The Queens of Innis Lear

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton (2018)
-eARC Review-

the queens of innis lear

Fiction | Fantasy | Shakespeare Retelling
3 Stars

A kingdom at risk, a crown divided, a family drenched in blood.

The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes. 

The king’s three daughters—battle-hungry Gaela, master manipulator Reagan, and restrained, starblessed Elia—know the realm’s only chance of resurrection is to crown a new sovereign, proving a strong hand can resurrect magic and defend itself. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align and a poison ritual can be enacted.

Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war—but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided.”

Expected Publication Date: March 27, 2018 

pooled ink Review:

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy to review!

This was one of the books on my list for anticipated reads of 2018 so I was thrilled to receive an advanced copy to read and review. While the book was certainly impressive it unfortunately failed to seize me as I had genuinely hoped. Just reading the book’s blurb I was blown away and bouncing on my heels for a chance to read it, and the cover is stunning. But while there is strong support for this novel I can’t seem to muster much enthusiasm myself after having struggled through it.

While the world-building is intriguing and craftily expounds upon the enchanted island described in Shakespeare’s play, King Lear, I admit it was sometimes a bit…cumbersome? Furthermore this incredibly lengthy book had a plot that was undoubtedly slow. As excited as I was to dive into this story I nearly fell asleep within the first few pages. There were fierce moments, soft moments, and moments I honestly can’t remember, but despite its highs and lows I just couldn’t seem to feel engaged with the story.

It’s strange to describe because it was certainly filled with action, strong characters, political plots, dark twists, and an ancient magic thrumming through it all, but despite all of this the book still felt disappointingly slow. Perhaps it was simply the writing style that made it feel this way and what didn’t click for me. I hope if you choose to read this intriguing story that you will disregard my opinion and find the story utterly satisfactory. As for me, I am glad I read it and I do believe it has several strong qualities, but overall it didn’t spark anything in me.

If you are a fan of fantasy, fiction, historical settings with threads of magic, or even Shakespearean drama, then I honestly suggest you look into this book for yourself. This is precisely the type of book which will either leave you with a shrug and a small yawn or will cast a spell and stick with you for a long time to come. Despite my disappointment I can tell that it has all the fantastic qualities to be a bestseller, I only wish it had managed to strike that spark with me as well.

The Queens of Innis Lear is an intricate fantasy that takes the Shakespearean play, King Lear, and expands upon it crafting together an intense tale of magic, power, and those willing to shed blood and bonds for a crown that could control everything. Recommended for those who love fantasy, history, politics, and a striking defiance that is indomitable.


amazon icon_tiny Purchase here: The Queens of Innis Lear

Meet Tessa Gratton!

tessa gratton.jpg

Tessa Gratton has wanted to be a paleontologist or a wizard since she was seven. Alas, she turned out too impatient to hunt dinosaurs, but is still searching for a someone to teach her magic. After traveling the world with her military family, she acquired a BA (and the important parts of an MA) in Gender Studies, then settled down in Kansas with her partner, her cats, and her mutant dog. She now spends her days staring at the sky and telling lots of stories about magic. Monthly free short stories with Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff at The Merry Sisters of Fate:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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2 thoughts on “The Queens of Innis Lear

  1. What a conundrum, parts of your review make this book sound like something that I would love and yet it ultimately didn’t wow you. I did see this one on NG but decided not to request it as I’m trying to cut down my review requests. I thought I’d wait to see what the reception was like and maybe add it to my wishlist but I’m not really sure I want to at this point. The jury is out.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it didn’t wow me like I’d hoped it would but the concept is definitely there. And I’ve seen some people loving it…then again the early reviews for this book seem to be a bit all over the place but maybe once it’s been out for a little while you’ll get a better more cohesive feel for this book.


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