A Tyranny of Queens. Book Review

Angry Robot Books. p/b. 432pp. £8.99
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

Home, but so changed herself that it no longer feels like home, Saffron is lost again. It is as though none of it – Kena, Kadeja, Zech – happened, and no one here but her knows that it did. They whisper and they speculate but none of them know the truth;  scale of what she lost. Everything is different now, except for Jared Blake, the school bully who started it all.

Back in another world the political situation is more complicated than ever. Gwen is, and has for a long time been a worldwalker. It is time once again for her to leave behind those she loves for another world, in search of answers. Gwen kisses her knuckles and makes a deal. There is certainly a connection with this woman, but can she trust her end of the bargain will be kept?

Leoden caused so much change, so much damage, but none of them understood why. As the plot begins to thicken, Safi, Gwen and Yena, separated, and all affected by events gone by and the revelations of those to come, all begin to see different parts of the whole, and realise who was behind the betrayal all along.

A Tyranny of Queens begins with Saffron back on earth in her old life, quickly realising that the independence and strength she had discovered in her worldwalking will not be retained if she resumes her prior roles of daughter and student. There are some heart-wrenching moments for her and the depiction of Saffron, young girl impacted by huge and terrible decisions, is handled with grace and skill, eliciting maximum reaction from the reader.

For readers of current fantasy, the deeper emotional elements of this second in Meadows’ Manifold Worlds series satisfies more of the appetite expected in a contemporary story. Whereas Gwen, in the last book, was interesting as a non-earth character, she and her struggles always felt slightly kept at a distance, whereas in this book her plight feels more immediate to the reader, somehow deeper and more connected to reality as we know it. The same applies to Yena who is a welcome point of view character in this book, which is an excellent follow up to the first.