Review: Queen of the Deep by Kay Kenyon: ★★★★


24309446Queen of the Deep by Kay Kenyon
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: ARC
Synopsis: On the streets of New York, Jane Gray meets an intriguing man who claims to be the impossible: an imaginary playmate from her childhood: Prince Starling. Determined to know the truth, Jane tracks him into another realm.

This is the world of the Palazzo, a magical ship which is both a colossal steam vessel and a Renaissance kingdom. Ruling over its denizens--both human and otherwise--is an exotic and dangerous queen. Jane must find her way home, but the path is hopelessly lost.

Promising romance, the enigmatic Prince Starling and big-hearted crime lord Niccolo vie for Jane's heart. But she has her eye on the pilot house. Who--or what--guides the Palazzo, and what is the urgent secret of its endless voyage? As a shocking destination looms into view, Jane must choose both a lover and a ship's course, one that may avoid the end of all things.


REVIEW


What a thoroughly imaginative concept!

I'd never read anything by this author before Queen of the Deep, but a quick read of some of her other book's reviews informs me that worldbuilding is certainly not an area she struggles with. The brain that came up with this particular idea must have a few extra corners, nooks and crannies that normal brains don't have, that's for damn sure.

Not only does main character Jane travel to another realm, a realm not fully understood by even its own denizens, but the fantastic use of elements from our own world (though a few centuries out of date) mixed in with some wholly original elements, make for a truly unforgettable stage.

I tend to find that authors whose books show me something new and different, and those with the most expansive worldbuilding, stick in my mind the longest. But what's equally essential is good characterisation, and Queen of the Deep definitely has that. I was particularly pleased by the story arc of two of the secondary male characters, and that they both took me nicely by surprise!

Even though I mostly loved this book and certainly applaud the originality of it, some of it I just found plain odd, hence the 4 stars over 5. But I imagine people who like their fantasy books a bit "out there" à la Terry Pratchett, would absolutely lap it up

Also, it's worth noting that although the YA vibe is strong on the cover, it's not a YA or even NA book, but adult contemporary fantasy (with a teensy splash of romance).

All in all, a memorable stand alone fantasy read I would definitely recommend.

4 Stars ★★★★  A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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