Queen of the Unwanted (The Women’s War, #2) by Jenna Glass – Review

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About Queen of the Unwanted by Jenna Glass

Alys may be the acknowledged queen of Women’s Well—the fledgling colony where women hold equal status with men—but she cares little for politics in the wake of an appalling personal tragedy. It is grief that rules her now. But the world continues to turn.

In a distant realm unused to female rulers, Ellin struggles to maintain control. Meanwhile, the king of the island nation of Khalpar recruits an abbess whom he thinks holds the key to reversing the spell that Alys’s mother gave her life to create. And back in Women’s Well, Alys’s own half-brother is determined to bring her to heel. Unless these women can all come together and embrace the true nature of female power, everything they have struggled to achieve may be at risk.

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Review of Queen of the Unwanted

After reading The Women’s War, I wasn’t keen on continuing the series.  The cliffhanger ending was brutal and left me emotionally exhausted and angry.  But like giving birth, the memories of the pain faded and I decided to try again.

Queen of the Unwanted is an adequate follow-up to The Women’s War.  There is a lot of development of the political climate of the world of the Seven Wells. I can only assume this is meant to set you up for the next book in the series.  I kept waiting for the women (Alys and Ellin) to prosper in this area, but it did not happen.

Alys and Ellin are still the main protagonists, but there was not a lot of growth of their characters.  I was disappointed they did not play a larger role in this book.

The two characters that seemed to have the biggest roles and, indeed, ended up in the climactic scene that was very near the end, were the characters with the least amount of brains.  Selfish, self-destructive and totally not worth caring about.

And that was the biggest problem for me with this book.  Because Alys and Ellin appeared on too few pages, I did not have a character that I wanted to sympathize with. That, for me, is very important.

Here’s the thing.  It is still a pretty good story and many that loved The Women’s War will like this one too.  So, don’t let my negative comments affect you if you are one of those readers.

Do read The Women’s War before you read Queen of the Unwanted.

Through Netgalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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The Demon’s Possession (Shadow Quest, #1) by Kiersten Fay – Review

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About The Demon’s Possession by Kiersten Fay

As captain of the merchant ship Marada, Sebastian has only one goal: keep his family and his crew safe while they deliver a curious parcel to a ruthless pirate. But when a bewitching young woman mysteriously appears on his ship, he finds it impossible to focus on the job…and to keep his hands off her.

Analia has known only one life: enslavement. In a bid for freedom, she escapes onto a craft led by a fearsome demon captain. If she is to maintain her freedom, she must gain Sebastian’s trust while concealing her true nature.

Together they contend with the hazards of open space, but what no one knows is her secrets are more dangerous than anything they have encountered before.

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Review of The Demon’s Possession

I’m calling The Demon’s Possession Scifi Romance.  You can call it paranormal romance too, but it reads more like space opera featuring characters of extraordinary abilities.

Analia, the heroine, has unique abilities and because of those talents, has been a slave for most of her life. She knows nothing of life beyond the abusive conditions she lived in for what seemed like two hundred years. Somehow, she finds the courage to escape and stow away on the merchant ship Marada.

The Marada belongs to the demon Sebastian, his brother Calic and sister Sonya. Since the word demon has always had such negative connotations, I will point out right now that these are the good guys in this story. When Analia is discovered on the ship by Sebastian, the demon family, along with their demon friend Marik, introduce Analia to the life of freedom she had only dreamed of. This includes learning about attraction and romance with Sebastian. Analia’s naiveté about everything, including men, a result of her life-long imprisonment, conflicts with Sebastian’s worldly experience which is influenced by an act of betrayal by the women in his life when his home world was invaded centuries ago.

Analia is a woman that is over 200 years old.  Due to her nearly lifelong enslavement, I can understand her naiveté about ‘normal’ life.  However, she is emotionally very young and trusts too easily for someone with her age and background.  I would like to have seen a lot more suspicion and wariness in Analia.  Likewise, I was not convinced the demons were also centuries old.  I think the need for these characters to be hundreds of years old old had more to do with the background events leading up to the story than needing experienced, old and wise characters.  In reading the book, I eventually ignored the age thing, because I was enjoying the overall story so much.

A strange commission for the merchant ship, enemies chasing Analia, danger onboard the Marada, as well as the growing romance between Analia and Sebastian keep the story strong and the pages turning. Eventually, events impel Analia and Sebatian toward a new purpose.  Which will, of course lead to a new adventure in the series.

This is the second time I have read this book. The first time, was back in 2013.  This time, I read a newly released version, which I enjoyed very much.  I felt ending was stronger and left me feeling satisfied with how events were wrapped up.  This could be me with foggy memories of the original version, but regardless, I truly enjoyed this book.  The Demon’s Possession has a lovely romance, plenty of action and lots of really great characters that set you up for the next installment.  I am ready to re-read the series, hopefully soon!

Through NetGalley, the author provide a copy of her book in exchange for my honest review.

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The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut, #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal – Review

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About The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.

Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too.

Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.

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Review of The Calculating Stars

The Calculating Stars is Scifi that takes place in 1950’s America. A giant meteorite hitting the eastern coast of the United States is soon determine to be the precursor to extinction. In response, the United States, and eventually the world, ramp up the space program in order to find a place for humans on some other world.

Wow! Such a great story! A lot of research was done to make the story of an early aggressive space program seem real and vital. Told from the POV of the woman destined to be the first Lady Astronaut, the story reflects attitudes toward women and minorities in the 50s. So, our heroine and her friends have a lot to overcome.

Elma York’s background as a WASP and as a mathematician becomes critical to the space program and to getting women into the astronaut training. Luckily, she has a very supportive husband (chief International Aerospace Coalition engineer), since pretty much all of the other men are not at all understanding of Elma’s drive to go to space.

If you enjoyed Hidden Figures (book or movie), you will appreciate the how the author set up the space program, both the organizational standpoint and the sociological setting.

I wish I had read this book two years ago when it first came out. The story is beautifully told, illustrating Elma’s successes and failures along with the story of the space program and its development. I read this book and plan to read The Fated Sky (book 2) in anticipation of the upcoming 3rd book in the series. Read this book if you enjoy earth-based Scifi. Read it for the feminist insights. Read it if you like your Scifi to embrace hope. Read The Calculating Stars just want to enjoy a great story!

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