The True Queen (Sorcerer Royal, #2)
In the follow-up to the "delightful" Regency fantasy novel (NPR.org) Sorcerer to the Crown, a young woman with no memories of her past finds herself embroiled in dangerous politics in England and the land of the fae. 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.

The True Queen (Sorcerer Royal, #2) Details

TitleThe True Queen (Sorcerer Royal, #2)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 12th, 2019
Rating
GenreFantasy, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Science Fiction Fantasy, Magic

The True Queen (Sorcerer Royal, #2) Review

  • Gary
    January 1, 1970
    When an author is building a sequel, the path of least resistance is to figure out what the reader wants (or thinks they want) and give it to them. The better option, though, is to write the book readers didn’t know they wanted. That’s what Zen Cho delivers in The True Queen, the standalone sequel to her popular and acclaimed Regency-era fantasy novel Sorcerer to the Crown. Rather than pick up with the further adventures of Prunella and Zacharias Whyte, The True Queen tells the story of two sist When an author is building a sequel, the path of least resistance is to figure out what the reader wants (or thinks they want) and give it to them. The better option, though, is to write the book readers didn’t know they wanted. That’s what Zen Cho delivers in The True Queen, the standalone sequel to her popular and acclaimed Regency-era fantasy novel Sorcerer to the Crown. Rather than pick up with the further adventures of Prunella and Zacharias Whyte, The True Queen tells the story of two sisters, Muna and Sakti, who are found by the powerful Malay sorceress Mak Genggang on her home island of Janda Baik. Muna has no magical ability at all while Sakti has an abundance. Both appear to have been cursed, and the suspected culprit carries a surname that readers of Sorcerer to the Crown will be familiar with: Midsomer. Mak Genggang ships the sisters off to England, for Sakti to apprentice under the Sorceress Royal Prunella Whyte, and Muna to keep her sister company. While taking a shortcut through Fairy to their destination, Sakti disappears, leaving Muna to fend for herself when she reaches England. Pretending at having magic while scheming to find a way back into Fairy, Muna befriends Prunella’s schoolmate Henrietta Stapleton, who has trials of her own to face.The plotting in The True Queen finds the author weaving together several different threads, including a few left dangling at the end of its predecessor. I am impressed by the author’s ability to fashion a satisfying sequel to Sorcerer to the Crown while relegating that novel’s major players to minor rolls. I also found the structure of the novel strikingly democratic, shuffling through a multitude of perspectives from chapter to chapter while still keeping its focus on Muna and her hero’s journey. The True Queen is just as enchanting as Sorcerer to the Crown and provides ample evidence that this wonderful setting has many novels worth of material for the author to mine from.Many thanks to Netgalley and Ace Books for the opportunity to read this ARC.
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  • S.A. Chakraborty
    January 1, 1970
    I was fortunate to get an early copy of this book and tore through it this week. What a delightful, fun fantasy about sisterhood! Thoroughly recommended; I loved getting to return to the this world.
  • Sherwood Smith
    January 1, 1970
    The short version is, if you enjoyed the first book in this series, there is every reason to expect that you will love this one equally.We open with Muna and her sister Sakti waking bewildered on a beach in Janda Bail. Mal Genggang takes them in, training Sakti while Muna helps in the kitchen. Unfortunately both of them are cursed, and end up having to travel to England, via the Unseen Realm, to get help.Only Sakti disappears, leaving Muna to cope with England's new Sorceress Royal, as well as f The short version is, if you enjoyed the first book in this series, there is every reason to expect that you will love this one equally.We open with Muna and her sister Sakti waking bewildered on a beach in Janda Bail. Mal Genggang takes them in, training Sakti while Muna helps in the kitchen. Unfortunately both of them are cursed, and end up having to travel to England, via the Unseen Realm, to get help.Only Sakti disappears, leaving Muna to cope with England's new Sorceress Royal, as well as finding her sister, on her own.Prunella is back (with glimpses of Zacharias), and just as much fun as she was in the first book. Henrietta is wonderful, and watching her relationship with Muna was such a joy--that was the strength of an otherwise fairly predictable plot. Not that predictable is a bad thing. Sometimes it's fun to watch everything unfold as expected, especially if you enjoy the relationships building along the way, as here.In short, a light-hearted, fun and diverse, gay-friendly Regency fantasy romance.Copy provided by NetGalley
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  • Elevetha
    January 1, 1970
  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/04/09/...It has been three and a half years since I read Sorcerer to the Crown and I was initially a bit worried about how much I remembered of the story and whether it would impact my experience with this sequel. Happily, when the blurb to The True Queen became available, it appeared that the focus would be on a new set of characters.Indeed, while a few familiar names from the first book will crop up every now and again, indubit 3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/04/09/...It has been three and a half years since I read Sorcerer to the Crown and I was initially a bit worried about how much I remembered of the story and whether it would impact my experience with this sequel. Happily, when the blurb to The True Queen became available, it appeared that the focus would be on a new set of characters.Indeed, while a few familiar names from the first book will crop up every now and again, indubitably the stars of the show here are a pair of sisters named Muna and Sakti. The girls’ journey together first began off the coast of the island of Janda Baik, after a storm washed the two of them ashore with no memory of who they were. The powerful witch and protector of the island, Mak Genggang, found them and took them in. Sakti, endowed with magic, immediately came under the witch’s tutelage, although that relationship remained strained. Muna, meanwhile, is magic-less, but has a much more favorable opinion of Mak Genggang.However, one day Sakti approaches Muna with irrefutable evidence that they have been cursed—in the middle of the former girl’s torso is a void that will keep spreading as she fades away. Desperate, the sisters take it upon themselves to identify who cast the curse, but instead they wind up nearly causing a diplomatic crisis. To smooth things over, Mak Genggang decides to send Sakti and Muna abroad to meet with Prunella Wythe, Britain’s new Sorcerer Royal, who has also opened a magical school for girls. There, they will present themselves as a pair of international students, but also search for more clues as to who cursed them. But unfortunately, the quickest way to their destination is through the dangerous realm of faerie, and while two girls departed Janda Baik, only Muna emerges safely on the other side in London and Sakti is feared lost forever.Similar to the first book, The True Queen explores the themes of racism and oppression. Apparently, despite the fact it is a woman who currently holds the prestigious office of Sorcerer Royal, attitudes towards women wielding magic have not changed that much since we last visited this world in Sorcerer to the Crown. “Proper ladies” simply did not involve themselves with the thaumaturgical arts, and thus even Prunella, who has come so far since the previous novel with her newfound wealth and status, still has to fight hard to be heard. And of course, this time we also have the perspective of a foreigner newly arrived in Regency-era Britain. Overwhelmed by the strange rigid rules of this hierarchical society, Muna finds herself simultaneously vaunted and condescended to by the upper class, and even those with the best intentions are sometimes guilty of prejudgment or lack of sensitivity.But in many ways, The True Queen is also a very different book than its predecessor. When it comes to the plot, I don’t know that it captured my attention with the same combination of unique aspects and magical allure as the first book did. Yes, the beginning sections intrigued me with the introduction of the vivid characters of Muna and Sakti and the fascinating story of how they ended up with Mak Genggang, followed by the kerfuffle in the faerie realm which resulted in Muna alone in England meeting with Prunella and the women of the magical school by herself. Likewise, the final chapters were hard to put down because of the drama and suspense surrounding the conclusion. Where I felt the story faltered, however, was everything in between. Pacing was part of the problem, which slowed as we switched tack from worrying about Sakti to focusing on the “fantasy of manners” elements of the world. In fact, one thing that really turned me off was the general lackadaisical attitude towards Sakti’s plight, and I was especially disappointed in Prunella and Henrietta’s dismissiveness and horrible bedside manner in response to Muna’s concerns. It’s also hard not to feel that Muna was the less interesting sister. From the start, it was clear Sakti was the more forceful personality, being more strong-willed and impulsive than her meeker and more pensive sibling. Even though Muna is the at the center of this story, she had a way of being overshadowed by the supporting characters.Overall, The True Queen was a solid read, even if it didn’t quite reach the heights of Sorcerer to the Crown. Simply put, there were no surprises this time around in that I found many elements of the plot predictable and the central character was probably the least interesting to me. That said, I had a good time catching up with some of the wonderful people I met in the first book and it was a delight to be back in this world.
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    First of all, on the one hand this was a good follow up to Sorcerer to the Crown, which took pretty much everyone by surprise several years ago. It was like a little breath of fresh air, a light fantasy full of people of color in a setting people of color don't normally inhabit in fiction (Regency England), taking on existing power structures and being all clever and wonderful. This book continues that tradition (this time with an emphasis on kindness, identity, and power structures).At the same First of all, on the one hand this was a good follow up to Sorcerer to the Crown, which took pretty much everyone by surprise several years ago. It was like a little breath of fresh air, a light fantasy full of people of color in a setting people of color don't normally inhabit in fiction (Regency England), taking on existing power structures and being all clever and wonderful. This book continues that tradition (this time with an emphasis on kindness, identity, and power structures).At the same time, one of the things I liked most about the first book is that I couldn't predict where it was going, its specific twists and turns. In fact, I am largely terrible at predicting reveals, and I prefer it that way. I am most author's preferred reader, sitting back semi-passively waiting for the book to have its way with me (unless something gross or wrong or poorly written pulls me out of that, and then I am of course capable of critical thought). I *love* when books happen to me. It's my favorite. And this book did not really do that, for all that it was a good time and I grew to like the characters quite a bit (and enjoyed revisiting my favorites from the last book: Prunella, Rollo, Damerell, Mak Genganng, though there was a weird lack of Zacharias).(FYI I will not be talking about the plot at all except in spoiler tags because maybe when you read this you will not be able to guess what's coming like I did and I would like that for you.)So on the one hand, I literally predicted almost all of the reveals, including the big one right from the first page. But on the other, I liked the characters, the setting, the dialogue, the romance subplot (f/f), and I thought the climax was actually very satisfying, even though it didn't really hold any surprises for me.Let's talk about all the reveals I predicted:(view spoiler)[1. On page one we open with a storm and a lightning strike and some purposely vague imagery that in hindsight is obvious, and then we are introduced to two sisters. Immediately, I was like, oh is this an Anansi Boys situation where they are not actually sisters but two people split into various parts. This is not confirmed for a couple hundred pages, and it takes longer for the main character, Muna, to accept it, which was a bit frustrating because it's never really explained why she's being so obtuse about things that are *obvious*.2. The queen's missing Virtu (good pun btw). It is immediately apparent that it is hanging around Clarissa Midsomer's neck, even before we know the Virtu is missing, because the text and Muna pay such attention to it.3. I was immediately able to predict that Henrietta and Muna would end up together from their first meeting, for no discernable reason in the text. 4. Once I figured out that Sakti and Muna were one being split in two, it wasn't a big leap to then assume they were also the titular True Queen. It's the title of the book, who else could it be?5. And once you have all those pieces, it's not hard to then figure out that all of it will end with Saktimuna reuniting and defeating the evil fairy queen, her sister, though I was pleasantly surprised by how that actually went down. All that said, though, I feel like the other reason I was able to like the book despite knowing almost exactly where it was going, was that Cho still manages little surprises every now and again, that come from the characters themselves. I knew the broad strokes, but not the details. (hide spoiler)]And, I mean, part of my discomfort with this is that I'm not 100% sure that I wasn't *meant* to predict some of them? So I can't entirely condemn the book for that without knowing for sure.Anyway, I still think this book is worth reading, especially if you liked the first book, though this could theoretically stand on its own as well since it has a different set of main characters.[3.5 stars, rounded up because I can]
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  • Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
    January 1, 1970
    Do you want a delightful and charming Regency-era fantasy novel with a diverse cast and a f/f romance subplot? A story focused on sisterhood? Dragons with manners? Then you need to read The True Queen, a loose follow-up to Zen Cho’s previous novel, Socerer to the Crown!Muna and Sakti wake up on the beach of Janda Baik, knowing only their names and that they’re sisters. They quickly learn that they’ve been cursed by an unknown sorcerer — Muna’s lost her magic, and Sakti has started to fade away. Do you want a delightful and charming Regency-era fantasy novel with a diverse cast and a f/f romance subplot? A story focused on sisterhood? Dragons with manners? Then you need to read The True Queen, a loose follow-up to Zen Cho’s previous novel, Socerer to the Crown!Muna and Sakti wake up on the beach of Janda Baik, knowing only their names and that they’re sisters. They quickly learn that they’ve been cursed by an unknown sorcerer — Muna’s lost her magic, and Sakti has started to fade away. Clues lead them to believe that the answers lie in England, so Muna and Sakti head to visit Sorceress Royal’s academy for female mages. But along the way, they run into trouble, and it’s now up to Muna to save her sister.Just like it’s predecessor, The True Queen is a gem of a novel, sparkling with humor and brimming with heart. Multiple sections made me laugh out loud, and I kept reading bits and pieces out to anyone around me. I’m so glad this book exists. If you haven’t read Socerer to the Crown, I think you could read The True Queen without it (although the first book is wonderful too). The protagonists of the first book only appear in supporting roles here, and the plot of The True Queen stands on its own.Of course, the events in The True Queen are influenced by what came before. As Muna’s staying at the school for female mages (and desperately pretending to have magic herself), you see the struggle of getting English society to adapt to magical women. One of the other major characters, Henrietta, is a teacher at the school and lying to her family about it, trying to avoid their disapproval.I guessed some of the book’s plot twists but it still had plenty of surprises in store for me. Besides, the pleasure was in the journey more than the destination. I love Cho’s writing and the world she presents, a Regency England infused with magic and where multiculturalism is actually recognized. And have I mentioned the dragons? I love dragons, and this book has QUEER DRAGONS. It doesn’t get any better than that.When I first read The True Queen, I immediately popped onto Twitter to scream about how I’d just read the sequel to Sorcerer to the Crown and how it was amazing and had queer Malaysian witches. This book made me so happy, and I’m glad it’s releasing soon so everyone else can read it too!I received an ARC in exchange for a free and honest review.Review from The Illustrated Page.
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  • TheBookSmugglers
    January 1, 1970
    as posted on The Book Smugglers :I can’t believe it’s been four whole years since the delightful Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho knocked my socks off and charmed my cold, cold heart. Never mind, we have now been blessed with The True Queen, a companion novel set in the same world but featuring different protagonists which can be read as a stand-alone . BUT should it be read as a stand-alone, inquiring minds want to know? Of course not, why on earth would you do this to yourself?BUT I DIGRESS.It as posted on The Book Smugglers :I can’t believe it’s been four whole years since the delightful Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho knocked my socks off and charmed my cold, cold heart. Never mind, we have now been blessed with The True Queen, a companion novel set in the same world but featuring different protagonists which can be read as a stand-alone . BUT should it be read as a stand-alone, inquiring minds want to know? Of course not, why on earth would you do this to yourself?BUT I DIGRESS.It opens not in England but on the island of Janda Baik, in Malaysia, where sisters Muna and Sakti wake up one day memoryless on a beach, having been cursed by an unknown personage. The powerful local witch Mak Genggang takes the two girls under her wing for protection, specially when Sakti proves to be an incredibly prodigious magician herself. Muna is just… Muna: loyal sister and Mak Genggang’s devout servant. But when whatever curse they are under starts to make Sakti literally fade away little by little, the two sisters decide to take matters into their own hands and discover that whomever cursed them probably lives in England. Maybe.So off they go to England, where the Sorceress Royal Prunella and her unique school for magic women are waiting for Sakti (and Muna). But the way there is through Fairyland where Sakti finds herself trapped. To save her sister and find out a way to break the curse, Muna has to go England alone.But what can Muna possibly do? She of no magic and of no consequence?MEANWHILE. Breaking news: England and the Sorceress Royal are in trouble against Fairy. It looks as though someone has stolen some sort of powerful talisman from the Fairy Queen? And she will kill everybody in England if it’s not returned to her. Pronto.Well, you know what comes next. YES, THAT’S RIGHT: a delightful take on power that also engages with racism, colonialism and misogyny. FUN TIMES. But also a delightful story that features double crossing, heists, an adventure into Fairyland starring odd couple Muna and Prunella’s best friend Henrietta Stapleton.A MOMENT OF YOUR TIME:I interrupt this review to introduce: MISS HENRITETTA STAPLETON. Devoted daughter, sister and BFF. Secret!Magic!User and a secret teacher (against her family’s wishes) at the school with a quiet voice and a quiet demeanour who is like: Yes, father, I shall marry this man I do not WILL NOT EVER love so I can save our family from financial ruin. Yes, Prunella, truly, you are right Prunella *proves Prunella wrong*. Also: “my family has no idea I am a witch, I shall create this uniquely amazing spell who will create A DOUBLE to take my place while I go off on this dangerous adventure with this intriguing young lady I may or may not have a crush on”. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION.Moving on, although it’s very clear who Muna and Sakti are from the very beginning, this is not the point of the story as this is not a book (or a series) to rely on “twists”. It’s all in the journey, in the thoughtful way it engages with sisterhood and love and empowerment, and to the uses of magic, especially who gets to use it and how. And all that, it does really well.You may be asking yourself: but what about Prunella and Zacharias, do they show up at all? Well, yes, dear reader, they have resplendent cameos, specially Prunella who remains her usual practical self. The True Queen is an adventure novel, a comedy of manners and errors featuring queer dragons and queer women, tons of delightful (oh, oops, there goes this perfectly suited word again) dialogue and a super sweet romance between two women.
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  • Samantha Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    A sheer delight from beginning to end. Zen Cho perfectly conjures the opulence, absurdity and conflict of the period, and her magical societies are so wholly interwoven with history that you’ll start to believe there really was a Sorceress Royal – and that centuries ago, you really could travel through Fairyland from one side of the world to the other.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    From TenaciousReader: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2019/0...I have to be honest, this is a hard review to write. I loved the first book, Sorcerer to the Crown, and as such, I think my expectations for this one were pretty high.I have seen it mentioned that this book can be read as a standalone, and I want to give my opinion on that a bit. It is set in the same world as The True Queen, but focuses on a new set of characters. The story is such that it can feel self contained and really does not From TenaciousReader: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2019/0...I have to be honest, this is a hard review to write. I loved the first book, Sorcerer to the Crown, and as such, I think my expectations for this one were pretty high.I have seen it mentioned that this book can be read as a standalone, and I want to give my opinion on that a bit. It is set in the same world as The True Queen, but focuses on a new set of characters. The story is such that it can feel self contained and really does not depend on knowledge from the first book, so in that sense it works. You absolutely could read this without reading Sorcerer to the Crown. But while I completely agree that this can be read independent of Sorcerer to the Crown, I also feel like you may get spoilers for the fate of the main characters in Sorcerer to the Crown if you were to read this one first. So I would caution you to read the other book first if you think that finding out where the main characters from that book wind up would ruin your reading experience. They are not primary characters in The True Queen, but they are involved and appear and you would definitely get some idea of how Sorcerer to the Crown ends if you read this one first. So yes, I will agree this can be read without reading the first and I don’t think it would lessen your enjoyment of this book. But I do think that reading this book and then reading Sorcerer to the Crown could potentially negatively impact your reading experience for Sorcerer to the Crown. My advice would be read the other book first.The story starts off with two sisters who awake on a shore, with no memories. I have to admit, I find amnesia as a plot device (or element) to be very hard to get in to. I find it misses way more than it hits the mark for me. In this case, it made me a bit apprehensive, but I certainly didn’t write off the book. It’s not something that always fails for me, there have been some books that I have thought were amazing and the amnesia component worked well. It just tends to be the exception more than the rule for me, and unfortunately, I don’t think this book is an exception. I was not intrigued but the amnesia component like I feel like I should have been.As Muna and Sakti begin their journey, they realize Sakti is slowly disappearing. Muna is left trying to find a way to save her sister, navigate life at court and prove herself as a magician. Of course there are characters determined to see her fail. I do enjoy seeing characters standing up and proving themselves beyond other’s expectations for them. It’s always a thrill, so from that perspective I was rooting for her.Another area that I think I struggled with was the actual characters. I won’t say there is anything wrong with them, per se, but with Prunella in Sorcerer to the Crown, I just fell in love with reading her almost immediately. Her personality was just exciting for me and I found myself rooting for her from the very beginning. I did not find much of a connection with any of the characters in this one, much less that feeling I had with Prunella.But it was not all bad. I do enjoy the regency setting as well as seeing characters break through other’s expectations. It’s just that the pros were not enough for me or they came too late in the book for it to really recover from the shaky start. I’ve seen many other reviews (most reviews) have a more positive experience with this book, so if you enjoyed the first one, I would definitely encourage you to try it (and I hope you will not have the same hang ups I did). If you have not read the first one, I would recommend you give that one a try first.
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  • Shruthi
    January 1, 1970
    I feel like this book just taps into everything I love: historical romps, romcom tropes, dragons, fun fantasy worldbuilding, excellent comedy, and great female characters. This was as On Brand for me as its prequel and I loved it to bits.
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Review from Tenacious Reader: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2019/0...I have to be honest, this is a hard review to write. I loved the first book, Sorcerer to the Crown, and as such, I think my expectations for this one were pretty high.I have seen it mentioned that this book can be read as a standalone, and I want to give my opinion on that a bit. It is set in the same world as The True Queen, but focuses on a new set of characters. The story is such that it can feel self contained and really d Review from Tenacious Reader: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2019/0...I have to be honest, this is a hard review to write. I loved the first book, Sorcerer to the Crown, and as such, I think my expectations for this one were pretty high.I have seen it mentioned that this book can be read as a standalone, and I want to give my opinion on that a bit. It is set in the same world as The True Queen, but focuses on a new set of characters. The story is such that it can feel self contained and really does not depend on knowledge from the first book, so in that sense it works. You absolutely could read this without reading Sorcerer to the Crown. But while I completely agree that this can be read independent of Sorcerer to the Crown, I also feel like you may get spoilers for the fate of the main characters in Sorcerer to the Crown if you were to read this one first. So I would caution you to read the other book first if you think that finding out where the main characters from that book wind up would ruin your reading experience. They are not primary characters in The True Queen, but they are involved and appear and you would definitely get some idea of how Sorcerer to the Crown ends if you read this one first. So yes, I will agree this can be read without reading the first and I don’t think it would lessen your enjoyment of this book. But I do think that reading this book and then reading Sorcerer to the Crown could potentially negatively impact your reading experience for Sorcerer to the Crown. My advice would be read the other book first.The story starts off with two sisters who awake on a shore, with no memories. I have to admit, I find amnesia as a plot device (or element) to be very hard to get in to. I find it misses way more than it hits the mark for me. In this case, it made me a bit apprehensive, but I certainly didn’t write off the book. It’s not something that always fails for me, there have been some books that I have thought were amazing and the amnesia component worked well. It just tends to be the exception more than the rule for me, and unfortunately, I don’t think this book is an exception. I was not intrigued but the amnesia component like I feel like I should have been.As Muna and Sakti begin their journey, they realize Sakti is slowly disappearing. Muna is left trying to find a way to save her sister, navigate life at court and prove herself as a magician. Of course there are characters determined to see her fail. I do enjoy seeing characters standing up and proving themselves beyond other’s expectations for them. It’s always a thrill, so from that perspective I was rooting for her.Another area that I think I struggled with was the actual characters. I won’t say there is anything wrong with them, per se, but with Prunella in Sorcerer to the Crown, I just fell in love with reading her almost immediately. Her personality was just exciting for me and I found myself rooting for her from the very beginning. I did not find much of a connection with any of the characters in this one, much less that feeling I had with Prunella.But it was not all bad. I do enjoy the regency setting as well as seeing characters break through other’s expectations. It’s just that the pros were not enough for me or they came too late in the book for it to really recover from the shaky start. I’ve seen many other reviews (most reviews) have a more positive experience with this book, so if you enjoyed the first one, I would definitely encourage you to try it (and I hope you will not have the same hang ups I did). If you have not read the first one, I would recommend you give that one a try first.
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  • Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsThis is a light, fun fantasy very much in line with its prequel, Sorcerer to the Crown. I’d forgotten most of that one, which was fine because this is a new story with a new set of protagonists, though with some overlap in characters. It begins with sisters Muna and Sakti, who wake up on a beach in Malaysia with no idea who they are – but who soon learn that they’ve been cursed. Muna makes her way to Regency England, but Sakti is stolen away to the Fairy Court, leaving Muna responsible 3.5 starsThis is a light, fun fantasy very much in line with its prequel, Sorcerer to the Crown. I’d forgotten most of that one, which was fine because this is a new story with a new set of protagonists, though with some overlap in characters. It begins with sisters Muna and Sakti, who wake up on a beach in Malaysia with no idea who they are – but who soon learn that they’ve been cursed. Muna makes her way to Regency England, but Sakti is stolen away to the Fairy Court, leaving Muna responsible for rescuing her.It’s a quick, entertaining, and at times humorous read, though the plot meanders a bit in the first half and only really picks up in the second. In a neat trick, all of the most important characters in the book, heroes, villains, and mentors alike, are female – a nice touch in a genre where female characters are still noticeably in the minority, and done without lampshading, so that I only realized this at the end. There’s also some racial and cultural diversity; in another nice touch, Muna and Sakti are clearly Muslim, without the author making a big deal of it. And yes, there's a lesbian subplot, but it's so understated that if you're reading just for that, you may be disappointed.Meanwhile, if you’re looking for deep and complex characterization, this is not your book. This is fun escapist reading, an unambitious novel that sets out to entertain and then does exactly that. Early on I found myself wanting more depth, but by the end I was happy with what it was and wished I could find more books like this – books that are lighthearted and enjoyable without being stupid. I’d recommend it, though best to start with the first book to avoid being spoiled.
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  • Acqua
    January 1, 1970
    This is f/f historical fiction (about Malaysian witches, I heard?) so of course I'm reading it!
  • Liz Mc2
    January 1, 1970
    I thought the first part dragged a bit and most of the plot developments could be seen a mile away, but I did not care because Cho's world is so delightful and well-realized. I stayed up too late finishing this on a night when I needed distraction. I liked seeing more of Mak Genggang and having a Malaysian heroine. Muna is great, both ordinary and extraordinary. Partway through I realized that men had barely any page time and the book is all about sisterhood and friendship, and I found that refr I thought the first part dragged a bit and most of the plot developments could be seen a mile away, but I did not care because Cho's world is so delightful and well-realized. I stayed up too late finishing this on a night when I needed distraction. I liked seeing more of Mak Genggang and having a Malaysian heroine. Muna is great, both ordinary and extraordinary. Partway through I realized that men had barely any page time and the book is all about sisterhood and friendship, and I found that refreshing. Really hope there will be more books set in this world.
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  • c,
    January 1, 1970
    Henrietta smiled. Having started she could not seem to stop, and there seemed no call to try, for Muna smiled back. On my blog. Rep: Malay mcs, wlw mcs, black side character, half Indian mcGalley provided by publisherI read Sorcerer to the Crown back in 2015 and I don’t think it’s that much of an exaggeration to say I’ve been waiting an age (3 years and 2 months) for this book. And it was totally worth the wait. I’m going to say it right now: this is probably one of the best books I’ll read al Henrietta smiled. Having started she could not seem to stop, and there seemed no call to try, for Muna smiled back. On my blog. Rep: Malay mcs, wlw mcs, black side character, half Indian mcGalley provided by publisherI read Sorcerer to the Crown back in 2015 and I don’t think it’s that much of an exaggeration to say I’ve been waiting an age (3 years and 2 months) for this book. And it was totally worth the wait. I’m going to say it right now: this is probably one of the best books I’ll read all year.The True Queen introduces two completely new characters to this world, Muna and her sister Sakti. When they wake up on a beach in Janda Baik with no memory of their past and who they are, Mak Genggang takes them in. But it turns out that they’re both cursed by some spell and in trying to discover who put the curse on them, they are forced to travel to England, via the Unseen Realm. Sakti gets lost along the way, and Muna shows up on the Sorceress Royal’s doorstep alone and with only one desire: to rescue her sister from Fairy Land.One of the things I loved most about this book was how quietly magical it was. You know, like magic slipping into the world more on the fringes than it being an epic fantasy level magic. Yes, there was a magic system and it wasn’t wholly understated but it was still quietly magical if that makes sense. And it fits so well into the historical setting.The second thing I loved was the characters. Muna and Henrietta are both great characters and I loved them and their relationship so much. I don’t know how to describe how much I adored them, which is always a good sign. And the surrounding side characters are also great. Particularly Zacharias and Prunella, obviously, because they were the initial reason I wanted to continue this series. I kind of wish there had been more of Zacharias because he was my favourite from the last book, but I also didn’t need any more because of all the new characters. Prunella grew on me more in this book too. I’ll admit I wasn’t her biggest fan in book 1 (past me was foolish), but I loved her in this one.I also really really loved that this book was f/f. Because I’m always craving good f/f historical fiction, and this one satisfied that. (And there’s nowhere near enough of it.)One thing I will note briefly: it’s fairly easy to predict where the plot is going on the whole, once you learn the right information. But it’s got a great, slowburning unfolding of the plot, so that felt more like an oh moment for the reader rather than actual predictability.So yeah. In summary: read the book please. (And also Sorcerer to the Crown, because that’s amazing too.)
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  • emma
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsI struggled a little halfway through this but the last third more than made up for it. This was just as good as it's predecessor and I am hoping that Zen Cho keeps going with this series.
  • Katherine Fabian
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, what an absolutely beautiful book. Immersive, captivating, funny, and filled with such heart from the first page to the last. A book you can fall into and trust to catch you — I’m so glad I read it and I know I’ll be rereading it over the years.
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  • Annemieke / A Dance with Books
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Pan Macmillan and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. The True Queen is the sequel to Sorcerer to the Crown, one of my all time favorite books. I know many think this is a companion novel as the book focuses on different characters based on the synopsis but beware that you are best to read this after having read Sorcerer to the Crown. In ways it deals still with the backlash of what happened in Sorcerer to the Crown and we get a lot of relationships and c Thank you to Pan Macmillan and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. The True Queen is the sequel to Sorcerer to the Crown, one of my all time favorite books. I know many think this is a companion novel as the book focuses on different characters based on the synopsis but beware that you are best to read this after having read Sorcerer to the Crown. In ways it deals still with the backlash of what happened in Sorcerer to the Crown and we get a lot of relationships and characters from that novel in this one. With that out of the way, The True Queen is an altogether different book from Sorcerer to the Crown. Where in the first book we dealt with Zacharias and Prunella’s places in society, in this book we deal with two sisters who don’t even know who they are. It is a different story about finding out who you really are. I didn’t love this as much as I loved Sorcerer to the Crown but overall it is still a really good book. One of the reasons why I didn’t end up loving this book is because I guessed the plot twist very early on. And at about 75% I was about ready to bash everyone’s head in for not having guessed it yet. Clearly they needed more of Zacharias council but he was very much on the sidelines in this book (one that I am sad about). Another reason is that this book switches around in point of views a lot. Some characters only having one, maybe two point of views throughout the whole book where I wondered if it was really necessary to get their view on those situations. Having said all that however I just really enjoyed being back in this world. I loved seeing a bit of Janda Baik at the start and I would love to see a book set there (but then this series is called sorcerer royal so bloody unlikely). I loved seeing Prunella being petty with all of the English magicians and throwing in their face her position of Sorceress Royal. I loved getting to know Henrietta more and seeing a slight focus on her relationship with Prunella. Muna was interesting though it took some getting used to her. I found her sister incredibly grating and I was glad she wasn’t there for most of the book . I loved the relationships that Muna build with those around her, especially Henrietta. Her priorities shifted throughout the book, and I was pleased to see that at the end she still retained that new bit of her. And hey, that last chapter, totally on board for that!
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  • Janine Ballard
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsThe True Queen begins when two women, Muna and Sakti, come to consciousness during a storm, near the village of Janda Baik in Malaysia. Muna and Sakti recognize that they are sisters, though both are missing their memories. Sakti is haughty, opinionated, and possesses magical abilities. Muna is humbler, less certain, and has no magic whatsoever.The local witch and wise woman, Mak Genggang, takes in Sakti and Muna and tells them that a curse worker stole their memories. The witch begins 4.5 starsThe True Queen begins when two women, Muna and Sakti, come to consciousness during a storm, near the village of Janda Baik in Malaysia. Muna and Sakti recognize that they are sisters, though both are missing their memories. Sakti is haughty, opinionated, and possesses magical abilities. Muna is humbler, less certain, and has no magic whatsoever.The local witch and wise woman, Mak Genggang, takes in Sakti and Muna and tells them that a curse worker stole their memories. The witch begins to teach Sakti how to use her magic, but Sakti feels restless. Muna, the main character, works in the kitchens alongside the other people and the lamiae Mak Genggang is also sheltering, and she enjoys it.Then Sakti reveals to Muna that a magical hole is forming in her stomach, and she is sure that Mak Genggang is the curse worker responsible for that, as well for the loss of their memories. Muna is certain that isn’t true.To forestall leaving Mak Genggang’s home, as Sakti wants them to do, Muna agrees to sneak into the house of Tuan Farquhar, the Resident (aka Raja to Sakti and Muna) of Malacca. Farquhar collects spells and Muna suggests they use one of his spells to discover who cursed them.Just before they get caught in Farquhar’s house, Muna and Sakti learn that the curse worker’s name is Midsomer. And because they caused an international incident by infiltrating the Resident’s house, Mak Genggang sends them to England, to her friend the Sorceress Royal, Prunella Wythe.En route, while walking through a forest on the border between England and Fairy Within, Sakti is sucked into Fairyland. Unable to find Sakti, Muna completes the journey to London. In England, Muna is mistaken for the magical Sakti and welcomed. She is given housing in Prunella’s academy, where young ladies are taught how to use their magic.There, Muna makes the acquaintance of Prunella, three students and their two teachers, Henrietta Stapleton and Clarissa Midsomer. With the aid of a temperamental djinn that Mak Genggang entrusted to Sakti, Muna is able to use a tiny bit of magic. But her goal at all times, one for which she must continue her deception no matter how much she likes her new friends, is to locate Sakti and bring her home.Meanwhile, an amulet belonging to the Fairy Queen, known as the Virtu, has disappeared from the hoard of a dragon who was storing it for her and the queen is convinced the English have stolen it. Her emissary, the Duke of the Navel of the Seas, arrives in England with the intention of eating everyone there in revenge. Prunella manages to delay him by suggesting he search for the thief first, but if the Virtu isn’t found, England will not survive.When the fate of the amulet intersects with Muna’s quest to save her sister, Muna contrives to travel to Fairyland in a desperate bid to find and retrieve both.This novel is a sequel to Sorcerer to the Crown but it has a different set of main characters, so I think it is a decent starting point if you want to skip book one. It is also a charming fantasy and two of the ingredients from Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown are present: a Heyer-influenced sense of humor and a stealth romance.The Malaysian heroine is a new and welcome ingredient, giving this book a fresher voice than Sorcerer to the Crown had, and The True Queen feels more surefooted than its prequel. Muna is easy to like—even stranded in England with her sister lost, unable to communicate with Mak Genggang, her determination to save Sakti still causes her misgivings when it requires her to deceive others. There is also an earnestness to her character that adds to her appeal.This is a partial review. The complete review can be found at Dear Author, here:https://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/o...
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  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)The True Queen takes everything I fell in love with from Sorcerer to the Crown further. We are welcomed even more into the fairy lands, meet even more fascinating creatures, and get to see even more Prunella. Even more so, we are treated to Cho's signature characters with the addition of Muna and Skati. There's even a f/f romance within the book, even though it's very light, similar to (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)The True Queen takes everything I fell in love with from Sorcerer to the Crown further. We are welcomed even more into the fairy lands, meet even more fascinating creatures, and get to see even more Prunella. Even more so, we are treated to Cho's signature characters with the addition of Muna and Skati. There's even a f/f romance within the book, even though it's very light, similar to the romance within Sorcerer to the Crown.full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...
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  • Beth Cato
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley.I adored the first Sorcerer Royal book and I've anticipated this sequel for years. Therefore, I was surprised when I had more difficulty getting into it and found important elements of the plot predictable.Muna and Sakti wash ashore in Malaysia without any memories. They are soon taken in by a powerful local witch, where it becomes clear that Sakti is magically gifted and Muna is not. When the sisters' investigation into the mysteries around I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley.I adored the first Sorcerer Royal book and I've anticipated this sequel for years. Therefore, I was surprised when I had more difficulty getting into it and found important elements of the plot predictable.Muna and Sakti wash ashore in Malaysia without any memories. They are soon taken in by a powerful local witch, where it becomes clear that Sakti is magically gifted and Muna is not. When the sisters' investigation into the mysteries around them results in trouble, the witch hustles them off to England where they hope the new Sorceress Royal will help--but on the short cut through fairy land, Sakti vanishes. Muna arrives in England, determined to find her sister.What works: The characters are fantastic. I love the diverse perspectives throughout the book, with Muna's voice shining the brightest. Prunella (the lead from the first book) plays a role throughout and is a joy to visit again. Muna's growing friendship with Henrietta feels natural and charming. The banter made me giggle at times; this really nails the regency-era wit.What faltered: The start of the book felt slow and awkward to me, including a rather odd long flashback. But even once Muna arrived in England, I found myself pulled toward other books rather than continuing this one. The story became more engaging once characters carried their investigation to fairy realms and Muna and Henrietta's partnership grew stronger. Some of the big secrets of the book--like Muna and Sakti's past--were surprisingly blatant early on; the big climax of the book didn't feel that big because of that. There were some strange point-of-view shifts through the book, too; a few chapters from the view of Henrietta's sister were charming but felt totally unnecessary within the main plot.In the end, I enjoyed the book, but I can't help but feel a bit let down, too.
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  • Ksenia (vaenn)
    January 1, 1970
    З The True Queen Цзень Чо очевидно спробувала не повторювати один в один рецепт успішного дебютного роману. Більше чарівного світу, більше орієнтального колориту, більше зовнішньої політики – “Істинна королева” пішла шляхом “Ми будемо все і можна без хлібу”. З одного боку – цілковито схвалюю, тема тих таки малайських відьом у попередній книжці була цукерочкою, яку забрали надто рано, а крім того малайзійська письменниця китайського походження, що останнім часом живе в Британії, вміє класно це ро З The True Queen Цзень Чо очевидно спробувала не повторювати один в один рецепт успішного дебютного роману. Більше чарівного світу, більше орієнтального колориту, більше зовнішньої політики – “Істинна королева” пішла шляхом “Ми будемо все і можна без хлібу”. З одного боку – цілковито схвалюю, тема тих таки малайських відьом у попередній книжці була цукерочкою, яку забрали надто рано, а крім того малайзійська письменниця китайського походження, що останнім часом живе в Британії, вміє класно це робити – міксувати й протиставляти культурні коди та літературні традиції. З іншого боку – такий підхід загрожує цілісності твору, і рівно те саме й сталося. “Королева” з її кількома сюжетними лініями та постійною зміною POV-ів шкандибає, буксує і фактично розпадається на два романи. Обидва дуже симпатичні. Але вони нерівноцінні.Перший “роман” – це умовний спадкоємець “Чарівника його Величності“: дуже повільний, дуже британський, стилізований під зразки ХІХ століття, нашпигований класовими умовностями й дорогими серцям англоманів смаколиками. Погана новина: в ньому мінімум Прунелли і практично немає Захаріаса Вітта – головних героїв попередньої книжки. Хороша новина: але є кілька дорогоцінних сцен класу “Джейн Остен з магією”. Проблема тільки в тому, що оцей роман і його провідна сюжетна лінія, котра крутиться навколо постаті однокашниці Прунелли Генріетти Степлтон, яка хоче викладати чари молодшим дівчатам, але змушена приховувати це від родини, – настільки міноритарні, що дуже довго не зрозуміло, навіщо всі ці деталі взагалі потрібні генеральній лінії оповіді. Ну, окрім того, що треба якірець до першої частини закинути. Фінал розставив-таки все на свої місця, але попахує від нього трохи читерством. Плюс, при всій любові до пародіювання британської класики, цей сюжет часом дратував тим, що відволікає від головного.Другий “роман в романі” суттєво відрізняється і від свого сусіда по книжці, і від першої частини циклу. У цьому сенсі “Істинна королева” вже є класичним героїчним фентезі про не-наш-світ. Проблеми людського суспільства та жагуча емансипаційна проблематика, навколо яких крутився “Чарівник“, тепер пасують перед типовим квестом “Урятуй Діву-В-Біді”. І тут все буде, як в героїчному фентезі годиться: героїня, яка сумнівається і долає, її партнери у виконанні квесту, чарівні помічники, проміжні вороги, битва з мега-боссом… Усе настільки типово, що ж тут хорошого? А от кілька моментів.Перший і головний – цікаве поєднання західної і східної міфології. В одному куті рингу у нас типовий Чарокрай британських балад, зате в іншому в бій рветься малайзійський легендаруім. Цзень Чо вкотре створює текст, в якому далекосхідні читачі відчитають потенційний сюжет значно раніше за європейських чи американських – просто завдяки тому, що раніше зрозуміють всі натяки. Тому тут будуть і баєчки про відьомські закляття, і далекосхідний гомункул полонґ, і жонглювання згадками про інших персонажів тамтешньої демонології (включно з тиграми-перевертнями, про яких я нещодавно окрему книжку читала) і своя версія легенди про Великого Змія. Причому письменниця наполегливо виливає з двох ковшів один світ – і в неї це виходить.Другий момент – загальна чарівність високого градусу. Якщо перший роман циклу апелював до класики британської літератури, то другий працює зі стандартами та штампами уже класичного фентезі, де-не-де переплітаючи його з тою самою класикою. І до стабільно прекрасних моментів “Істинної королеви” можна віднести все, що стосується драконів. Таких зміїв у книжці досхочу, і це… це як Урсула ЛеҐуїн посестрилася з Вудхаузом, чесне слово. Тітонька Джорджіана як почала смалити в першому романі, так потужності й не збавляє. Так, типово-водевільна британська Сувора Тітонька в цих книжках є драконицею. Але вона тут не єдине джерело няшності. Багато драконів, трохи ельфів, трохи дрібних занедбаних духів (тут уже бідолашний Доббі згадується), трохи портретів пихатих чарівників (згадується не тільки Доббі) – все ж таки специфічна британськість додає цьому чарівному світу свого шарму, для якого і люди не так уже й обов’язкові. Зрештою, ця книжка вийшла й не дуже про людей.А третій момент був характерний і для “Чарівника” – це адекватна ситуації головна героїня. У першому томі у нас була сирітка Прунелла з її сумнівним походженням, видатними магічними здібностями та своєрідними амбіціями. Цього разу маємо Муну – типову старшу сестру, яка готова гори звернути, аби врятувати молодшу. При цьому вона дбає про те, щоб її “немагічність” не викрили, переймається культурними особливостями, міцно і плідно дружить з дівчатами (це взагалі книжка про стосунки між жінками, чоловіки там здебільшого збоку й великої ролі не грають) і легше знаходить спільну мову з деякими чарівними істотами, аніж з представниками англійського вищого світу. А ще мимоволі рятує світ. З героїчним фентезі таке трапляється, навіть коло воно пародіює британську класику. А з гарно запакованими законами жанру можна і змиритися. Тут вони запаковані гарно, ще б оце динаміку підтягти.Трохи ширша версія відгуку - єп, за посиланням.
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  • Anna Luce
    January 1, 1970
    ★★★★✰ 4.5 stars (rounded up to 5)Now this is what I call a great companion novel. “Relations are a terrible burden to a girl with magical ability.”It's not easy to describe this series. A mad fantasy romp? A comedy of manners? A fantasy of manners? A pastiche 18th– and 19th-century literature? Fun quests?I strongly recommend reading Sorcerer to the Crown before embarking on this one. I actually think I enjoyed this novel more because I started this knowing more about Zen Cho's style and magical ★★★★✰ 4.5 stars (rounded up to 5)Now this is what I call a great companion novel. “Relations are a terrible burden to a girl with magical ability.”It's not easy to describe this series. A mad fantasy romp? A comedy of manners? A fantasy of manners? A pastiche 18th– and 19th-century literature? Fun quests?I strongly recommend reading Sorcerer to the Crown before embarking on this one. I actually think I enjoyed this novel more because I started this knowing more about Zen Cho's style and magical world.The story focuses on Muna and her sister, Sakti, both of whom have lost their memory. Waking up after a storm they remember only their names and that they are sisters. The two travel from the island of Janda Baik (where Sakti is trained by the powerful witch Mak Genggang) to England. Sakti however is spirited away during their shortcut through the unseen realm (aka fairyland), and Muna arrives alone to England. Here we are reunited with familiar faces such as the Sorceress Royal (Prunella!), her husband, Zacharias Whyte, and Henrietta Stapleton (a schoolmate of Prunella).The novel follows different characters, and Cho easily waves together their different storylines. Muna remains the central figure of the story and I was utterly absorbed by her determination to rescue her sister.Along the way she will have to lie (something she doesn't like to do), adapt to a society which is not friendly towards women practicing magic or foreigners (more than a few 'respectable' members of the British society refer to her as a 'native'), trick a number of magical creatures, and forge an unexpected friendship (which might blossom into something more).Cho's pays incredible attention to etiquette and modes of behaviour. She includes a lot of archaic English words (mumchance might be a new favourite) and really brings to life the old British empire without romanticising it. Yes, her world is enchanting but the society she focuses on has very conservative social mores (our protagonists are judged on the basis of their ethnicity, race, sex, and class). Yet, it isn't all gloom and doom! Quite the opposite in fact. Humour and wit underline this narrative and I was smiling throughout. Do you know that food must only speak when it is spoken to? Cho combines different mythologies and folklores creating a unique compendium of magical beings and traditions: there are fairies, dragons, lamias, vampiresses, as well as Malaysian spirits and supernatural beings such as a weretigers, bunians, and polongs. The unseen realm is richly imagined and I loved the parts set in it (those scenes gave me strong Alice's Adventures in Wonderland vibes).The more the polong said, the less reassured Muna felt. “But are not spirits famously changeable?”“I will have you know that is an offensive generalisation,” said the polong. “No one could accuse me of inconstancy. The way in which magic works in Cho's world is just as interesting as I remembered (more cloud-riding, yay!).The characters were another delightful aspect to this story. Regardless of their standing (wherever they were old fogeys or angry dragons) they were portrayed in an almost endearing way. Muna was probably my favourite character. I loved the way she looked up to Mak Genggang, her bond with her sister, her sense of duty, her sheer determination...This is escapist fiction at its best. It provided me with a brilliant story, an interesting mystery, magic, funny mishaps, balls, a dash of romance, and non-stop entertainment. “When I have mislaid my things, murder is not my first course of action,” said Prunella. “What I do is look for them—and quite often I find them.”One of my favourite scenes features a depressed dragon:“No one ever saw a longer face on a dragon.He had never been overly fond of the usual draconic pursuits and in the circumstances they lost all their savour.At most he might dutifully pick off a unicorn that had wandered away from its herd, but he had not the heart to finish devouring the carcass before his appetite failed him. ”Another brilliant scene was when Muna told off a bunch of rude fossils paintings:“I am a guest in your country, I am entitled to your hospitality, and instead you hoot like monkeys. You dishonour your white hair by your conduct. Men so old should know better!”My review of Sorcerer to the Crown.Read more reviews on my blog
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  • Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
    January 1, 1970
    See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary FlitsUnsurprisingly for me, I hadn't read Zen Cho's first Sorcerer To The Crown novel before launching in to The True Queen so I am fortunate that this second book doesn't require readers to have any previous knowledge. I understand that the stories take place within the same world and there is some overlap of characters, but I never felt as though I had missed out on anything by picking up The True Queen first. Indeed I am now tempted to treat my See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary FlitsUnsurprisingly for me, I hadn't read Zen Cho's first Sorcerer To The Crown novel before launching in to The True Queen so I am fortunate that this second book doesn't require readers to have any previous knowledge. I understand that the stories take place within the same world and there is some overlap of characters, but I never felt as though I had missed out on anything by picking up The True Queen first. Indeed I am now tempted to treat myself to The Sorcerer To The Crown!The True Queen takes place as much in magical locations as in Malay or English ones. I appreciated Cho's deft descriptive writing which allowed me to clearly envisage the places in which our characters found themselves, however I never felt any slackening of pace as we looked around. There are enchanted forests, dank caves and the vast Fairy Court Palace as well as the 'real' places: Muna's Janda Baik island home and the bustle of Regency London. I was less convinced by the historical setting than the magical locations, perhaps because I have read quite a lot of Regency stories over the years - Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer for example - and, while I can't put my finger on anything specifically anachronistic, I sometimes felt as though the language and behaviours in The True Queen were more suited to a later period.That said, I enjoyed spending time with Muna, Sakti and the characters surrounding them. I worked out the solution to their predicament fairly early on, but that didn't detract from the intricacies of their journey. I think fans of Vered Ehsani's Society For Paranormals series would appreciate reading The True Queen (and Zen Cho fans might like to give Ehsani's books a try!)
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  • Leonie Byrne
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley, Pan MacMillan and Zen Cho for my arc of The True Queen in exchange for an honest review. Spoiler warning: no spoilers for this book but some spoilers for book one: Sorcerer to the Crown where necessary to this review. Synopsis: Following the events of Sorcerer to the Crown Prunella Gentleman (now Whyat) is now the first ever Sorceress Royal. When two girls wash up on the shore of Janda Baik, Prunella's old friend Mak Genggang entrusts them into her care. Muna and Satki ca Thank you to Netgalley, Pan MacMillan and Zen Cho for my arc of The True Queen in exchange for an honest review. Spoiler warning: no spoilers for this book but some spoilers for book one: Sorcerer to the Crown where necessary to this review. Synopsis: Following the events of Sorcerer to the Crown Prunella Gentleman (now Whyat) is now the first ever Sorceress Royal. When two girls wash up on the shore of Janda Baik, Prunella's old friend Mak Genggang entrusts them into her care. Muna and Satki can remember nothing before they found each other on the beach following the storm all they know is that they have been cursed by an unknown enchanter and Satki is beginning to fade away. But it is down to Muna who has no magic of her own to navigate high society in England and convince them all she is a magical prodigy in order to save her sister. But as her own past gets entangled things become a lot more complicated than they first seemed... I loved Sorcerer to the Crown and The True Queen was just as good. We got to explore a lot more of the different views on magic in different cultures and I love the diversity of Zen Cho's books which have everything! Despite the regency setting the magical whimsy allows for lots of changes which mean we get to see not only diversity but the crushing of prejudices, the freedom from oppression regardless of gender, race or sexual preference and of course there's magic! Perfection, I can't wait for the third book in this series!
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  • Jamie (Books and Ladders)
    January 1, 1970
    See this review and more on Books and Ladders!Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.The sequel to the ah-mazing SORCERER TO THE CROWN, THE TRUE QUEEN has magic, mayhem, and strong female characters that you root for the whole way through. I loved seeing the old characters, meeting new ones, and being introduced to more magic in this than we previously saw. Cho has created a masterpiece of Fantasy and I hope you pick it up. The b See this review and more on Books and Ladders!Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.The sequel to the ah-mazing SORCERER TO THE CROWN, THE TRUE QUEEN has magic, mayhem, and strong female characters that you root for the whole way through. I loved seeing the old characters, meeting new ones, and being introduced to more magic in this than we previously saw. Cho has created a masterpiece of Fantasy and I hope you pick it up. The best part? If you haven't read SORCERER TO THE CROWN, you can still read this! There is enough explanation to get you through some aspects.
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  • Miranda Reads
    January 1, 1970
  • Frith
    January 1, 1970
    This was so much fun! I loved all the characters, they were all so vivid. And while I did love Sorcerer, I really enjoyed having all the women so front and centre this time. It was just all so good!
  • katayoun Masoodi
    January 1, 1970
    truly delightful, though at times especially in the early chapters you wanted to smack muna!! :)
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