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Dec 05

The Fallen Queen – Jane Kindred

About the book
Heaven can go to hell. 

Until her cousin slaughtered the supernal family, Anazakia’s father ruled the Heavens, governing noble Host and Fallen peasants alike. Now Anazakia is the last grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel’sk, and all she wants is to stay alive. 


Hunted by Seraph assassins, Anazakia flees Heaven with two Fallen thieves—fire demon Vasily and air demon Belphagor, each with their own nefarious agenda—who hide her in the world of Man. The line between vice and virtue soon blurs, and when Belphagor is imprisoned, the unexpected passion of Vasily warms her through the Russian winter. 


Heaven seems a distant dream, but when Anazakia learns the truth behind the celestial coup, she will have to return to fight for the throne—even if it means saving the man who murdered everyone she loved.
Published on: December 6, 2011
Published by: Entangled Publishing
Author’s website
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WhenI got the offer to review The FallenQueen, I almost said no. I read the blurb and saw that it was about Heavenand angels and kind of rolled my eyes. If you can’t tell, I’m not big on bookswith huge religious overtones and talk of Heaven and angels smacks of religion.I decided to take a chance on it for no real reason other than I felt brave atthe moment and now, looking back at it, I’m glad I did.
Iwas told Kindred’s writing style was reminiscent of Jacqueline Carey, and thiscomparison is probably what got me to read this book. While I can seesimilarities between the two, Kindred’s writing style is different enough to makeher an individual though her graceful prose is suggestive Carey. Kindred’swriting is incredibly descriptive, which is needed when you realize how complexher world is.
Infact, her world is so complex that it might take some time for the reader tofully figure it all out. However, at the beginning of the book there aredescriptions that will help the reader get a feel for it. Plan on having toflip back occasionally to sort out details as you read until you get a realsolid handle on the world and the people who live in it.
GrandDuchess Anazakia, the main protagonist, does quite a bit of growing anddeveloping within the pages of The FallenQueen. She starts out as a rather self-absorbed and girlish and grows andmatures in leaps and bounds as the book progresses. There is some romance inthis book, though it’s probably not what you’d expect and while I did feel thatthe romance laden portions did slow the plot down a little, thebook does recover from the slower middle section.
The Fallen Queen has alternatingperspectives. The chapters told from Anazakia’s perspective is written in thefirst person and these chapters also read more lyrical and eloquent than thechapters told from other points of view (which are also told in third person).The flip side of this is that, while Anazakia’s chapters are more flowing, Ifelt as though the third person chapters were more fleshed out. Perspectivedoesn’t change mid-chapter, which makes the switch from first to third easierto deal with, however, it might still jar some readers.
Now,when I see a book which takes place in heaven, with angels, I automaticallyassume it’s going to have strong religious overtones and a hunky angel namedGabriel coming to save the day/woo the protagonist. The Fallen Queen isn’t like that at all. The angels aren’t whatyou’d expect them to be, neither are the demons and heaven is more like aparallel universe, of sorts, than anything else. There is no god, nor is therea hunky angel Gabriel. This “heaven” consists of different classes of people:the ruling class, and the poor and oppressed. Again, it might take time tofigure out who is who and where they all come from, but it’s worth taking timeto figure it out. Kindred has a pretty good setup for her races and many ofthem have interesting abilities, like demons who have the ability to controlcertain elements like fire, water or air, for example.
Theportion of the book that takes place on our earth, takes place in Russia andthis is, perhaps, the weakest part of the book. While the world is very wellbuilt and the characters never seem to falter in their development, the plotduring this section of the book does seem to drag a bit, both for the earthhappenings and the heaven happenings. Another problem is some of thebelievability is gone. As the plot slows down, the reader is given more time toexamine some of the aspects and this may or may not prove to be a problem forsome readers. For example, under closer examination, some of the antagonistsare rather two-dimensional and their actions were rather transparent andpredictable which I really didn’t notice until the plot slowed a little. Theseproblems don’t ruin The Fallen Queen,but they do become much more obvious during the middle to last portion of thebook.
WhenThe Fallen Queen is stripped down toits roots, the plot isn’t really anything new. There’s a battle for power andthe unexpected is forced to rise to the challenge. A plot like that can befound in any number of books, but Kindred unique flair, lyrical writing andcomplex world make it stand apart from the crowd. While I did feel that characterization and portions of the plot were rather weak, The Fallen Queen is well worth reading and the ending will leavereaders yearning for the second installment in this series. The Fallen Queen is set to release onDecember 6.
3.5/5stars

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