book has so many characters that is was difficult to keep track of them in the beginning. This is not necessarily a negative, though, because it is necessitated by the world-building. There are Nine Realms to cover and several POVs, each having their own family, friends, and acquaintances with whom they are sharing experiences. As the story went on, it became easier to keep track of characters and their storylines, particularly because they each is written so uniquely.
The ending was really good, too, with some of the characters’ stories intersecting and others still doing their own thing. It takes a lot of planning to get storylines to converge in this way, and it seems as though the rest of the characters will be in on it soon, as well.
I usually dislike this comparison, because it is made too often (and it usually comes off as a bad marketing ploy), but I actually got major A Song of Ice and Fire vibes from this book. From the descriptions, to the characters and multiple POVs, and the way it is written focusing on each characters own journey while simultaneously sowing the seeds of converging storylines; A Queen in Hiding is quite similar to the notoriously complex and well-loved series. I hope that continues for the next three books in the Nine Realms procession.
I cannot recommend A Queen in Hiding enough. I loved it, and I think all fans of high fantasy and A Song of Ice and Fire, will, as well.