The Nine Realms epic continues in Book 2 of the Series, The Queen of Raiders, as the Oromondo continue to occupy the Free States. Cerulia persists in her search for a path back to Weriandale (and its throne) after fleeing her enemies and landing on the island of Slagos. The would-be Queen must learn how to master her Talent as she learns more about herself and her ability to lead.
Meanwhile, supported by an underground resistance group, Thalen and his raiders continue to pester the Oros and have come up with a grand plan – one they hope will force the occupiers to leave their home forever.
In the background, the political games continue. Regent Matwyck, ruling as Lord Regent of Weirandale, works to keep a grip on Weirandale. And the Oros have mobilized their powerful Magi to deal with the raider problem.
As the story of the Nine Realms develops further, some characters will find that their goals align, while others will clash. The Series continues to evolve as The Queen of Raiders brings many of these storylines together in an epic fashion.
I am just going to come out and say it: The Queen of Raiders is spectacular. Sarah Kozloff continues to wow me with the Nine Realms series (read my review of Book 1 in the series: A Queen in Hiding here). Book 2 starts where A Queen in Hiding left off: Cerulia (or Wren, or whatever we are calling her these days) is on the run from Lord Regent Matwyck, who rules Weirandale in her stead. Thalen is still learning how to be a commander as his crew of raiders grows and begins their assault on the Oromondo regiment (“Oros”) that still occupies the Free States. In response, the Oros up their game and deploy their powerful magi to the battlefield.
Kozloff has me hooked on this series for many reasons. First is the complexity of the story. The reader experiences the journeys of each of the characters individually, and as the story evolves they start to come together in both expected and unexpected ways. This type of narrative takes a lot of planning and forethought, which is a boon for epic fantasy writers. As a reader, I am always looking forward to what is going to happen next and am always asking: what is the next step in each characters journey and how does it relate to the overall picture? The author does an excellent job of both making each character’s journey significant, but also ensuring each is just one piece of the overall narrative arc.
I have really come to care for the characters in this story, too. I find myself hoping that every action (or inaction) on the part of Cerulia is a step in the right direction (and cringing at every misstep), and I feel the loss deeply every time Thalen and his Raiders come back without a member or two. Even the antagonists have a place in my heart, as we continue to learn more about Lord Regent Matwyck plans for Weirandale and General Sumroth’s anger and rage – both full of ambition and give me something concrete to root against.
I love the ending, as well, and the way the story levels up in the same way it did in Book 1 of the series.
I am not going to lie: I am always nervous about reading the second book of a series when I enjoyed the first as much as I did. What if it was a fluke? What if the author takes the story in a direction that does not appeal to me? How would I deal with the disappointment?
To say that my fears were completely alleviated after reading The Queen of Raiders would be an understatement; not only did this book exceed expectations, I think I like it even more than A Queen in Hiding (Book 1), which is really saying something.
Sarah Kozloff’s writing in the Nine Realms series continues to amaze me. The Queen of Raiders is just as immersive as the first book, wonderfully descriptive, delightfully complex, and contains a cast of characters that are completely relatable. I recommend The Queen of Raiders for all fantasy fans, and especially for those who enjoy High Fantasy.