Publisher: Inspired Quill
In the legends, the Four saved the world from war and poverty. These incredible men walked the lands, seeking an audience with the ruler of each nation. They demanded that mankind focus its efforts on education, trade and culture. No longer would the people face starvation and terror. This commandment was enforced with displays of miraculous power. After all, it is difficult to argue with the Gods. Once finished, the Four left with a promise: If ever your people fall back into darkness, then we shall return. Now, over five centuries later, Sarene grows tired of her village life. Suffocated by the confines of her surroundings and the overbearing protection of her family, she yearns to have an adventure of her own. But the world outside is not as tranquil as it seems. And Sarene is already in danger...
Queen of the World is an intriguing and realistic fantasy. Covering a lot of similar ground to those big epic fantasy’s such as sheltered young person discovers they are being hunted for no reason, prophecies and stoic protectors, Ben Hennessy manages to take this tropes and make them feel real and true. Our main character, Sarene is mute which makes communication challenging and gives her a unique perspective on people and the world. She might be young but she is someone that is easy to root for and sympathise with. Her protector is strong, loyal but also intelligent and quick witted. Along their way they meet a variety of people, all with their own problems, issues and history. I really enjoyed the way their journey took time and effort and the amount of world building that went into the characters to bring each of them alive.
One of the best characters was Spasmodic, a demon who follows them in order to enjoy the chaos that occurs around them. He takes a simple pleasure in action, doesn’t understand humans and you’re not quite sure if he is trustworthy or not but he is a lot of fun and adds a certain amount of fission to their journey.
While I loved the realism, this also holds it back slightly as the events are still very personal and less world impacting so far. I’m sure following books in this world will raise the stakes and open up the world more, but this time around I found myself wishing that Sarene would make some positive decisions to act rather than just react to everything. This is understandable given her youth but I like leading ladies who act and initiate events (for good or bad at times!).
This would be a good introduction to fantasy for those who don’t read outside the real world and I am interested to see what happens next and how the Four will react now!
Recommended for fans of Jennifer Fallon and Michael J Sullivan. 8 out of 10