Title: The True Queen (Sorcerer Royal #2)
Author: Zen Cho
Publisher: Ace Books
Availability: Available now
Summary: When sisters Muna and Sakti wake up on the peaceful beach of the island of Janda Baik, they can’t remember anything, except that they are bound as only sisters can be. They have been cursed by an unknown enchanter, and slowly Sakti starts to fade away. The only hope of saving her is to go to distant Britain, where the Sorceress Royal has established an academy to train women in magic.
If Muna is to save her sister, she must learn to navigate high society, and trick the English magicians into believing she is a magical prodigy. As she’s drawn into their intrigues, she must uncover the secrets of her past, and journey into a world with more magic than she had ever dreamed. [Image and summary via Goodreads]
Review: The True Queen has been on the top of my to-read list for quite a while now. I absolutely loved the first book in the series, Sorcerer to the Crown (review here), a delightful regency fantasy that you should really, really read. The True Queen can be read as a standalone book, but why would you ever deprive yourself of the chance to read more of this series? Ridiculous.
The True Queen starts out on the island of Janda Baik, and follows sisters Muna and Sakti, who have washed up on the shore of the island with no memory of who they are or where they come from. They’re taken under the wing of the most powerful witch in the region: the grey-haired, no-nonsense Mak Genggang. When the two sisters discover they’ve been cursed, Muna realizes she must travel to England to seek help from the Sorceress Royal.
As all good sequels do, this one expands on the setting and scope of its predecessor. The book takes you from Janda Baik, through fairyland, to England. What I loved about Sorcerer to the Crown was that, on top of just being a super fun read, it gently upturned common assumptions about the regency setting with a post-colonial lens. The True Queen does something similar, but in a totally different way by casting England in a different light thanks to Muna’s narration.
I really enjoyed reading The True Queen over the span of several days, parcelling out pages to myself as a reward at the end of the day. I could go on and on about what I loved, but I’ll keep this quick. Here’s a list of just a few things I loved about The True Queen:
- Queer protagonist, queer side characters. All the good stuff.
- Dragons! There are dragons. Who doesn’t love dragons?
- Mak Genggang. I love old, tough witches who know what’s up.
- Sisterhood!! *clutches heart*
Hopefully, that list has convinced you to read The True Queen. It’s truly excellent, just like its prequel, Sorcerer to the Crown. I’m looking forward to the final book in this series! Also, while we’re here, definitely check out Zen Cho’s short story anthology Spirits Abroad.
Recommendation: Buy it now! Do yourself a favor. Particularly if you love regency settings and/or fantasy.