Asa would fall, and the women of Viridia would rise
Now that Asa sits on the throne, he will stop at nothing to make sure Malachi never sets foot in the palace again. When Nomi and Malachi arrive on the island of Mount Ruin, it is not the island of conquered, broken women that they expected. It is an island in the grip of revolution, and Serina–polite, submissive Serina–is its leader. They plan to sweep across the entire kingdom, issuing in a new age of freedom for all. But first they’ll have to get rid of Asa, and only Nomi knows how.
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4 / 5
First off, why are we using models on YA book covers still? Pretty sure they aren’t even the same women as the other cover… That aside, Queen of Ruin is a fantastic and worthy sequel to Grace and Fury.
She was with her sister, her family, first and foremost. Forever.
We pick up where we left off (I had to read a recap online): Asa has betrayed his brother Malachi, killing their father and shipping Nomi and Malachi with a deathly wound off to Mount Ruin prison. On the island, Serina and the other women have successfully overthrown the guards to take control. The sisters reunite and begin to plot to take down Asa.
Whilst both women are interesting with solid plotlines, I definitely felt more invested in Serina than Nomi. Serina is a more unique character: a woman who was once a conformer, happy with her station in life, who took the fall for her rebellious sister and learned to stand up for herself. Now she’s in charge of an island full of angry women and she sticks hard to the principles of democracy, even when it’s inconvenient for her, and she stands up for those she doesn’t even like because it’s right. Serina is fantastic. I even like her romance with Val, the prison guard. They feel natural together and don’t hold each other back.
The women of Mount Ruin held vigil through the long night, with their stories, their prayers, their regrets and hopes filling the space between them, until it didn’t really feel like space at all
On the flipside, Nomi is much more of a YA cliche. She’s rebellious and flighty and hotheaded. She falls in love with a hot prince who used to act cold to her and is misunderstooood. I do dig the clear sisterly love and the respect between them. I wish they had more time together, and I definitely found myself more invested in Serina’s chapters. Whilst I loved the feminist themes, I did find it a touch overdone and heavy handed at points, which dragged me out of my immersion.
Overall, Queen of Ruin was a fantastic sequel and the conclusion of an excellent duology that did a great job of being original and subverting expectations. I’ve definitely got my eye out for whatever Tracy Banghart writes next.
My thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an ARC of Queen of Ruin.