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The Unburied Queen

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As an anonymous royal, Loon once lived peacefully on the Island. But after an enchanted storm dethrones the King and Queen, she becomes a target for roving assassins who want a revolution. Loon flees the palace to resettle in a distant grove near a fig orchard where one of the Island’s most lethal assassins, Kala, lives. Despite the secrets each carries, the pair drift clos As an anonymous royal, Loon once lived peacefully on the Island. But after an enchanted storm dethrones the King and Queen, she becomes a target for roving assassins who want a revolution. Loon flees the palace to resettle in a distant grove near a fig orchard where one of the Island’s most lethal assassins, Kala, lives. Despite the secrets each carries, the pair drift closer as a malevolent Mage attempts to bend the land and people to her will. What begins as a forbidden romance transforms into a crusade to protect the Island’s only chance of survival: its imminent Queen. Bound to the other’s life force, Loon and the sentient Island must find a way forward—even if it means leaving everything and everyone behind.


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As an anonymous royal, Loon once lived peacefully on the Island. But after an enchanted storm dethrones the King and Queen, she becomes a target for roving assassins who want a revolution. Loon flees the palace to resettle in a distant grove near a fig orchard where one of the Island’s most lethal assassins, Kala, lives. Despite the secrets each carries, the pair drift clos As an anonymous royal, Loon once lived peacefully on the Island. But after an enchanted storm dethrones the King and Queen, she becomes a target for roving assassins who want a revolution. Loon flees the palace to resettle in a distant grove near a fig orchard where one of the Island’s most lethal assassins, Kala, lives. Despite the secrets each carries, the pair drift closer as a malevolent Mage attempts to bend the land and people to her will. What begins as a forbidden romance transforms into a crusade to protect the Island’s only chance of survival: its imminent Queen. Bound to the other’s life force, Loon and the sentient Island must find a way forward—even if it means leaving everything and everyone behind.

30 review for The Unburied Queen

  1. 5 out of 5

    Moony (The Burglar Baggins) MeowPoff

    The book started out somewhat interesting, but I fell off the wagon fast. Around 12% I was somewhat bored. The characters weren`t holding my interest as much as I would like, neither did the story…I ended up skimming the last parts. I got this eARC from Netgalley. The book started out somewhat interesting, but I fell off the wagon fast. Around 12% I was somewhat bored. The characters weren`t holding my interest as much as I would like, neither did the story…I ended up skimming the last parts. I got this eARC from Netgalley.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    The Unburried Queen is very unique, and I mean that in a very good way. It took me a bit to get into, but once I did, it wouldn’t leave my mind. I didn’t have time to binge read it like I would have wanted to and whenever I set it down to go do something else, I constantly wanted to dive back in and find out what was happening with Lune, Kala, Peter, Nomar, Slugs(and yes her name is slugs, I loved her and I think you will as well), and all the other amazing characters. I couldn’t stop speculatin The Unburried Queen is very unique, and I mean that in a very good way. It took me a bit to get into, but once I did, it wouldn’t leave my mind. I didn’t have time to binge read it like I would have wanted to and whenever I set it down to go do something else, I constantly wanted to dive back in and find out what was happening with Lune, Kala, Peter, Nomar, Slugs(and yes her name is slugs, I loved her and I think you will as well), and all the other amazing characters. I couldn’t stop speculating about the plot and what was going to happen next. The whole book, you were like where is this going, how is this going to end, and then once you read the ending, it was a big wow factor. It ended in a way you wouldn’t expect, but you’d expect at the same time. I know that probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but if you read this book you will understand. And I hope, that makes you want to read this book and understand what I’m talking about because I loved this novel and enjoyed reading it. I’m not normally a fan of time jumps, but in this book I really liked it. They were written well and you could tell it was necessary for the story. In a lot of fantasy books, it takes place in weeks or months, but The Unburried Queen took place over many years and it felt a lot more realistic. Honestly, the whole book felt a lot more realistic than the average fantasy book They has fantasy problems and lived in a fantasy world with fantasy creatures, but it felt realistic. Their thoughts, feelings, how they reacted to problems, and just overall how they acted, interacted, and spoke with one another felt so much like the real world. It was refreshing to see in a fantasy novel because a lot of times it can be hard to connect to the characters, but theses were so easy to because they didn’t act like the typical fantasy character. There was mentions of body hair, disability rep, and love that wasn’t the average fairytale love, but love that would be more likely to happen in our world. The imagery and world building were astounding. It felt as if you were actually there, that you could smell everything, see everything in vivid colors, and touch and feel what the characters were. I thinks fans of the Night Circus will like this book because of how it is written, but I also think that this is a book for all lovers of any fantasy. There is an adorable, yet sometimes, annoying bat, a magical island, fickle, but fun creatures. There is an amazingly well written antagonist that you will want to hate. You also get to see multiple sides of the story and why a person did what they did. This is yet another example of something realistic. Im our world, not everything is usually cut and dry and in some cases there are more than one side to the story. Not in all cases, as you can see in the Unburried Queen, but in some. I for sure recommend this book! Go preorder, if you’re seeing this before it’s published, and go buy if you’re seeing after publication! Thank you to NetGallery for sending me an earc for an honest review!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Story

    Please be warned this review includes spoilers. I love the overall concept of this book. The world is rich and unique. The idea of the sentient island is intriguing. However, I feel like this book needs a major rewrite to be workable. It also needs more thorough proofreading. Problems start in the first chapter, which begins as an info dump. It is possible to give the reader quantities of information early on and make it interesting, but this is usually an exception to the rule. Generally, it wo Please be warned this review includes spoilers. I love the overall concept of this book. The world is rich and unique. The idea of the sentient island is intriguing. However, I feel like this book needs a major rewrite to be workable. It also needs more thorough proofreading. Problems start in the first chapter, which begins as an info dump. It is possible to give the reader quantities of information early on and make it interesting, but this is usually an exception to the rule. Generally, it works better to have the story move forward through action and have information be given as the plot moves, but here we have a conversation where the characters just sit and talk as an excuse to feed information to the reader. One possibility might have been to begin with Loon bathing in the pond and the image of her mother, as the Heart. It’s intriguing, it draws the reader in and makes you want to know more and we start with a stunning visual image. I also felt it was very difficult to relate to Loon as a character. My first impression of her was that she was immature, complaining to her father about why people couldn’t know that she was royalty. And it wasn’t clear why she wanted people to know. It seemed like this was just supposed to be foreshadowing for later events in the book when people wanted to assassinate her and there was a very obvious reason people shouldn’t know. But why the royals had been hidden in the past, when there didn’t seem to be any controversy around them was not clear. I wanted to like Loon, but I didn’t feel like I could get past the surface with her. I feel like having her written in the first person might have helped with this. I also felt like her name really didn’t suit her. She didn’t have any qualities that I associate with Loons, so I wondered about the choice of name. She and all of her siblings are named after birds but I think birds are mentioned once in the whole book. Loon doesn’t seem to have any affinity for birds. What was the purpose of the bird names? Loons live near freshwater lakes but no freshwater lakes are ever mentioned on the Island. Loon seems to have more of an affinity for plants and flowers. She’s drawing flowers to her all the time, but she has no relationship to birds at all. Consider a name change? Another option would be for Loon to have bird allies, but that would involve adding a great deal to the book. There would need to be an ecosystem where loons could live. (Is Cloudspy cool enough?) And a freshwater lake... I also found Loon to be a passive character in many ways. She never makes any attempt to save the lives of her siblings. It seems that Dremza knows who they are (or at least some of them.) If the assassins can find out who the Royals are, then Loon should have been able to. Why didn’t she try to find them so collectively they could have tried to protect each other? Why is no better protection being offered to the Royals? Loon’s goal in life seems to be to find a guy and reproduce so that she can go into a living death state and support the Island and there will be an heir to continue her line to keep up this vital purpose. This is a terrible motivation for a main character, especially a female character. It would have made more sense to attempt to save her siblings so the Island would have had more options. Because that heir is going to have to survive and have children of its own too. The logic of her choice feels flawed. Why didn’t she even try to save her siblings? It’s not discussed in the book. With cleverness and determination, she might have found her siblings and it would have been exciting to see them meet. I felt cheated that they were all dead before we, the readers, had a chance to meet them. Loon often needs rescuing and is unable to rescue herself. When she knew that her life was in mortal danger after the Queen was unburied why didn’t she attempt any training in martial skills or survival skills? She comes across as a damsel in distress far too often. I would like to see her rewritten as an active heroine who can take care of herself and make stronger decisions to protect herself and those she loves. It might have been more interesting if Kala and Loon had both been trying to save her siblings from the assassins and that was how they met, instead of the way they meet in the current version with Loon mostly naked in the orchard. She could have been stalking him trying to protect her siblings and instead discovers that he’s trying to save them. Instead, she’s often terrified and in need of saving. She doesn’t do much for herself other than consult magical people and creatures. That and try really hard to make heirs… I would like to see Loon become a more active character. That doesn’t mean she needs to lose her warmth and her sensuality, but she needs some strength and initiative. As the main character in a tale where she is supposed to be the hero, I really felt like Loon needed some kind of arc. She doesn’t have one. She really doesn’t change much or grow throughout the course of the novel. If she starts off immature, at least let her grow and have some kind of hero or heroine’s journey. The physical description of Loon comes far too late in the book. I can’t tell if she is a brownish white person or if she is meant to be coded as non-white. With her connection to the island, I feel like she might be coded as Indigenous, but it’s a little hard to tell. I can’t tell where the people on the Island come from. Are they all born there? Are they all Indigenous? Did some of them come from somewhere else? It’s unclear if all the Royals have a special connection to the Island or only the Royal who is taken into the Pond. Race seems very unclear, so I’m a little unclear about how race is represented in the novel. I can’t tell if there are multiple races on the island or not. Also, people can have textured hair that isn’t tangled. As someone with curly hair, this bothered me. Loon, learn to take care of your hair! It will end up a complete disaster if you don’t (tangles, mats, breakage…) Nomor and Loon’s bond is also not very well-established in the beginning. I found it difficult to understand what made them such close friends for a long time. I would have liked to have seen a bonding moment with them at the beginning of the book. I found Nomor somewhat more interesting and appealing as a character than Loon, but she was also difficult to become attached to. Again, I wonder if this book might have benefitted from first-person narration. I found myself comparing scenes between Nomor and Loon to scenes between Gale and Katniss and Katniss and Prim at the beginning of the Hunger Games and how much stronger those bonds felt. That novel is a good example of establishing bonds between characters and giving the reader enough information about the world without feeling like an info dump (the plot keeps moving but the information is being delivered at the same time). Nomor felt like a flat background character for much of the beginning of the novel. I would have liked to see her established more quickly. Furthermore, this book is billed as an adult fantasy, but it’s YA level. The themes are YA--mainly coming of age, concerns about first dates, potential marriage, etc. I’m not sure what would make this an adult fantasy other than a couple of f-bombs. The prose level is also YA. Characters who are supposed to be in their 30s still read like they are in their 20s to me. There is some nudity and lust but there are no explicit sex scenes (something else that would lead to an adult rating). Even though characters age into adulthood, the writing level and the immature behavior of many of the characters make this book read like YA. The dead parents trope is a YA marker as well. Both Kala and Loon are coming of age, no matter how old they are. Their behavior reads younger than their years for almost the entire novel. Only the last part of the book, which is basically an epilogue, has the main characters acting maturely. Slugs was the only character with a significant role that I felt acted with maturity on a consistent basis. After the first chapter, which is rather short, the book moves to three male characters who I mostly disliked. They are referred to as “men” but they behave so immaturely it was difficult to think of them as anything other than boys. I disliked the two we spent the most time with during this chapter, although they grew on me somewhat later on. After this chapter, I began to find the book more interesting. I felt like the five-year time skip was problematic. I feel like it disrupted the flow of the narrative. It takes place right after Nomor’s scene with the dragon wad disappointing. She says they are “fucked” but doesn’t explain why and then we skip five years. We never learn what the dragon communicated to her. I felt cheated by that scene. The magic system is not well-explained, at times The magicians eventually lose their minds from reading the Manuscripts, but it’s not clear what the Manuscripts are or why they prematurely age the magicians or cause them to lose their sanity. Where did the Manuscripts come from? How long have they been in existence? Why is the Genie blue? It’s too much like the Genie from Disney’s take on Aladdin. And why make him a chauvinist? That seemed pointless. It wasn’t funny, A character can be funny without being crude to women. Consider looking at other types of trickster characters who are more subtle and clever. (Currently, TV’s Loki is a good example of this.) Slugs was a really interesting character. Quite possibly the best in the book. I enjoyed her immensely. I’m not sure if the reveal about the slugs not giving her magic comes too late. For a long time, I was really confused as they didn’t seem to fit with the other magical gifts that came with the Storm, which were clearly useful to the bearer in some way, even if slightly annoying. I couldn’t figure out what magic the slugs bestowed. Then finally the reveal… The reveal about King Godwit was not a surprise to me and I’m not a person who usually figures out the mystery in a book. I usually don’t try because I like to be surprised. I waited far too long for the main characters to figure it out and I was frustrated by their slowness. I don’t know if they need to figure it out sooner or if the reader should be let in on the secret for the sake of dramatic irony. But it made me feel like the main characters really weren’t very smart. It really bothered me that Loon never figured it out. To me, this said that she lacked intelligence and sensitivity. She never understood how much she was hurting Kala and her children. I appreciated the inclusion of a disabled character in the book and that there was a deaf community, also that other characters were willing to learn sign to include Nomor and embarrassed when they did not know sign to communicate with her. She’s one of the best characters in the book. Also, there was some ableist language in at least one other instance the (use of the word “crazy). I’m not really a fan of the casual swearing in this book. I don’t mind swearing in literature when it’s well done and it can definitely add a punch to the dialogue, but it feels clumsy here. There are some grammatical errors and the prose could flow more smoothly overall. There are missing words or words that appear in places they shouldn’t be. In many places sentences could be better-structured or words could be chosen with greater care. Too many adjectives in places. “marigold light” is used far too much, for example. (If you want to use metaphors or similes for dawn and twilight, try looking at Lord of the Rings. Tolkien manages to do this very effectively, but it’s difficult to do and you are better off not using any metaphors for these than using ones that don’t work.) In other areas, there are beautiful passages of prose that are a joy to read, however. The quality of the prose is mixed and needs to be evened out. The dialogue needs strengthening. This book needs a good proofreader. Peter’s bisexuality is introduced too late in the story when he clearly knew he was bi much earlier and so did Kala (he had a love affair with their neighbor’s son and Kala knew about it). This creates a love triangle that is important for the plot, so it’s not fair to the reader to hide that Peter is bi for so long. I question the term “unburied”. The queen is immersed in water. She’s not buried. I can see how “un-immersed” would be an awkward term, but it is a bit odd to call her buried when she’s in water and fully visible. The Island seems small. People walk from one area to another. But people hardly ever go to the sea. No one spends any time at the beach. No one seems to eat fish. This seems really strange for people who live on an apparently small island. I would expect people who live on an island to be intimately tied to the sea, to thrive off of an ocean-based economy. The names of the people are strange overall. Why are there so many Biblical names? I’ve read books like Naomi Novik’s where it makes sense that characters have names that are tied to Judaism, but the mix of fictional names, bird names, and Biblical names doesn’t make sense here and feels very incongruous. If the Island is so important to these people, I would expect them to have names related to the Island. The frequent use of the word “butt” really got on my nerves. It’s such an awkward word and there are many better constructions where you can say the same thing without having to use it (unless it’s a sex scene and it wasn’t used in any sex scenes, but even then you might find a word that sounds better). You can hoist people by their thighs, a character can “fall backward” and we will get the picture. The language moves jarringly between eloquent and awkward constructions. I would also suggest revisiting the outline because at times the story stalls. The action just stops and the story meanders. I enjoy a slow-burning read. I like the idyllic scenes in the lemon grove. But the pacing just feels off at times. The action of the plot doesn’t rise in stages the way it should. I think the author needs to look at story structures and find one that fits the story she wants to tell and follow it. I’m extremely bothered by the female-sacrifice theme of the novel, at least that’s how I saw it for most of the book until it was finally revealed to be otherwise. There is also no mention of a King being allowed to remarry. It seems he gets to have lovers but he can’t take a new wife. Why couldn’t the bats seed the island so everyone could be “Royal” and then the Island could collect what it needs in small amounts from everyone so one person doesn’t have to sacrifice themselves? Then everyone would feel more connected to the Island and no one would have to live in misery like the Royal family. I feel like in terms of the theme of humans being connected to their environment this would make more sense. Also, the bloodfruitbat legend suggests a time where the Island and its people were able to get along just fine without a Heart, so why does the Island really need one? Maybe it’s a human sacrifice theme and not a female sacrifice theme, but it would be a better novel if all the humans on the Island were giving up something of themselves to support it, rather than just one person and one family making a massive sacrifice. It comes across as a really bizarre environmental metaphor. I really liked this passage, “She believed it to be the threshold that led to Beneath the Island, where her tender dreams, trampled by reality, had taken refuge long ago.” I felt depressed by the ending of the book. I would have put it down long before I finished it if I hadn’t promised to review it in exchange for a free copy. I feel like this book has a great deal of promise and many strengths, but it needs to be reworked in order to be publishable. The novel’s greatest strength is in the world-building. The Island is a vibrant, well-developed world. Slugs is a unique and well-developed character. The plot and the other characters need work, especially Loon. Loon is the novel’s greatest flaw because she is not an active protagonist. Aspects of the writing need attending to. I’ve focused on problems here because that’s what I’d do if I was editing and I wouldn’t have taken the time to provide feedback if I didn’t think the book had promise. There are many intriguing threads here, but they aren’t quite coming together. (If this was a paid edit it would be more organized…) I think this novel could turn into something really great, but it needs major revision to be publishable (and proofreading is included in that). Extensive revision and polishing would make this a much stronger novel.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Katie Bell

    Firstly, thank you to NetGalley and Capes for sending me an eARC of this phenomenal book. I was excited from the get-go because that cover is stunning and the synopsis seemed so intriguing. Hi, here to let you know...it was that and more. Just going to list off the things I loved, in no particular order: the premise, the stakes, Slugs, KALA, the writing, Peter's deep introspective drunkenness, Loon's forever unkempt hair, Nomor and Loon's friendship, deaf representation, how this book left me fee Firstly, thank you to NetGalley and Capes for sending me an eARC of this phenomenal book. I was excited from the get-go because that cover is stunning and the synopsis seemed so intriguing. Hi, here to let you know...it was that and more. Just going to list off the things I loved, in no particular order: the premise, the stakes, Slugs, KALA, the writing, Peter's deep introspective drunkenness, Loon's forever unkempt hair, Nomor and Loon's friendship, deaf representation, how this book left me feeling briefly hollowed out but then filled me with such cute and bittersweet hope, Nomor's braid, the dragon, the genie? weirdly?, the concept of magic fueling an island and how that happens, the concept of loving and listening to the land, pollen on Kala's face, slime on Tetra's, Tetra, KALAAAAAAAAAA, Kala doing things and thinking things and stepping up for people and just Kala breathing. This book comes out October 23, 2021 and I HIGHLY recommend it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rachael | ☾ whimsicalfiction ☾

    I went into this one with low expectations and was completely blown away. The Unburied Queen centers around Loon, a hidden royal who’s in the running with the rest of her siblings to become the next Heart of the island. The Heart is responsible for maintaining the magic and the balance of the island, submerged in the middle of a pond. The premise of the book is incredibly unique, the pace is pretty well grounded, and the world building is fantastic! There were some aspects I would have liked to I went into this one with low expectations and was completely blown away. The Unburied Queen centers around Loon, a hidden royal who’s in the running with the rest of her siblings to become the next Heart of the island. The Heart is responsible for maintaining the magic and the balance of the island, submerged in the middle of a pond. The premise of the book is incredibly unique, the pace is pretty well grounded, and the world building is fantastic! There were some aspects I would have liked to see explained or expanded upon (like why it was necessary for the royals to remain hidden) but overall the writing style, plot and characters all pulled me in and captivated me! The deaf representation also made my heart very happy!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mary Jane

    Thank you to Netgalley and Capes for giving me an eARC of this novel! This review will contain spoilers. Considering the length of this book I completed it very quickly once I picked it up- which I think says a lot about how I feel towards it! This book was very unique, and I’m leaning towards that being a good thing. It felt a lot more high fantasy than what I’m used to reading, but didn’t find it had the complicated world building (snore) that a lot of other high fantasy books have and instead Thank you to Netgalley and Capes for giving me an eARC of this novel! This review will contain spoilers. Considering the length of this book I completed it very quickly once I picked it up- which I think says a lot about how I feel towards it! This book was very unique, and I’m leaning towards that being a good thing. It felt a lot more high fantasy than what I’m used to reading, but didn’t find it had the complicated world building (snore) that a lot of other high fantasy books have and instead felt more character driven. I also felt like the character interactions were real- I mean the amount of swearing in this book had me chuckling to myself because it’s exactly how me and my closest friends interact. I especially loved Loon and her best friend and how their relationship was represented (almost like the idea of having multiple soul mates- not all of them necessarily being romantic). I didn’t give a full five stars because towards the end I didn’t quite get the emotion I wanted to get and expected after these characters going through a multi year journey together. I didn’t get that sadness from Peter dying, nor the sadness from Loon becoming Heart. I just didn’t get that gut wrenching emotion I would have expected from Kala losing two of the people closest to him. Overall I enjoyed this book, and definitely recommend it to anyone looking for an ultimate otherworldly experience!

  7. 4 out of 5

    keira

    Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. The idea behind this book is interesting and promises an exciting and unique storyline; unfortunately, the execution is where it falls short. First of all, the world that the author creates is extremely beautiful. The descriptive writing surrounding the world building allows you to get sucked into the pages, and it really felt at times like I could smell, see, hear and taste everything that was being described. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. The idea behind this book is interesting and promises an exciting and unique storyline; unfortunately, the execution is where it falls short. First of all, the world that the author creates is extremely beautiful. The descriptive writing surrounding the world building allows you to get sucked into the pages, and it really felt at times like I could smell, see, hear and taste everything that was being described. The disability rep is something that should be commended; it was written very well and was refreshing to see in a fantasy book. As a whole, the magic system was interesting and quite unique, but was let down by a few factors. The characters felt flat and unmemorable, the info dump in the first chapter is unforgiving and doesn’t serve the story well, and the pages dragged quite a bit. In general, I’m not a massive fan of time jumps in books, and each chapter of this has a jump in some way or another. If it’s not a jump, then it’s an unnecessary clarification of what time of day it is, which I found distracting. Overall, an incredibly promising story, but needs a little more refining.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Caitlyn (delightful.reading)

    The Unburied Queen is a tale of struggle, survival, and the Island. This new adult (almost) high fantasy novel, presents an unique fantasy world and an intriguing plot. There's a lot of good things about this novel. There's a main character who communicates through sign language, and a cast of interesting characters. There's the main character, Loon, who is an anonymous royal. Nomor, Loon's best friend is a force to be reckoned with (& the aforementioned character who uses sign language). Kala i The Unburied Queen is a tale of struggle, survival, and the Island. This new adult (almost) high fantasy novel, presents an unique fantasy world and an intriguing plot. There's a lot of good things about this novel. There's a main character who communicates through sign language, and a cast of interesting characters. There's the main character, Loon, who is an anonymous royal. Nomor, Loon's best friend is a force to be reckoned with (& the aforementioned character who uses sign language). Kala is an orchardist turned assassin. Peter is Kala's best friend and town charmer. Tetra is a mage's apprentice and Kala's older brother. Slugs is an Oracle & Mage, who recently gained slugs as hair. This cast was a really unique combination, and I wish the focus was more evenly distributed amongst them. All in all, this was a decent read, but it just didn't work for me. Many thanks to NetGalley, Capes, & Capas LLC for an eARC of The Unburied Queen! I really appreciate the opportunity to read this!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lydia

    Nature gives life and takes life. But what if nature was sentient? What if the earth was alive? This very unique world and fantastical story felt eerily real. It is set on a magical, sentient island that gives life to an entire ecosystem and civilization, but also depends on sacrifices of people from each generation to survive. Despite being steeped in fantastical magic, the island and characters are complex, imperfect, and heartbreaking real. The deep and long-lasting friendship between Loon an Nature gives life and takes life. But what if nature was sentient? What if the earth was alive? This very unique world and fantastical story felt eerily real. It is set on a magical, sentient island that gives life to an entire ecosystem and civilization, but also depends on sacrifices of people from each generation to survive. Despite being steeped in fantastical magic, the island and characters are complex, imperfect, and heartbreaking real. The deep and long-lasting friendship between Loon and Normer captured my heart from the beginning. Normer is a rare example of a strong deaf woman given serious character development and her own plot lines. I fell in love with each character, right down to Peter’s drunken wisdom. The mysteries of rebellion plots, magical anomalies, and the nature of the island kept me guessing and reading till the end. There were rotating perspectives, parallel plots, and time jumps that surprisingly suited the story well. The characters, plots, and world had enough dark edges to feel real. The author doesn’t shy away from the messy parts of life and death, moral grey areas, or characters that make mistakes. The ending and resolutions to the mysteries were satisfying and rung true. Things weren’t wrapped up excessively neatly enough to feel artificial. While this story was clearly very well written and compelling, it was too dark and had a little too much graphic violence for my personal taste. (I’m somewhat squeamish.) That’s the only thing that kept me from falling completely in love with it. Instead I’m just 80% in love with it. I’d recommend it for anyone a bit less squeamish than me. Thanks to NetGalley and Capes LLC for a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Unfortunately I had to DNF this one. I tried really hard and for a really long time to read through this one but it just wasn’t for me. I felt like it was a bit of an info dump. A lot of tell, and not a ton of show. Loon, to me, seems very….passive (as another reviewer put it!). She doesn’t seem to be a very active character in her own story. I found the idea of the world/the idea of the plot to be really fascinating but it was the execution of it all that did not vibe with me. Also, fair warning Unfortunately I had to DNF this one. I tried really hard and for a really long time to read through this one but it just wasn’t for me. I felt like it was a bit of an info dump. A lot of tell, and not a ton of show. Loon, to me, seems very….passive (as another reviewer put it!). She doesn’t seem to be a very active character in her own story. I found the idea of the world/the idea of the plot to be really fascinating but it was the execution of it all that did not vibe with me. Also, fair warning, this is a particularly long book, so keep that in mind if you want to read it!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kaeli

    I like the story idea, I wasn't a huge fan of how it was done. The map feels very child-oriented and practically unneeded as it doesn't really show much. The writing style switches between basic and trying too hard to show off use of a wide vocabulary. I like the story idea, I wasn't a huge fan of how it was done. The map feels very child-oriented and practically unneeded as it doesn't really show much. The writing style switches between basic and trying too hard to show off use of a wide vocabulary.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kaushani

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Disclaimer: This review contains some spoilers. First of all a big thank you to NetGalley and the author, Capes, for this ARC copy. What attracted me to this book was its cover, and the story did not disappoint me either. The story is set on an island, called the Island, which runs on the magic present in the blood of the Royal family. When the time is right, in every generation, the Island chooses one of the Royal children to become its Heart. However, calamity strikes the Island when the current Disclaimer: This review contains some spoilers. First of all a big thank you to NetGalley and the author, Capes, for this ARC copy. What attracted me to this book was its cover, and the story did not disappoint me either. The story is set on an island, called the Island, which runs on the magic present in the blood of the Royal family. When the time is right, in every generation, the Island chooses one of the Royal children to become its Heart. However, calamity strikes the Island when the current Heart becomes Unburied, and the Island loses its source of power. A conspiracy blooms on the Island, the Royal children get murdered, and Loon escapes with her childhood friend Nomor to find safety. The story is beautifully penned. There are subtle hints at how Nature is all-powerful and how we humans are only deluding ourselves into thinking that we can be her master. At the beginning, I was a bit disappointed by the size of the island, but then I rationalized that it is a small and secluded island, where magic can bloom. The world building erased my disappointment, though. The author does a superb job here. The characters are equally well designed, but I would have really liked it if they grew with the story. I liked the characters of Kala and Nomor, especially. The character of the mage Slugs was an absolute beauty. Loon herself comes off as a weakling, but I later realized that that was indeed her strength. It was her nurturing nature that made her suitable to be a Heart. I did wish, though, that her weakness was explained better in the book. I liked many of the side characters as well. It was a pleasure to find enough representation of lgbtq+ as well as physically handicapped communities throughout the story. However, it seemed that the only purpose of the Royals was to find a spouse and procreate, and they didn't even get the pleasure to raise their own children, because the children were raised in anonymity. That was a turn off for me. I would have liked it better if they were trained to rule in a just fashion, and their duty to become a Heart took a backseat. I realize that was an important aspect of being a Royal, but that cannot be the sole purpose of one's existence! The story kept me riveted throughout. As the story progressed, it went on explaining many of the mysteries, and introduced new ones, which kept the intrigue of the story intact. It introduced new ideas and side stories. I really liked how Nomor questioned the theological beliefs of the Island's community, and would have liked if this was examined further. The ending was another turn-off for me. No, Loon becoming the Heart and relinquishing her family and friends did not make much sense. I wished there would be a twist at the end that would have given the story the deeper meaning it deserved. However, apart from that and the other minor details that irked me, I absolutely loved the story. The author's penmanship is fluent, subtle and I find some of his ideas and descriptions pretty poetic. I wish the book went through a tougher editorial process though. That would have trimmed the rougher edges and made it into a great book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    Capes writes a visually stunning world with interesting characters, though I didn’t completely love Loon’s character, she was hard to relate to and I wish she had done more for herself and siblings. I like that there was inclusion of a disability that didn’t seemed forced. There seemed to be a lot of information that took a lot to remember. I didn’t love this book it could of been a lot better but it was interesting.

  14. 5 out of 5

    jacky

    Thanks to Netgalley and Capes for offering me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. The Unburied Queen is a NA fantasy about a magical, sentient island sustained by the lives of royals. 20-year-old Loon is one of the islands princesses. After a storm takes away everything she has known, both magical and mundane threats lurk around every corner. I really liked the overall premise of this - a magical, sentient island that consumes its royals' life force. There was some great fantastical and ho Thanks to Netgalley and Capes for offering me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. The Unburied Queen is a NA fantasy about a magical, sentient island sustained by the lives of royals. 20-year-old Loon is one of the islands princesses. After a storm takes away everything she has known, both magical and mundane threats lurk around every corner. I really liked the overall premise of this - a magical, sentient island that consumes its royals' life force. There was some great fantastical and horror-esque potential here. However, I had a few issues with the execution. One of those starts right at the beginning - the first chapter. The first chapter starts with two characters just sitting and having a long conversation. While I understand this is to rely information about the world to the reader, it does nothing to suck the reader into the story. In the second chapter, there are new characters introduced that also just wait and talk. It would have been more exciting to start out with some action - perhaps Loon going into the Pond instead of just having a long-wided conversation about it first. Another issue was the plot in general for me. The current Heart of the Island, Queen Petrel, is unburied, which is to say she isn't sustaining the island with magic anymore. After that, it is unclear which of the royals will become the next Heart. Then there is a plot of a magician to usurp and kill all the Royals in which the commoners are also involved. This made absolutely no sense to me since you would think they want the island to actually flourish which it only does if a royal becomes the Heart. Then, all the royals are killed until only Loon remains. Why would Loon not want to save her siblings? If not for an emotional connection, then to make sure she's not the only option for the sacrifice. It would have been very interesting to see Loon find her siblings and a more organic way to introduce her to Kala. Loon's character was another negative for me. Her entire arc was about finding a man and procreating. Nowadays, that is a highly problematic arc for a female protagonist. She had no actual objectives beyond that and at some point, becoming Heart. I'm unclear why she waited so long to do it, since the Island was slowly deteriorating. Her sensuality was a fine character trait but she needed some sort of agency. Her actions seemed very immature for someone in their twenties, she behaved more like a lovestruck teenager in my opinion. The only characters I liked were Nomor and Peter and I thought the disability and bisexual representation was well done. Another thing that was lacking for me was the worldbuilding. There were a few things that weren't explained. For example, we are told that wizards are corrupted by reading Manuscripts, yet we are never told what the Manuscripts actually are or why they corrupt their reader. Then there was a bit of a cultural mess - we had a Middle Eastern genie and a European dragon, the names ranged from biblical to made up to bird names. Some consistency would have been nice here. We also had time jumps every few chapters which was in some cases unnecessary and in others confusing. While this book is billed as NA, the prose level is YA. The sentence structure was repeated a lot and some passages were worded awkwardly, e.g. the author using phrases like "falling on my butt" quite frequently. All in all, the overall concept was great but the execution was sadly lacking. To be publishable, the book needs to undergo a lot of editing. I ended up giving it 2/5 stars.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Natália Silva

    I would like to start this review by thanking Netgalley and the author of this book, Capes, for this eARC (my very first ARC, yay!) The Unburied Queen is a unique story, I’ve never read anything remotely similar to this; Capes, the author deserves points for originality but, originality is not everything that a book needs to have in order to succeed. Let’s break down the (in my opinion) pros and cons of this book: PROS The world of The Unburied Queen and the world building: Capes created a wor I would like to start this review by thanking Netgalley and the author of this book, Capes, for this eARC (my very first ARC, yay!) The Unburied Queen is a unique story, I’ve never read anything remotely similar to this; Capes, the author deserves points for originality but, originality is not everything that a book needs to have in order to succeed. Let’s break down the (in my opinion) pros and cons of this book: PROS The world of The Unburied Queen and the world building: Capes created a world that feels like it’s a character in it’s own right and, if I’m being honest, the world of The Unburied Queen is a better main character than Loon, the actual main character of the book. Also, the idea that in order to survive and thrive, the Land needs to syphon the life force/energy/magic of off it’s ruler is quite nice and not overly done. Disability within the story: I quite liked they way the author wrote a character’s disability, her deafness was apart of who she was and not who she was. CONS Info dump: There’s a major into dump right on the first chapter, which, in my opinion, is a recipe for disaster. I get that some things need to be said in order to grasp the reader’s attention right from the beginning, but that was a bit too much. Length: When I saw the page count I did a double take, this book is waaay too long. It’s one thousand a hundred and fourteen pages long, yeah, that’s right, 1114. At times the reading drags and, every few chapters I had to take some time to breath. Sometimes you need time to develop a story, but in this book we have instances that we get more of the same and it gets old pretty quickly. Characters: They are boring. Pure and simple. I felt pretty lukewarm about all of them. It’s not that they give off a similar ~vibe~ , they are actually quite diverse but, because I felt very meh about all of them, they eventually became a big indiscernible lump. They are alright I guess, but they are not memorable. Overall, I will give this book 3 stars. Although The Unburied Queen didn’t work for me I can see where the author wanted to go with their story, the premise was intriguing but the delivery was lacking.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lex

    Some positive things I really liked about this book were the disability rep for deafness, the world-building, and the magic system! If you enjoy books with those sorts of things, you may like this book BUT it has ALOT going on. It's hard to follow and so much information. The characters are okay. I didn't really care about most of them except for Slugs. Slugs is one of the characters I liked from the book and Kala might be the one I like second best. Loon, however, is the protagonist and I did n Some positive things I really liked about this book were the disability rep for deafness, the world-building, and the magic system! If you enjoy books with those sorts of things, you may like this book BUT it has ALOT going on. It's hard to follow and so much information. The characters are okay. I didn't really care about most of them except for Slugs. Slugs is one of the characters I liked from the book and Kala might be the one I like second best. Loon, however, is the protagonist and I did not like her character at all. As you can imagine, it also made it hard for me to enjoy this book more. For starters, she comes off as very immature and underdeveloped. She. doesn't. really. do. anything. I definitely would not call her the heroine of the story whatsoever and by the end of it, I didn't feel she'd shown any growth as a character which would have been amazing to see. I also couldn't really figure out what the race of Loon was exactly. I think the culture and heritage of Loon could have been represented much better. Rep the culture - even in books! If it's made up or a fantasy race, you can still represent it in my opinion. Maybe the intent was not to dance around heritage or culture, but that's how it came across to me. Loon didn't even really seem to have an appreciation or love for her curly hair. Also while this is an arc, 'm hoping that perhaps some more revisions and edits take place before publishing! The writing is very hard to follow at times for several reasons like with a few time jumps that happen suddenly, but some revisions would surely help with that. It would also help to shorten this book. It's incredibly long and it dragged on at times. I had to start to skim reading through some of it to get to the meat and potatoes. Furthermore, if you like happy endings, this is not going to be the book for you. I don't always need a happy ending, but this one just didn't work for me. I think overall the story has so much promise and could really be that 5 stars read provided some of those revisions take place. Thank you to NetGallery for sending me an e-arc for my honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Connor

    I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley based on a description that piqued my interest. Partway through the book, I was so involved in the plot and characters, I started to panic that it might end on a cliffhanger, but it didn’t. This is a complete story, and what a story it is! I don’t even know what to compare it to (although there were certain aspects that made me think of Cloud Atlas—the book, not the movie). The characters in this book are basically human, with some supernatural quali I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley based on a description that piqued my interest. Partway through the book, I was so involved in the plot and characters, I started to panic that it might end on a cliffhanger, but it didn’t. This is a complete story, and what a story it is! I don’t even know what to compare it to (although there were certain aspects that made me think of Cloud Atlas—the book, not the movie). The characters in this book are basically human, with some supernatural qualities, primarily related to their connection with the Earth, which, in this case, is the Island. The Island is a world all its own, essentially its own universe, complete with supernatural monsters and a deep connection to the land and their ancestors. The Queen descends from a long line of royals in which one royal from each generation is called to the Pond to sacrifice themselves and become one with the Island. From here, they feed the Island, and consequently all of the inhabitants of the Island. When the Queen is unexpectedly “unburied” or pulled from the Pond, it is something that has never before happened and the mages have all kinds of hypotheses as to why it occurred. They are not in agreement, and one, in particular, decides to lead a revolution to eliminate all remaining royals, making them into scapegoats. Everything is thrown into disarray and the Island comes close to complete devastation as easily fooled people hunt down the remaining royals to kill them all. Meanwhile, Loon is the last royal and needs to avoid capture while waiting for the Pond to call her. The places in this story are so well described, I could clearly envision them. The characters were so relatable that I was sad when some died and anxious for the success of others. The plot kept me guessing until the very end, and although it wasn’t a completely happy ending, it was a hopeful one. This book is a masterpiece of fantasy fiction and one I highly recommend. I am excited to read more from this author. I even signed up for her mailing list.

  18. 4 out of 5

    CalicoCat

    Thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, feel free to disagree. What a strange sort of book. Imagine the whole world contained in an island. That island is maintained by a carefully balanced system of magic, all of it coming from the Heart and being distributed across the island through water, blood and the three main Mages and their Apprentices. First I would like to say that I was a bit misled by the title: the act Thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, feel free to disagree. What a strange sort of book. Imagine the whole world contained in an island. That island is maintained by a carefully balanced system of magic, all of it coming from the Heart and being distributed across the island through water, blood and the three main Mages and their Apprentices. First I would like to say that I was a bit misled by the title: the actual unburied queen is not in fact an active character in this story but rather a catalyst for it. The people in this tale would have led very different lives without the queen being unburied. The world building is lush, gorgeous, rich and beautiful. There is a lot of emphasis on smells as part of the description of people and places, making this quite a smelly book, in a very good way. Where the book falls a bit flat in my opinion is the characters. I found it difficult to care for them, even to make a mental image of some of them. Some of their reactions appear to come totally out of the blue. It's not an "ooooh I didn't see this coming" kind of thing, more of a "why the heck is he/she doing this when he/she just said he/she'd never" sort of reaction. The time jumps between chapters is annoying and does not help consistency. The book is not overly long, but it took me longer than usual to finish it. Maybe because I found the story a bit unsettling and didn't quite know how to feel about it. You could take it as a story of people that are unwilling to rebel against a fate that will cost them everything. But you could also take it as a tale about people willing to sacrifice for duty and for the good of others. It was a strange read, and for that it was a memorable one.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Saskia

    I just want to say a big thank you to Netgalley and Capes for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. Capes weaved an intricate world with a brilliant magic system. I loved the flow of the writing but I would really like to know how she decided to name her characters and places. Particularly the name of the Cities. The flow of the writing was interrupted sometimes when every chapter, it tells you how time has passed. "That afternoon","two weeks later." I feel that that's something that was sho I just want to say a big thank you to Netgalley and Capes for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. Capes weaved an intricate world with a brilliant magic system. I loved the flow of the writing but I would really like to know how she decided to name her characters and places. Particularly the name of the Cities. The flow of the writing was interrupted sometimes when every chapter, it tells you how time has passed. "That afternoon","two weeks later." I feel that that's something that was shown and told in the writing itself and didn't need to be announced at the beginning of every chapter. The only character I really ended up liking was Kala. I found Loon too boring and Peter's Jealousy about Kala and Loon's relationship soured his character. Nomor's suspicion and general dislike of everyone also kinda took away from her character. This book was just...so sad. It felt as if no one was granted a happy ending. I know not every book needs a happy ending but it was just one thing after another. All in all, I loved the world Capes built and the magic system that runs it. I just wish at least one character had a happy ending.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    "He couldn't tell if to love was to fight, or to surender, or to tire." From The Unburied Queen 2 stars This book is a thick fog of confusion, with what seems like a few forced love stories throughout. There was a lot of insta-love going on. How does the magic work? We don't know. What does the actul geography look like? Shrug. Why were royals kept a secret before assasains? Who knows. If you can get past that, there is some good writing. It will take you awhile to figure out what it is saying at "He couldn't tell if to love was to fight, or to surender, or to tire." From The Unburied Queen 2 stars This book is a thick fog of confusion, with what seems like a few forced love stories throughout. There was a lot of insta-love going on. How does the magic work? We don't know. What does the actul geography look like? Shrug. Why were royals kept a secret before assasains? Who knows. If you can get past that, there is some good writing. It will take you awhile to figure out what it is saying at first. There is a LOT going on, without an explaination of what things mean. SO many things not explained that drove me nuts. There are some red flags with how Loon's hair is described, how it has (?) to be tangled because of the texture, and the way they handled signing and bisexuality; it seemed like it was added as a last minute gimmick. Kala insisting he wasn't an assassin when he was in fact killing people, just the ones on the other side, drove me mad. This was one book I was so happy to be done with; I would have certainly stopped reading if I wasn't reviewing. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchnge for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ami

    **Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review** "The Unburried Queen" by Capes is a high fantasy story about a secret royal in an island full of magic. Sadly, I had to DNF this story at around 50%, as I just couldn't motivate myself to keep going. The first thing I noticed when I started the book was how much un-subtle exposition it had, and yet it still took me a while to figure what was going on and what the rules of this island were. I didn't unde **Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review** "The Unburried Queen" by Capes is a high fantasy story about a secret royal in an island full of magic. Sadly, I had to DNF this story at around 50%, as I just couldn't motivate myself to keep going. The first thing I noticed when I started the book was how much un-subtle exposition it had, and yet it still took me a while to figure what was going on and what the rules of this island were. I didn't understand the magic system or the size of the island. It felt like I was thrown into the middle of a series and had to figure out for myself what was explained before. age. The characters were also secretly underdeveloped, more like archetypes than characters themselves, especially Groog's son, who has an interesting story behind his name but it just makes him feel like an extension of Groog. I did like, however, how one of the cities seemed to have a language exclusively in sign. It was an interesting, original, and inclusive detail. Overall, I give this book 2/5 stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Niki Grosios

    Thank you Netgalley for my advanced copy of The Unburied Queen. I found this novel incredibly difficult to get into and I unfortunately did not finish this book. I just couldn’t push myself to continue with it. The Unburied Queen sounded like a promising novel and something that I would have thoroughly enjoyed. However, I found it lacklustre. Particularly the first chapter which is filled with so much information it becomes distracting and boring. The first chapter just dragged on and on and on. Thank you Netgalley for my advanced copy of The Unburied Queen. I found this novel incredibly difficult to get into and I unfortunately did not finish this book. I just couldn’t push myself to continue with it. The Unburied Queen sounded like a promising novel and something that I would have thoroughly enjoyed. However, I found it lacklustre. Particularly the first chapter which is filled with so much information it becomes distracting and boring. The first chapter just dragged on and on and on. I wish I could have enjoyed this novel because it seemed like something I normally would have liked a lot. It is for this reason I rate this novel 1 out of 5 stars.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    This is the most realistic fantasy novel I've read in a long time. It still has the fantasy feel, it just seems like it could be happening in our world regardless of the world building. I liked our characters and the world building. I didn't love love this book and I can't quite put my finger on why. It was a solid read and a good book. Thank you to the publisher and author for the opportunity to give my opinion on this book. This is the most realistic fantasy novel I've read in a long time. It still has the fantasy feel, it just seems like it could be happening in our world regardless of the world building. I liked our characters and the world building. I didn't love love this book and I can't quite put my finger on why. It was a solid read and a good book. Thank you to the publisher and author for the opportunity to give my opinion on this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Devin Kruger

    This book is soooooo good! The world is so complex and truly beautiful. The characters are really interesting and dynamic. I was surprised over and over, truly full of twists and turns! I'm obsessed with the pond and the connection to the Island, I gobbled this up honestly. Highly recommend!!!!! This book is soooooo good! The world is so complex and truly beautiful. The characters are really interesting and dynamic. I was surprised over and over, truly full of twists and turns! I'm obsessed with the pond and the connection to the Island, I gobbled this up honestly. Highly recommend!!!!!

  25. 4 out of 5

    booksandkech

    I gave this story 3 out of 5 stars. Whilst it spanned a number of years and was detailed most of which had relevance to how the story ended, I didn’t like the confused feeling I had at the beginning. It could have caused me to DNF the story but I choose to stick with it and I am glad I did. It leaves you with some questions at the end which I think is part of its charm.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kurt

    An incredible feat of writing. Capes has built a vivid world that is as intricate as it is beautiful with characters that I'm still thinking about after having finished it. Capes clearly has one of the most powerful imaginations I have come across and I really can't wait to see what she/he/they put out next! An incredible feat of writing. Capes has built a vivid world that is as intricate as it is beautiful with characters that I'm still thinking about after having finished it. Capes clearly has one of the most powerful imaginations I have come across and I really can't wait to see what she/he/they put out next!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine Book

    This book was hard for me to follow. There was too many different POV’s and I found it a little hard to follow each of them every time. It was very hard for me to get fully into the book. The characters didn’t really develop and there was too much information too quickly.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lauriane

    The idea was good, but the book in general is too confuse. Some things are too elaborate, some are way too fast. Again the idea was good but I didn’t like the way it was written.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Arianna LOCKLEAR

    The idea of this book was so good. I had high hopes for The Unburied Queen. It just wasn’t there I couldn’t fully get into the book. I do like the way the author wrote the book though.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The book has potential, but the characters read more like YA and the plot and pacing are all over the place.

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