A Broken Queen


Sarah Kozloff


Science Fiction / Fantasy


Date Reviewed:

December 20. 2020

Broken Queen is the third book in a four book series called The Nine Realms. It continues the story of Cerúlia, the princess of Weirandale, who rightfully should be Queen, but the evil Lord Regent Marwyck is seeking to murder her, so that he can remain in power himself. For the first two books in the series, Cerúlia was in hiding from the spies and assassins sent by Marwyck. But years have passed, and now she wants to return to her homeland and claim the crown.

There are many characters in this series. There is an eight page appendix at the back of the book, listing all the characters. True, the character names on the list are printed in big font, but still eight pages of characters indicates that there are a lot of people making an appearance. Kozloff does an impressive job of letting the reader keep all these characters straight. Despite their extensive number, and despite the fact that I finished the last volume several months ago, I did not get confused about who was who. However, because there are so many, the story of Cerúlia only occupies perhaps half of the book. The other half of the chapters tell the story of the adventures of all the other characters. I got the feeling that Kozloff spent most of book three positioning all of the people for the grand finale, to be revealed in the final book, The Cerulean Queen. Once they in their proper place, the chararacters are then left until the next book. Thus, we read all about shipwrecked Prince Mikil, but after the opening chapters, he never returns to the story. Sumroth, the diabolical general of Oromondo, appears in just one chapter and then is forgotten. Gunnit makes his way to Cascada, and then he too is forgotten.

The world building continues to be exceptional. There is a bit of magic, but it doesn't overwhelm the plot. The world has a pantheon of gods who look over the mortals, sort of like the classical Greek gods. The gods have their favorites, and influence what happens, like Hera and Artimes intervening in the events at Troy.

The depiction of Cerúlia is excellent, she is a sympathetic heroine. Tough and determined, but also plagued with self doubt, injured in spirit and body. Cerúlia is not a super hero who single-handedly slays an army of opponents; instead she has to rely on her wits and allies to achieve her goals - this makes Cerúlia more believable, and thus a more likable character. True, Cerúlia can speak with animals, so she isn't "normal", but this ability does not give her god-like powers.

I knocked one star off of a five star rating because I did not feel that the story had advanced far enough. Although Cerúlia has some adventures in A Broken Queen, there really isn't much that happens to her - a bit of convalesence, some journeys by ship. Compared to the first two volumes, Cerúlia's adventures seem tamer. I am looking forward to reading the final book in the Nine Realms, Kozloff has done a great job so far with this story, and I want to see how it all plays out. Presumably, each of these many characters all has a part to play (for good or ill) in the final story.