The Queen Will Betray You

Tor Teen. (Kingdoms of Sand and Sky: Bk. 2). Jul. 2021. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250237460.
Gr 8 Up–Princess Amarande and her love Luca return from their adventures in The Princess Will Save You to face grander threats than pirates and kidnappers. Amarande’s long-absent mother has returned and is determined to put Ama’s illegitimate brother on the throne. Meanwhile, Luca must find an underground rebellion and earn their trust as the long-lost heir to the throne. Matters are further complicated by the machinations of Queen Ines, who intends to claim every country for her own, no matter who sits upon the throne. Unlikely alliances and betrayals wait around every corner as the young leaders work to reclaim their kingdoms. This fast-paced sequel doubles down on the strengths of the first book with nonstop action and increasingly deadly intrigue. There are some plot points and coincidences that require a little too much hand waving (like a tattoo that remains unchanged from infancy to adulthood and a continent that can seemingly be crossed on horseback in less than a day). The romance feels disappointingly thin as the protagonists are once again separate for most of the book, but this time they have other things to worry about. Ama’s relationship with the charismatic and complicated Prince Taillefer, who is with her for much of the story, is more interesting and electric than her repeated intonations of “my love” when thinking of Luca.
VERDICT A fast-paced installment in the Princess Bride–inspired series. Give to teens who love swordplay or want a less gruesome alternative to Game of Thrones.

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