The Queen of All that Dies (The Fallen World #1) by Laura Thalassa (2015)
NA Fiction | Romance | Dystopia | (TV-MA)
“In the future, the world is at war.
For the last decade, King Lazuli of the Eastern Empire has systematically taken over the world. No one knows much about him other than a series of impossible facts: he cannot die, he has not aged since the conflict began, and he wants to rule the world.
All Serenity Freeman has known is bloodshed. War has taken away her mother, her home, her safety. As the future emissary of the Western United Nations, the last autonomous region of the globe, she is responsible for forging alliances where she can.
Surrender is on the horizon. The king can taste it; Serenity feels it deep within her bones. There is no other option. Now the two must come face to face. For Serenity, that means confronting the man who’s taken everything from her. For the king, it means meeting the one woman he can’t conquer. But when they meet, something happens. Cruelty finds redemption.
Only in war, everything comes with a price. Especially love.”
pooled ink Review:
DUDE. YES. I AM OFFICIALLY INVESTED.
My head is spinning in the aftermath of this intense series opener. Only the first book and I’m already going a bit crazy. This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It’s action-packed and led by a moral compass set spinning like a wild top, and it leaves me feeling so many conflicted emotions about characters, events, choices, etc.
Does this book contain some controversial elements and characters? Yes it most certainly does (i.e. a rather twisted relationship). But weirdly enough it’s those uneasy knots in morality that elevate this book above its peers. First and foremost this is a book about war and war is a realm where right is wrong and wrong is right and love is hate and hate is love and everything spins and twists and gets tangled and muddied until you’re not sure which way is up only that you know you don’t want to drown.
This book, nay this series is likely the type of series that you’ll either be sucked right into or you’ll barely get five chapters in before tossing it aside with a resounding No Thanks.
And I’m obviously the former.
Before this book I’d only read Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa (although by the time I post this review I’ll have read Pestilence as well) but it had me intrigued to peruse some of her other works. Well this book is officially my fave of hers and it’s edging its way towards the top of my dystopian fiction list.
Set in a world where a king who appears immortal is swiftly conquering the world, Serenity is a soldier fighting for the dwindling freedom of the Western hemisphere. Her life is bloody but simple. She knows who she is and she knows who her enemy is. That is, until she meets him. As the daughter of the W.U.N.’s emissary as well as his apprentice, Serenity travels with her father to Geneva to negotiate their surrender. She knew her life was changing but she could never have guessed just how pivotal her attendance would prove.
Honestly Serenity was a tough, hard-edged, fiery protagonist who put up with no one’s demands and as a trained soldier she could more than hold her own, and she was awesome. Faced against the man who waged war on her home and killed her mother by consequence Serenity is more than a match for King Montes Lazuli. The King, however, proves to be an unexpected opponent because although hatred fills Serenity’s veins, the King doesn’t quite seem to mind.
Something that really worked for the slow burn relationship between Serenity and Montes is that they’re honest with each other. Although at first each has their role to play candor quickly usurps any games they thought to play. Serenity hates Montes for all he has done to her home and her family and she lets him know. Even when he begins to impossibly show affection for her she refuses to forget or be cowed. Montes is as ruthless as a world ruler must be and he doesn’t deny the truths of his actions to her. They are honest with one another and ironically it is this heated honesty that pulls them into unexpected allies. Is their relationship complicated and morally questionable? Completely, but that’s what makes it interesting, because love is a battlefield and they’re playing on a global scale.
Beyond the negotiations between a global kingdom and a surrendering nation the book explores the morality of resistance fighters. War makes monsters of men, even those fighting for what they believe is right. While Serenity once stood on clear ground beside the W.U.N. and the Resistance with the King far on the other side, she slowly finds herself straddling the line and confused as to how she got there.
There is no instalove in this book AT ALL. When I say Serenity hates Montes, I’m being completely serious. And although their relationship constantly evolves throughout the novel, it is watching this process that proves fascinating. It’s just so complicated and it makes absolutely no sense and yet at the same time it makes complete sense. It’s definitely a relationship that you’ll either love or hate. But despite how impossible it sounds, they’re honestly perfect for each other. Serenity is a soldier with the drive to change the world, Montes is a king with the power to make her vision a reality. They’re perfect allies so long as Serenity doesn’t shoot him first.
And although the King is constantly trying to win Serenity to his side, neither forgets their place in the world nor their history or purpose. Serenity wants peace but she wants more than that, she wants healing and hope for her people no matter what she must do to get her agenda pushed into action. Montes has a world to rule and will maintain his grip on power despite the distraction and demands Serenity pushes forth.
The world-building of this book is fantastic and although I honestly struggle to believe in a global empire ever being possible I couldn’t really care less because this book is too intense to let that detail bother me. The characters are complex and will have your brow furrowed as you constantly try to sort truth from ploy. And people die in this book. Get attached to no one. Because as I said at the beginning of this review, above all else this is a book about war.
Ugh I can’t say too much without ruining the complex plot of this book! All I know for sure is that I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book and I am certain my head won’t stop spinning until I can read what happens next.
Unrepentant bloodshed, sacrificial freedom, and love between monsters born of war, this is but the beginnings of the dark tale of The Queen of All that Dies. A dystopian story that will have your adrenaline pounding in your veins, your mind spinning between rights and wrongs, and your feet on constantly shifting ground, this book is the first in a trilogy that is sure to take your breath away with its intensity and daring.
Purchase here: The Queen of All that Dies
Meet Laura Thalassa!
Found in the forest when she was young, Laura Thalassa was raised by fairies, kidnapped by werewolves, and given over to vampires as repayment for a hundred year debt. She’s been brought back to life twice, and, with a single kiss, she woke her true love from eternal sleep. She now lives happily ever after with her undead prince in a castle in the woods.
… or something like that anyway.
When not writing, Laura can be found scarfing down guacamole, hoarding chocolate for the apocalypse, or curled up on the couch with a good book.