Of Fire and Ash / Summer Queen

Summer Queen

This review is brought to you as part of the Virtual Book Tour for Summer Queen, hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Please note that this review may contain spoilers for its prequel, Winter Queen. You can read my review of this novel [here].

The Fairy Queens series was written by Amber Argyle, author of the highly regarded Witch Song series. They are high fantasy novels, set in a world where the balance of nature is controlled by powerful faeries. The series currently consists of two novels – Winter Queen (2013) and Summer Queen (2015) – and the novella Of Fire and Ash (2015) which falls between them. The third novel of the series has been titled Daughter of Winter, although a release date for this has not yet been set.

As a child, Nelay made a deal with the faeries in order to save her father’s life. She has always known that one day they will return to her to collect a heavy price for this but as the years rolled on, gradually her ability to see the creatures has faded. She is now an acolyte at the Temple of the Fire Goddess and the High Priestess is about to ask her to make a terrible sacrifice.

Zatal, King of Idara, has been fighting an endless war against the invading Clansmen, yet his forces are failing. To make matters worse, his wife has born him only daughters and so he has no heir to carry on his dynasty if he falls in battle. The High Priestess has offered Nelay to him as a Queen, promising that she will be set free from the unwanted marriage only after she has given the King three sons.

Yet Nelay has other plans. With the help of her friend Jezzel and the handsome smuggler Rycus, she manages to escape the Temple and flees across the desert. Her only concern is to reach her family home and ensure that her family are safe from the encroaching Clans. What Nelay does not realise is that she is merely the pawn in a larger game. The faeries still want for her to uphold her end of the bargain and the price they are asking is far greater than she could ever have imagined.

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Winter Queen

Winter Queen

Today’s review is a bit of a bonus. I’m taking part in a book tour for this novel’s sequel in a couple of weeks’ time and originally planned on reviewing the two books together. However, as I do have quite a lot to say about this story, I figured it would be easier on the eyes to split the review in half. Please come back on 17th June if you’d like to read more about this series!

Winter Queen was written by Amber Argyle and forms the first part of the Fairy Queens series. It was first published in 2013 and is followed by the novella Of Fire and Ash (2015) and its true sequel Summer Queen (2015). The third novel in the series has been titled Daughter of Winter, but a release date for this title has not yet been set.

Ilyenna leads a tough life. She is only seventeen and yet has recently been named as clan mistress – the highest ranked woman in the Shyle Clan. The nine Clans have always been firm allies, united against the shared threat of the Raiders, however the Tyran Clan have just broken this peace agreement by savagely attacking the Shyle’s neighbours – the Argon Clan.

As Ilyenna’s people rush to the Argon’s aid, they find themselves drawn into a brutal Civil War which quickly brings the wrath of the Tyran’s down upon them. As her village is raided, Ilyenna manages to kill the Tyran heir before his younger brother strikes her a fatal blow. As she lies dying, the winter fairies come to her and offer her their aid. They can save her life but in return they want for her to become their Queen.

Although she accepts their help, Ilyenna finds that she can’t accept the high price – the loss of her family and humanity – required to become the Winter Queen. Instead, she returns to her village and is quickly taken as a slave by the man who wounded her. Darrien is a cruel man who will stop at nothing to gain her hand in marriage, forcing Ilyenna to make a difficult decision. The Winter Queen would have the power to defeat all of her enemies but can she stand to lose everything that makes her who she is?

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