The True Queen (Sorcerer Royal #2) by Zen Cho

The True Queen is the second in the Sorcerer Royal series by Zen Cho and it’s a book that I really enjoyed.  I think if I was pressed I would have to own that the first in the series caught my attention in quite a dramatic fashion and made it somewhat difficult to compete with but I think the True Queen does a really good job as a follow up.

To be clear, this is not really a sequel as such.  Well, it does follow events from the first book, and some of the characters are present here, but we follow a different story and focus on different people.  I think it’s a really good idea to be honest although it’s also a little bit fraught in that you’re not getting the characters you already came to know so at the same time it’s something of a gamble.

The opening sequence brings to us two sisters, stranded on a beach on the island of Janda Baik, Muna and Sakti.  They both have no memories of who they are, where they’re from, or anything else of significance basically, other than they know they’re sisters.  The two eventually fall under the protection and tutelage of a local witch known as Mak Genggang.  Sakti is the only one of the sisters who presents with any magical ability and is trained as such. Muna finds herself helping in the household in other ways.  Unfortunately, the two sisters undertake a risky adventure that backfires and as a result they’re pressed into a position of having to leave the Island of Janda Bai so as not to draw unfavourable attention.  Mak Genggang is forced to call upon the friendship and respect of the Sorcerer to the Crown – Prunella.  The two sisters are granted places at Prunella’s school for magiciennes in London and both set off, on a rather unconventional route.   Along the way Sakti disappears and whilst Muna manages to reach the safety of London she now finds herself in a desperately precarious position. Her sister has vanished and by the look of things perhaps been taken into the fairy realm and on top of this Muna not only needs help but also needs to masquerade as a person with magic in order to keep her place at the school.  To make matters worse it seems that the Queen of the fae has issues, she’s having one of her moments when she thinks everyone is against her and consequently is on the rampage.

I really did enjoy this – with a couple of small issues which I think I will highlight first.  I think the opening chapter is terribly spoilerific.  It just gives away far too much imho and I think it should have been shortened.  On top of this I found Sakti quite an annoying character, very flighty and a little bit superior and uncaring towards Muna (although at the same time I think this was possibly intentional on the part of the author).  Muna came across as very caring and was genuinely concerned about her sister all the time but the relationship didn’t feel reciprocal.  The other thing that I felt a slight concern about was the way Muna was treated when she arrived in the UK.  Everyone was of course completely solicitous to her in terms of comfort but I felt their lack of concern over the disappearance of Sakti was really quite dreadful and bordered on the verge of rudeness.  Although, again, I think this was probably the intention of the author in order to really exacerbate the way people behaved during the Regency period.  “Oh, your sister has mysteriously disappeared?  Dear me.  Have a cup of tea and everything will be tickety-boo directly.”

To be honest, my niggles were few.  I loved finding myself in this absurd regency world where manners are more important than threatening to eat somebody or cut off their head.  I just loved the nonsense of it all.  I really enjoyed going to the land of the fae – via a circuitous route that is full of fun and I thought this was charming and appealing in equal measure.

The one thing I hadn’t foreseen, because of course I wasn’t aware of the change in tack, was the introduction to two thoroughly enjoyable characters in Muna and Henrietta and the friendship that develops between the two as the story progresses.  Hernrietta was a great character, thoroughly self deprecating and yet very dependable in a tricky situation.

Overall, a few niggles aside I thought this was a great second instalment and I can’t wait to see where the author takes us next.  One thing that I feel absolutely certain of is that this series will not be predictable.

A thoroughly charming book of magic, manners and regency silliness that is both entertaining and incredibly easy to read.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publishers, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

 

 

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15 Responses to “The True Queen (Sorcerer Royal #2) by Zen Cho”

  1. Tammy

    I can’t wait to read this, Lynn. And I haven’t read the first book so I have nothing to compare it to!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Which can be a good thing right. I hope you like it.
      Lynn 😀

  2. waytoofantasy

    Great review, really looking forward to this one.
    “Have a cup of tea and everything will be tickety-boo directly.” Lol

  3. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    I have this on my reading queue and will probably read it as soon as I finish my current book: my only misgiving came from the fact that it’s the second volume in a series, but you put my fears to rest when you said it’s focused on a different set of characters…
    Great review, and thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I definitely think this stands on it’s own. Characters from the first book show up but they’re not the main focus.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Thanks for confirming that it is not a true sequel, I suspected that from the blurb because I did not recognize any of the names, but it’s good to know it can be read as a standalone (because it’s been so long since the first book, my memory about it is kinda fuzzy). I am hoping to read this soon, so I skipped over the middle parts of your review, but glad to hear it was good! “Charming” is exactly what I’ve been hoping for 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      It is charming and although some of the characters from the first appear they’re not the main focus. I liked the shift to be honest. I don’t think you’ll have a problem remembering tbh.
      Lynn 😀

  5. bkfrgr

    I’m hoping to read Sorcerer to the Crown for Wyrd and Wonder in May, and I’m looking forward to getting round to it. This sounds equally appealing – on the list it goes.
    Awesome review, as always. 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Many thanks – i hope you enjoy both and I’m really looking forward to all the forthcoming books that are highlighted as part of W&W.
      Lynn 😀

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