Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart
From Goodreads: Banished by Asa at the end of Grace and Fury, Nomi and Malachi find themselves powerless and headed towards their all-but-certain deaths. Now that Asa sits on the throne, he will stop at nothing to make sure Malachi never sets foot in the palace again. Their only hope is to find Nomi’s sister, Serina, on the prison island of Mount Ruin. But when Nomi and Malachi arrive, it is not the island of conquered, broken women that they expected. It is an island in the grip of revolution, and Serina–polite, submissive Serina–is its leader.
Betrayal, grief, and violence have changed both sisters, and the women of Mount Ruin have their sights set on revenge beyond the confines of their island prison. They plan to sweep across the entire kingdom, issuing in a new age of freedom for all. But first they’ll have to get rid of Asa, and only Nomi knows how.
Separated once again, this time by choice, Nomi and Serina must forge their own paths as they aim to tear down the world they know, and build something better in its place.
The stakes are higher and the battles bolder in Tracy Banghart’s unputdownable sequel to Grace and Fury.
First up, thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This one is going to be a little bit short, simply because I actually read this over a week ago and have only just gotten around to posting now, so my memory of it isn’t particularly fresh. Huge apologies for this though. I promise I am now officially back from my mini hiatus, which means regular posts again, yay.
Admittedly, I wasn’t a giant fan of Grace and Fury. I thought the book was decent enough, though there were some interesting concepts, but for the most part the characters just didn’t feel all there to me. I did give it 7 stars, because it was very readable, but it wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read. So I’m not entirely sure what made me apply for an e-arc of Queen of Ruin, except maybe my innate desire to finish things that I’ve started.
Anyhow, I’m glad that I did. There wasn’t a significant amount of character development really, definitely not as much as I was hoping, and yet there was a strong sense of character arc and growth, if that makes sense? While Serina and Nomi are still kind of vague in my head, I did have a great time seeing how the characters changed from book one to book two, and became awesome feminist heroines in their own ways.
Serina’s boyfriend is kind of cool, I guess, although tbf I can’t for the life of me remember his name, which doesn’t bode well for how interesting a character he was. He did come across as pretty bland, and although we got some backstory, it didn’t seem like he had much agency or desire of his own. He always just went along with stuff, which made him a bit boring. I did appreciate that there was a male character in the book who could be considered a feminist though. Considering the strong themes of this series, I think it’s a really amazing message to have in the book. After all, I think we as a society often forget that men can be feminists and play a part, too.
I’m normally not one for alternating POV books, so this was a little hard for me. It did quicken the pace of the book overall, I think, but at the same time there was definitely usually more going on with one character than with another, meaning I felt a bit meh about reading through one character’s chapter because I was keen to get back to the more interesting narrative. In terms of which one I preferred, I will say that the good thing about the alternating chapters was that I didn’t really have a favourite. Just that there were moments when one left off on a cliffhanger and the other was just about a character moving along a road or plotting something or whatever. But yeah, I guess the upshot of this is that there was always something happening. Perhaps if there were less switches between POV it might have been a much slower read because it would have seemed longer between beats.
I did really love the theme of women bonding together and fighting for their rights, despite conflicting personalities and ideas and things. It seemed like a very relevant message to send out, especially considering today’s social climate and the frequent news stories about sexism, misogyny and other utter B.S. I liked that Queen of Ruin, as the title probably suggests, also didn’t pull any punches. It didn’t hold back in delivering that message, and depicting the rage and fury of the oppressed women in Banghart’s novel. I admire it a lot for that alone.
If there are any downsides, I will say that, although I enjoyed much of it, there were moments that were just too unrealistic. I get that it’s a fantasy novel, and that should be taken into consideration, but there were plots and outcomes and things that just aren’t possible or probable. The ending especially was a little bittersweet because of this. Although my heart says I should enjoy the ending of the book for what it is, there’s another more rational part of me that is still shaking its head in disbelief.
Overall, I’m going to give Queen of Ruin an 8/10 stars. I adored the strong feminist tones and themes throughout the book, and I think there were some incredibly important and relevant messages in there. And I appreciated that there were male feminists too. However, I did still feel like the characters weren’t wholly fleshed out, even though I could see the arc for them becoming totally amazing, and I didn’t enjoy some of the less realistic moments.
Has anyone else read this book already or plans to? What do you all think of it? Let me know in the comment section down below ❤