The Queens of Innis Lear

The Queens of Innis Lear

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 dau...

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Title:The Queens of Innis Lear
Author:Tessa Gratton
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Queens of Innis Lear Reviews

  • Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads-no-more

    I love KING LEAR.

    When I took Shakespeare in college, I wrote my research paper on Edmund. I argued that he had little chance to be anything but a villain given the thoughtless mistreatment of bastards at that time. He wore his illegitimacy like a scarlet letter, and even more than Hester Prynn’s, his crime was not a crime.

    So

    when I heard that Tessa Gratton’s THE QUEENS OF INNIS LEAR was a fantastical retelling of KING LEAR, I leapt at the opportunity to read i

    I love KING LEAR.

    When I took Shakespeare in college, I wrote my research paper on Edmund. I argued that he had little chance to be anything but a villain given the thoughtless mistreatment of bastards at that time. He wore his illegitimacy like a scarlet letter, and even more than Hester Prynn’s, his crime was not a crime.

    So

    when I heard that Tessa Gratton’s THE QUEENS OF INNIS LEAR was a fantastical retelling of KING LEAR, I leapt at the opportunity to read it for review. And when I started reading it, and the Edmund-like character, now called Ban the Fox, appeared to be less villainous and more heroic,

    I was ecstatic.

    BUT.

    I was 2% into it, and I should know better than to make assumptions, especially about a retelling of anything by Shakespeare.

    Tackling Shakespeare is a challenging endeavor. It’s freaking Shakespeare. How do you retell a story written a master?

    master?

    To attempt it requires more courage than the average writer can muster. But to attempt it AND rewrite it to suit your purposes, to imagine your version of events superior?

    That, friends, would be HUBRIS. #shameonme

    I’ve seen several reviews where the reader has said things like, after the first couple chapters, they just couldn’t get into it, and that, to me, is baffling.

    TQOIL has one of the best prologues I’ve ever read.

    First line:

    begins?

    Just that easily, I was hooked.

    The spectacular prologue was immediately followed by an introduction to a character and an island that were so vivid, so magical, that I wanted to jump up and down shrieking, “I want to talk to trees! I want to see a bird’s dreams! I want the wind to be my messenger!”

    I want to live in this world!

    Characters that I’d thought I knew and knew well became infinitely more complex. More damaged. More covetous. Anger became fury. Thoughtless remained thoughtful but became loyal and well-intentioned as well. Good became naive, became heartbroken, became a strong and worthy queen.

    And a story I already loved became something so much more.

    Did it hurt?

    Absolutely.

    Tragedy is tragedy, and Shakespearen tragedy . . . WHUH.

    But Gratton so expertly crafted this expanded version that despite the respect she clearly has for this tale and its creator, she was able to give us a less bleak future. Those left standing are worthy of their survival. They’ve learned from Lear’s mistakes and don’t repeat them. They are poised to let their island heal their wounds, healing their island in return.

    THE QUEENS OF INNIS LEAR more than a tragedy. It’s life lessons. How shutting yourself off from the ones who love you can be the root of your own destruction. It’s about recognizing when someone can be saved and when they can’t. It’s hard choices and unbridled hope.

    It’s magic.

  • Cait • A Page with a View

    This book was basically everything I've been looking for. If this doesn't end up being one of my top 10 reads of 2018 I will be shocked because it's SO GOOD. It's an epic high fantasy novel with feminist, diverse characters who are mostly in their twenties. The story itself feels like Game of Thrones meets Shakespeare... except that really doesn't even begin to describe how incredible it is! I've been sitting on this review for 2 months and still can't articulate my love for this book.

    This book was basically everything I've been looking for. If this doesn't end up being one of my top 10 reads of 2018 I will be shocked because it's SO GOOD. It's an epic high fantasy novel with feminist, diverse characters who are mostly in their twenties. The story itself feels like Game of Thrones meets Shakespeare... except that really doesn't even begin to describe how incredible it is! I've been sitting on this review for 2 months and still can't articulate my love for this book.

    I'm not sure how fun this would be without a basic familiarity with the characters and plot of King Lear. I mean, this is definitely a unique and strong story on its own, but so much of the reason I loved it was due to the brilliant retelling. I'm not going to explain the complex plot here because it does follow King Lear really well AND I don't want to ruin the parts that are totally different!

    Basically, there are a

    of POVs that jump back and forth in time throughout the story, but one of the main characters is the youngest daughter of King Lear. The whole plot really is incredibly clever.

    - POC main characters

    - each sister was SO well developed and strong in her own completely different way

    - the sheer scope of the plot!

    - COMPLEX CHARACTERS. omg. I loved them all. Everyone acted for what they viewed as the higher good, but some of their choices were so heartbreaking.

    - the amount of agency the main characters gained over the course of the story

    - the setting was SO pretty

    I think my favorite part was how gorgeous the writing was, though... by the end of the prologue I was completely entranced. I initially read the first few pages and was like "ehhh this is going to be all sorts of dense" and almost put it down, but then I got a sense of what the world was going to be like and suddenly got SO into everything (so maybe stick with it for a bit if you can't get into it). I ended up reading the whole book super slowly just to stay immersed in the beauty of it! The author really brought this world to life to the point where it felt totally real.

    I've been shoving this book at everyone who asks for a recommendation and I really think this will be huge... if you like fantasy books & retellings or are looking for a diverse read with gorgeous writing then definitely add this to your TBR!!

  • Dannii Elle

    A girl whose fate lies in the maps of stars. A boy whose power stems from mud. Whilst one is always gazing skyward and the other is craning downwards, neither has noticed the destruction surrounding them. A mad king is dethroned and a kingdom is divided. Three sisters are both united and divided by what they seek to rule. And the trees whisper the name of the only one who can truly save them all.

    I am so impressed with this Shakespearean retelling!

    is a play I have read and studied mult

    A girl whose fate lies in the maps of stars. A boy whose power stems from mud. Whilst one is always gazing skyward and the other is craning downwards, neither has noticed the destruction surrounding them. A mad king is dethroned and a kingdom is divided. Three sisters are both united and divided by what they seek to rule. And the trees whisper the name of the only one who can truly save them all.

    I am so impressed with this Shakespearean retelling!

    is a play I have read and studied multiple times but my familiarity with the basis for this novel neither hindered my reading, due to repetitiveness, nor would it make this inaccessible to those who are unfamiliar with the original.

    Whilst the story-line was largely true to the particulars of King Lear, the addition of magic to this world made the story newly captivating. The court politics and family dramatics continued to intrigue, but it was the exploration into root magic and the star prophecies that made this story startlingly unique in conception and design.

    I also appreciated how the darkness of raging war and the magic that entwined all was juxtaposed by the sweetness of love. The light sweepings of romance, that was diffused over the course of the novel, had bearings on and relevance to the plot, but the fantastical elements were never watered down or the focus allowed to dwell for too long on the multiple relationships, and this provided me with exactly the correct proportions that I desired.

    This was both a solid retelling of a beloved classic as well as an intoxicating and unique fantasy, all on its own. I can not wait for a fuller immersion into this world, as the series progresses, as this already has the scope to continue on for tomes to come, so complex was the world and the magic system inside it.

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Tessa Gratton, and the publisher, Harper Voyager, for this opportunity.

  • Benjamin

    I got into the story with a little knowledge of what it was about. I must admit that I read the book without being very familiarized with

    , I had some background knowledge but that was it. Maybe that’s the main reason

    I got into the story with a little knowledge of what it was about. I must admit that I read the book without being very familiarized with

    , I had some background knowledge but that was it. Maybe that’s the main reason I didn’t enjoy it that much (?)

    Too many books have been compared to

    , yet this is one that to a certain point, makes some justice.

    as I said before, my lack of knowledge about this being a retelling, may have done the experience differently. Nevertheless, I found myself dragged into the story of these three sisters and their adventures. I wouldn’t fin appropriate tot ell you more, because it’s fair that you discover by your own, the

    that surrounds the story.

    It’s so

    and

    that it turns impossible not to fall in love with it. Reading this was magical. It’s a very

    story and even though I read it in three days, I found myself thinking about quitting it. All the “suffering” will be worth at the end, though.

    this is the major asset from the bool. It’s so well-done, it’s gorgeous and it gives some LOTR vibes.

    You must be aware that great part of the book is about descriptions of places and character’s thoughts and points of views.

    The

    was dark and interesting, it fitted perfectly with the book atmosphere.

    if I started talking about each character I liked, I think I’d never end. So, I will only review this aspect in a general way.

    They are all memorable. Some of them better than others but they were so well-developed, with an interesting background and depth that gives them a sense of reality. There were also very good

    who will break your heart.

    The sisters with their own personalities and the way each of them was developed, turned them into amazing characters.

    Finally, despite the slow-paced rhythm, the so many descriptions and the fact that I didn’t know a lot about King Lear, I do recommend this book and I really hope this isn’t a

    because that ending was so open, and I want to read more about this world.

    I don’t know if the printed edition has a

    , it will make the experience even better.

  • Liz

    What a wonderfully crafted piece of literature this novel is! Not an easy one, mind you. It took me five days to read it because of how dense and complex, how thought-provoking, it is.

    But let's start at the beginning, shall we?!

    Using works of the Bard for inspiration is quite a risky endeavor, you know? Shakespeare's plays, all of them, have a multitude of layers and allow for all types of interpretations but living up to their standard is actually quite hard, I would imagine. Gratton, however

    What a wonderfully crafted piece of literature this novel is! Not an easy one, mind you. It took me five days to read it because of how dense and complex, how thought-provoking, it is.

    But let's start at the beginning, shall we?!

    Using works of the Bard for inspiration is quite a risky endeavor, you know? Shakespeare's plays, all of them, have a multitude of layers and allow for all types of interpretations but living up to their standard is actually quite hard, I would imagine. Gratton, however, did an amazing job in not only using the original wisely but also adding more layers to the story that left me longing for more. But more to that later, let me talk a bit more about Shakespeare.

    I personally always found

    to be the saddest and most tragic of Shakespeare's tragedies so I was fully aware of what I was getting into when I started this novel. Or so I thought. In some way this rendition of the play is even sadder and more tragic, so hereby I inform you - it might hit you right in the feels.

    Jokes aside though, I would recommend familiarising yourself with the play - at least read the summary so you know what you're getting into - before reading

    . I went so far as to open my copy of the play occasionally and compare how the scenes played out.

    Now about the novel.

    The magic of the world of TQoIL is utterly mesmerising. From the fact that it consists of two parts, which are technically opposing each other to the fact that the entire island of Innis Lear is basically pure magic, I was completely captivated by it. I'd read any book the author would write set in this world for the magic alone, it is that good. Complex and mysterious and, well, magical. There are rituals and prices to pay and communication that needs to occur, not just a wave of one's hand and things happen as in some less well-developed fantasy.

    Hand in hand with the magic go the atmosphere and world-building of the novel. Both brilliant. Dark and twisted, the atmosphere conveys a sense of impending doom from the very beginning and until the end (don't forget, it's a tragedy!) so that some scenes are outright disconcerting because of how messed up and morally...wrong they are. In case I wasn't explicit enough - the book has a dark, sinister vibe and I would very much consider it epic fantasy for it is most definitely not a light, easy read.

    Concerning the world-building: I want to know more about the Third Kingdom, and all the other kingdoms, and what happens in the Innis Lear/other kingdoms relationships. The world-building is great, I don't have a single negative thing to say about it.

    The plot doesn't progress very fast, if you take into account that it's a standalone, but that didn't bother me either. Regarding how it progressed, well, it's inspired by

    , enough said.

    Funnily enough several other reviewers stated how easily the prologue got them hooked, but that wasn't the case for me at all, in fact it took me a few chapters to really get into the novel which I think is due to the writing. The write style is undoubtedly gorgeous and intricate and evocative, but at times it was a bit too much for me. Some formulations could have been shorter, some scenes were too lengthy and occasionally it was over-detailed, but that didn't bother me too much either.

    And the characters...oh boy, the characters. Some of them are downright ruthless, not even morally gray anymore. Just morally and mentally completely messed up. I don't think there is a single traditionally 'good' character in this novel, everyone is to some degree morally gray and only the strongest, the best, survive. There are so many fantasy novels that are compared to the Song of Ice and Fire for some unexplainable reason but this one truly can be compared to G.R.R. Martin's work in its wickedness and sheer brutality. Gratton, naturally, added characters that aren't in the play but all of them are well-rounded, interesting and have an agenda, one that is relevant for the plot progression and actually memorable, so no complaints here either.

    I just hated Edmund - in this novel called Ban the Fox - with as much passion as in the play. God, I loathe this character in both the play and the novel. I won't comment on the others separately, apart from saying that Lear's behaviour in the novel is perhaps even more disturbing than in the play, because I don't want to spoil anything.

    The only tiny thing I did not quite enjoy in the novel were the occasional third-person omniscient narrator interludes that happened some four or five times through the novel. While I totally understand that the information given in them is necessary the sudden distance they created repeatedly threw me off and I think particularly the last one could have been done differently. Either through another character's perspective or through the eyes of the one whom it actually concerns, but this type of narration for the epilogue did not sit well with me.

    Highly recommended. Seriously.

  • Bentley ★ Bookbastion.net

    ______

    It's been awhile since I've really challenged myself with a proper adult high fantasy novel, and I can proudly say that I'm glad it was this one that I took a chance on. A retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear, 

    but also infuses their world and societies with a breath of magic that serves to

    ______

    It's been awhile since I've really challenged myself with a proper adult high fantasy novel, and I can proudly say that I'm glad it was this one that I took a chance on. A retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear, 

    but also infuses their world and societies with a breath of magic that serves to elevate the characters in surprising ways.

    Make no mistake,

    It likely helps to have at least a cursory knowledge of King Lear before you start - as

    I entered into this with slight knowledge of the original play - having read it years ago - though I did familiarize myself with the source material again through summaries before I started this. I definitely think it only helped raise my appreciation for the labor of love that was clearly worked here. 

    My hat is off to Tessa Gratton, for it is clear that she is a gifted author, with an imagination that is as wild as the roots of the White Forest and a depth of skill that must have been drawn from the rootwaters of Innis Lear itself. I sometimes struggle with overly descriptive prose, but here I felt like each word was carefully chosen and suited its purpose well to paint the world of Innis Lear to life.

    I also enjoyed the way Gratton uses her character's situations and legacies to her advantage to craft wonderfully gray and layered characters.

    that reaches near fevered pitch for the last quarter of the story or so when I could scarcely put the book down.

    The 3 Princesses of Innis Lear were particularly well crafted.

    to mutual understanding and acceptance of their circumstance together, or despair. 

    I struggled a bit with the character of Ban the Fox though because

    I know Tessa Gratton wanted him to remain a sympathetic character, but - without spoiling who exactly he corresponds to in King Lear, or what his role was in this - I couldn't bring myself to see him that way, which sort of messed with my enjoyment of certain points involving his character. 

    I will also admit that I had trouble with the pacing in the early portions of the novel.

    with most of them being introduced straight away at the beginning. There are also flashbacks incorporated so that we might see these character years before the story begins. That much jumping around made orienting myself to the world a challenge in and of itself. However,

    This was a truly lovely read and I am so glad that I stuck with it through the end. 

  • Carolyn

    This review is for a 'preview excerpt' I received from Netgalley. I didn't realise that it wasn't the full book and was puzzled when the book stopped abruptly. So this is a review of only the first section of the book (around 1/2 judging by the full length of the book).

    This is fantasy retelling of "King Lear" on an island that has it's flow of earth and water magic blocked by a king who prefers to read portents in the stars. He fails to see that the land is becoming barren and the crops are fail

    This review is for a 'preview excerpt' I received from Netgalley. I didn't realise that it wasn't the full book and was puzzled when the book stopped abruptly. So this is a review of only the first section of the book (around 1/2 judging by the full length of the book).

    This is fantasy retelling of "King Lear" on an island that has it's flow of earth and water magic blocked by a king who prefers to read portents in the stars. He fails to see that the land is becoming barren and the crops are failing as he himself falls into madness while his eldest daughters plot against him.

    Told in a slow, lyrical style, it took a little while to get into the plot and the second half of the excerpt was definitely better paced than the first. Many of the characters are recognisable as those from King Lear including the shadowy, enigmatic Ban the Fox, a wizard in touch with the magic of the trees and the water, who is the banished bastard son of Lear's ally, Earl Erigal and the childhood playmate of Lear's youngest daughter, Elia. Lear and his three daughters are all recognisable and play the roles assigned them in the original play. So an enjoyable read with a good fantasy element. I think it will be popular with GoT readers and I am looking forward to finishing the book once I get hold of a complete copy.

  • jessica

    im quite conflicted with how i feel about this book. the prose was gorgeous and the character development was extraordinary, but this was exhausting to get through. i found myself often skimming through paragraphs, or simply setting down the book periodically as i couldnt read this in large doses. but there was enough love for the story to get me to finish, even if it was laborious. and honestly, i didnt hate the book overall!?! which is why im conflicted and why goodreads needs half star rating

    im quite conflicted with how i feel about this book. the prose was gorgeous and the character development was extraordinary, but this was exhausting to get through. i found myself often skimming through paragraphs, or simply setting down the book periodically as i couldnt read this in large doses. but there was enough love for the story to get me to finish, even if it was laborious. and honestly, i didnt hate the book overall!?! which is why im conflicted and why goodreads needs half star ratings. but its a good read for those who are a fan of this story and dont mind something on the slower side of things.

  • Sabrina The Trash Queen

    ✨my copy arrived! Is so beautiful😍.

    ✨can’t wait to start reading it!.!.!.!

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