Ahh, this was a fun one. I came for the intriguing sci-fi mystery mash-up and stayed for the murder mystery. There should be more YA murder mysteries, pronto.
A thieving success goes very, very wrong when it involves Keralie in a conspiracy plot to kill the four queens of Quadara.
In some regards, this book pulls from common YA tropes. First, there is a familiar setting. The country of Quadara is divided into four quadrants composed of people with different livelihoods, ideals and expected personalities. Then there’s the presence of a very quippy antiheroine narrator. And a seemingly indifferent, tall/dark/handsome type love interest.
There was so much new, however, too. The timeline is a bit disjointed, and the court intrigue less back-stabbing than most (though still full of secrets). A key villain is revealed early on, and the identity of the murder is a big twist, though not necessarily the most surprising.
The world is one I would revisit again, and the vague historical backstory something I would want to read about. The Queenly Law is fairly absurd, and it makes the story all that more interesting to read.
If you like fantasy, and also Agatha Christie, this book gives you the best of both. Best of all, it’s a standalone! I always find it refreshing to read a book and have all the threads wrapped up by the end of the story.