Now I’m going to say something that I don’t think I’ve ever said about a book. Ever.
I wish it were longer.
That’s right, I wanted (and think there should have been) more. Like 100 pages more.
But let me begin at the beginning.
The cover of Queen of Something is what drew me in. I mean, come on. Look at how beautiful it is! Sherry will sell tons of copies just with the cover, especially in brick and mortar bookstores. I sure am buying a copy. And you should too. Use one of my handy purchase links and help me pay the bills!
The story absolutely lives up to the cover. The beginning is totally badass, giving us an immediate idea of the strength and courage of Sophia (her given name). Then the story slows down a bit while Sherry sets the scene and the background, introducing all the characters, and doing a pretty good job of developing them, given that the book is about 100 pages short. Then it builds to a nice climax, leaving me pining for the sequel, before this first installment has even been published! Well done, Sherry.
Now here’s why I wish there were about 100 more pages. The romance. There are a couple of romance lines (Sophia/Catherine is a bit of a man-killer), and I with there had been more detail on how the romances came to be. Don’t get me wrong, I totally can see why Sophia loves these men. And I totally see why they’re fascinated by her. She has an Elizabeth I feel to her. Mysterious and powerful and compelling. So I really hope Sherry spends some more time in the sequel on further developing the romance.
Now here’s a bit of advice for you. If you’re a Russian history buff, suspend your expertise as you read. Sherry takes many liberties with the history. And that’s just fine. She’s not writing a biography. She’s not Phillipa Gregory. She wrote a novel loosely based on the life of an amazing historical figure, taking the rough outlines of the history and making it engaging and interesting. She even mentions in a note at the end of the book that she knows she took liberties, and to basically get over it and enjoy. Good advice. Take it and you’ll really like this book if you’re a fan of historical YA fiction with a touch of romance. Obsess over the history, and you’ll just be irritated for the entire book.