The Cerulean Queen


Sarah Kozloff


Science Fiction / Fantasy


Date Reviewed:

June 9th. 2021

he Cerulean Queen is the fourth and final novel in Kozloff's Nine Realms series. The book actually deserves a four star rating, but I generously awarded it an extra star because I liked the series. This installment tells how Cerúlia attempts to regain the throne of Weirandale and oust the usurper Matwyck.

The most interesting part of the story is the actions that Cerúlia takes to claim the crown. I like that she is ruthless. It certainly helped that she had a truth-compelling rock that forced someone under interrogation to tell the truth. How convenient something like that would be! I felt Cerúlia returned that stone too soon, she should have forced Matwyck to hold that stone while answering charges in a public trial.

The majority of the story focuses on Cerúlia and the battle for Weirandale. But there are some tangents that don't seem to belong, especially since the series is now ended. What is the point of including the story about Pedlar and Gunnit in the refugee camps of Alpetar? Also, what is the reason for the digression to tell the side story about the Hartling pottery business? Was Kozloff just trying to say farewell to favorite characters of hers, by allowing them one last, unnecessary appearance on the stage?

I was puzzled by the invading force of Oromondos under General Sumroth. Where did all the troops and ships come from? Suddenly Sumroth has a fleet and an organized army, ready to invade? I thought that last we saw of the Oromondos, they were disorganized and living in camps in Alpetar after fleeing their poisoned homeland.

I was expecting the nine gods to actively get involved in the battle between Oromondo and Weirandale, sort of like the Olympian gods inserted themselves into the action in the battle of Troy in the Iliad. I think it would have made a more exciting story if we seen the gods trying to directly influence the outcome.

The middle of the story does get bogged down a bit, while Cerúlia tries to rapidly repair all the wrongs committed by Matwyck. She brings an enlightened approach to governing. It was mentioned at one point how the treasury was out of money - that would have been another good use for the truth stone - force Matwyck and his enablers to confess where the money was hidden. At one point, a vast amount of wealth was supposed to be locked up in General Yurgn's castle. Did Cerúlia recover that money? Maybe I missed that part.

I did like Cerúlia's ability to communicate with animals. I thought that this talent could have been exploited even more; clever uses for animals to catch the Oromondo's off guard.

I enjoyed the series. My favorite book was the second one, The Queen of the Raiders. If Kozloff writes a new fantasy novel or series, I am sure it will be worth looking at.