Title: Queen of Ruin
Author: Tracy Banghart
Series number: Book 2 in the Grace and Fury duology.
Publishing date: July 11th 2019.
Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group
Page count: 340
Summary: After the shock events that everyone saw coming at the end of book one, Nomi and Maris are being sent to Mount Ruin to die. Malachi is dying and they have no hope as Asa’s evil coup takes over the empire. Serina and her buddies at Mount Ruin have overthrown the guards and are finally free…but how can they escape the island?
Serina – After going from my most hated character is book 1, she overtook Nomi very quickly near the end of book 1 and then into this book. Serina is level-headed, balanced, generous and humble. Everything a leader should be.
Nomi – Nomi…the worst girl to ever live. She is so naive, so annoying, and so…bland. I really wanted to like her because she was the one who broke the rules and stuff, but she falls so flat it actually hurts.
Renzo – For a character that is mentioned a lot he gets zero real screen time and may as well have not existed.
Malachi – Have we seen the bad brother is actually the good brother trope before? Yes. Do I care? Not really.
Asa – Boo hiss. Whta even happened to his character arc?
Anika – A cool character that once again got limited screentime and should have had more.
Maris – A really great character who goes throuhg a lot of evolution throughout the book!
Val – Kind and sweet but not fleshed out enough.
Overall rating and comments:
This series had a few problems. Firstly, the concept is great but falls flat in many places. Many of the characters are introduced but have little to no baring on the plot and as such they become confusing and forgettable. Everyone is fighting for page time that many of the side characters are not fleshed out enough when they should be. Especially the love interests. I feel like the second half of the duology was rushed in comparison and that was a shame. I did enjoy it.
The overall irony of having so many women on Mount Ruin is that many of them are disposable to the book. In its essence, Grace and Fury is about women standing up for their right to exist, and in doing so this backfires in several ways. Firstly, while Viridia is clearly an incredibly sexist country, many of the actions by the women escaping are no better. They kill without mercy even though many of the soldiers may not be as evil as you think. I’m not say killing them isn’t understandable, but all empathy has been lost. This isn’t to say that their plight is not identifiable, it is. These women become animalistic and full of rage in a terrifying but not appealing way. I am not moved by their struggle when they do not care for anyone but themselves.
That said, I didn’t feel much threat from the males in the second book compared to the first. The men have very little hold over the women in the second book and any fight scenes feel kind of…forced. Men not fighting because they’re not scared of women. I really find hard to believe. There are so many named female characters who die that they also become quite disposable and forgettable. Their names blur into one and very few characters have their own personalities. Which defeats the purpose of the story, in my opinion. Finally, all of the male characters are essentially relegated to doing nothing for the majority of the book which seemed a shame. These women needed equality, and yet the men are unable to act at all unless they are sitting quietly and supporting the women and nothing more. I hate to say it, but that’s not how equality works and it seemed like a bad way to show a partnership between the sexes. It’s about supporting one another and it seemed a shame to even include these love interests if they served no purpose in any aspects of the female characters’ lives.
LGBT+ elements were great to be included and well done, but I would have preferred to have those characters as the main characters as they were honestly more interesting love stories.
Overall, I did enjoy the book. It’s well written and interesting but not worth a second read. I am hopeful for Banghart’s future writing and am excited to see her ideas. She’s a new writer and nothing is perfect. I always enjoy female protagonists who think for themselves so that was nice.
Score: 3 angry princesses out of five.
If you like this, you might like:
-The Selection by Kiera Cass
-Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
-The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Further reading (read next):