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Review: A Parliament of Queens – Jaime Lee Moyer

A Parliament of Queens - Jaime Lee Moyer

Genre: Epic Fantasy

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About The Book

Three young women who were never supposed to rule, suddenly find themselves sitting on the throne.

Their fathers were allies and friends, their older brothers raised to wear the crown from birth, but tragic accidents claim their all within a short amount of time. Their daughters are left to mourn, and learn how to rule.

But the childhood friends begin to talk, band together, and discover so much more; a continent wide conspiracy.

Rosalind is the alchemist Queen of Kenor, a scientist and talented inventor. Maryam is the Radiance of Alsmeria, a young wife and mother, and a master swordswoman. Sofija is the Empress of Dalmatia, trained by the Hidden and a skilled knife dancer. The three of them join together, aided by Rosalind’s lover and partner Sir Owen Malcelm, Queen’s Chancellor and Royal Intelligence Officer, to discover who assassinated their fathers, brothers, and husbands.

One ruler’s accidental death is a tragedy. Three accidents are a plot.

Editor’s Note: While there are some minor queer characters, all the major characters are apparently cis and straight.

The Review

When Rosalind, the alchemist queen of the small but prosperous nation of Kenor, is interrupted by her paramour, Earl Owen Malcelm, she is perturbed. Until she learns that the queen of a neighboring nation, Maryam the Radiance of Alsmeria, has come to visit her.

A danger to queen Maryam’s family has brought her to Kenor, on a mission of utmost urgency, as she finds her husband and children in grave danger. A shocking attack on one of the city of Scio’s airfields brings home the fact that the once-distant war that has engulfed most of the continent has now come to Kenor.

Rosalind raises the Keep’s supernatural defenders – the Idis – to protect her, Maryam and their friends and families. But will the Idis ask for something in return?

The secret arrival of yet another queen, Empress Sofija of Dalmatia, brings an unlikely trio of powerful women together to fight for their nations.

This alternate world tale borrows from epic fantasy and steampunk in equal measure. The setting is semi modern, with motorcars and airships, alchemy and magic. It’s a fascinating, well constructed world, with a plot steeped in politics and rival factions.

As an aside, this book was written by a dear friend of mine, Jaimi, Lee Moyer. I formatted the book for her, and she was very excited to see it released into the world – she believed it was one of her best works. She had had a rough life the last few years, and had recently relocated from Texas to Michigan and a much better living situation. Last month, Jamie passed away unexpectedly, just days before her new book’s release date. It was quite a shock. Seeking some way to honor her, I picked up a copy of A Parliament of Queens to read, her final work. And I’m so glad I did.

Despite some typos – mostly near the end of the book – this is a beautifully rendered epic fantasy story. There is a secondary love story arc between Owen and Rosalind which balances on the fact that Owen promised Rosalyn’s father to take care of her. He feels like he is unworthy of marrying her, and will only bring her heartache and shame.

The story is mostly female led, although Owen plays a big part. It’s refreshing to see these three strong women come together to fight for their countries as a “parliament of queens.” And many of the secondary characters – warriors, magic users, etc – are also women.

I highly recommend this book – it’s a great epic fantasy, with a fascinating mixture of science and magic. Both are needed to bring peace to the world, although getting there will be a bloody path for all concerned. This is a fitting legacy for Jaime’s skill as author, and I am honored that I had the chance to read it. I just wish she’d stayed around to write more stories in this wonderful world. There are so many that could still be told.

Having enjoyed it immensely, it’s strange not to be able to have the chance to discuss it with her. But I’m sure, somewhere, she knows how much I enjoyed it. I hope you do, too.

The Reviewer

Scott is the founder of Queer Sci Fi, and a fantasy and sci fi writer in his own right, with more than 30 published short stories, novellas and novels to his credit, including two trilogies.

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