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The Queen of Hearts

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One question remains: Did it begin or end in theft? His mother, taken before memory, his father, disappeared in the Manor where Asriael rules, home of the Great Game, where lives are antes and countries divided by mere hands, where the deed to the Slants was bet and lost so many years ago. The underground wizards of the Slants had trained Renue in the high arts, as an expe One question remains: Did it begin or end in theft? His mother, taken before memory, his father, disappeared in the Manor where Asriael rules, home of the Great Game, where lives are antes and countries divided by mere hands, where the deed to the Slants was bet and lost so many years ago. The underground wizards of the Slants had trained Renue in the high arts, as an expert in disguise, a deadly fighter, a daring card player. His mission was to infiltrate the Manor and win back the deed so that Asriael's dark magic could finally be unraveled and the people freed. But inside the Manor, Renue meets a mysterious young woman called the Queen of Hearts who seems to hold the secrets to his parents' fate. When Asriael is murdered and the mission betrayed, Renue and the Queen must flee the Manor, the Black Thing on their trail. As the other great lords vie for power, amid chaos and war, Renue must protect the Queen while they search for an ancient magic to end the nightmare of Asriael's black revenge.


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One question remains: Did it begin or end in theft? His mother, taken before memory, his father, disappeared in the Manor where Asriael rules, home of the Great Game, where lives are antes and countries divided by mere hands, where the deed to the Slants was bet and lost so many years ago. The underground wizards of the Slants had trained Renue in the high arts, as an expe One question remains: Did it begin or end in theft? His mother, taken before memory, his father, disappeared in the Manor where Asriael rules, home of the Great Game, where lives are antes and countries divided by mere hands, where the deed to the Slants was bet and lost so many years ago. The underground wizards of the Slants had trained Renue in the high arts, as an expert in disguise, a deadly fighter, a daring card player. His mission was to infiltrate the Manor and win back the deed so that Asriael's dark magic could finally be unraveled and the people freed. But inside the Manor, Renue meets a mysterious young woman called the Queen of Hearts who seems to hold the secrets to his parents' fate. When Asriael is murdered and the mission betrayed, Renue and the Queen must flee the Manor, the Black Thing on their trail. As the other great lords vie for power, amid chaos and war, Renue must protect the Queen while they search for an ancient magic to end the nightmare of Asriael's black revenge.

14 review for The Queen of Hearts

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rosu Aquabutts

    2 STARS: "It was okay." I realized after buying The Queen of Hearts on clearance at Chapters that no one had ever rated or reviewed it on Goodreads. Suddenly, I was incredibly eager to read it. I would be the first person to ever weigh in an opinion on a book. This had never happened to me before. I hoped that it would either be fantastic or terrible so my trailblazing opinion would really make a mark, but sadly, this book is just ... middle of the road. Though calling it that implies a much more 2 STARS: "It was okay." I realized after buying The Queen of Hearts on clearance at Chapters that no one had ever rated or reviewed it on Goodreads. Suddenly, I was incredibly eager to read it. I would be the first person to ever weigh in an opinion on a book. This had never happened to me before. I hoped that it would either be fantastic or terrible so my trailblazing opinion would really make a mark, but sadly, this book is just ... middle of the road. Though calling it that implies a much more neutral experience than the one I have. The two star "it was okay" feels far too blah for the reaction I had to this book. The Queen of Hearts is a zero sum game, where every weakness is bolstered by a strength, but every strength is undermined by a weakness. This is a solid 2.5, but not because it's average. It has major successes and major failures, it just has them both in equal measure. THE WRITING IS BEAUTIFUL/THE EDITING IS ATROCIOUS The Queen of Hearts has absolutely gorgeous prose. Homan absolutely has skill with words. The imagery was lush and I felt the words were more art than practical -- in a good way. Simple things were drawn in just beautiful terms and this is honestly the most beautifully written fantasy novel I've ever read. However, the editing in this book, good lord. Just the basic copy editing. I have never seen so many typos in a published book before in my life. It wasn't a shock to me that when I looked up the publisher, they were listed as an independent one. I can't even tell you how distracting it was some time. It barely looked edited at all, like the publication of a first draft. A PLOT FULL OF FASCINATING LITTLE THINGS/THAT NEVER GET FULLY RESOLVED A world based around poker, where killers have their hands marked back and liars have their hands marked red. A "black thing" that hunts and kills those who have been marked. An evil dictator who may not be what he seemed. A collection of wily, backbiting politicians who want to carve up his empire. A mystery from last generation which has changed the life of two young people and threaded the together. But there's just so much that I didn't feel resolved. The nature and origin of the black thing -- what is it? Where did it come from? Was it Alaine? Was the new black thing Mesmer? Do we know? Or how about Wildcard, the most interesting and disappointing character in the book. What was he? What did he want? Who was his father? Or the Drailers. Why did the magicians separate themselves by gender. And what, in fact, could their manage accomplish other than barriers? Or how about the Ears? The Pattern? What WAS the Pattern? It goes on and on. The only plot points I felt were 100% resolved was the mystery of Bren and Sophia's mothers. INTERESTING CHARACTERS/UNSATISFYING ARCS Despite a great cast that immediately caught my attention, I didn't feel I was rewarded for my affection. The only character whose story feels complete in this book is Lisande's. To be fair, her story is epic and beautiful and she's an amazing character. I'd also say that Faldor's story was complete and quite well done -- my favourite chapter in the book is the flashback of Faldor's murder. But Renue, ostensibly the lead, was never even clarified to even be alive or not, and all the other characters seem to have lost their arcs or exist to serve plot purposes or -- I don't know. I really don't expect everything to be tied off neatly at the end, and I realize that real people don't all have satisfying, bookending arcs, but it just ... didn't work for me at all. A FAST-PACED, COMPELLING STORY/THAT CAN BE REALLY HARD TO FOLLOW The Queen of Hearts never lets up. It starts in medias res and only tells the quieter moments through dizzying, beautifully written flashbacks. I lost track of the story about five times. I think the author was so focused on a fast, tight, driving story that he was really over-omitting. It's not like he was struggling to keep his word count down -- the book is only 269 pages. He was just so eager to never have the tension flag, to go from action to action to action, that all of the quieter scenes that string the story together and add pathos and motivation for the characters just got forgotten about. So often I felt that I could have understood or connected with a specific scene so much better if he'd just thrown in one before or after it where the characters plan for or react to it. Maybe I just like my books paced slow, but the breakneck pacing threw me off track or more than that it kept me glued to the page. I think it says something that my favourite scenes in the book were all those flashback ones. Especially Lisande's memories of being Sophia, the slow exploration of her relationship between her mother and her father and her, the fucked up little family they had ... but also Renue's backwards travel through his time during the Great Game. I loved the strange, dreamy flashback sequences so much. A GREAT IDEA/A LACK OF FOCUS Ultimately, I think that there is a great book buried here, written by a writer with a LOT of talent with prose. But I also think it feels very, very much like a first draft. Focus shifts wildly. The main character appears to shift halfway through. Major plot points emerge from nowhere or are dropped without explanation. This book needed another draft badly, and about 50-100 more pages. I can't recommend The Queen of Hearts as it exists in its current form, which is a shame. The book this is without its issues is an amazing one.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laura Scribner

    This was impressively awful. Truly a terrible read from start to finish.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Robin

  4. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Dettmann

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brittany Keough

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tim

  7. 4 out of 5

    Meril

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

  9. 4 out of 5

    Blackfeather

  10. 4 out of 5

    C

  11. 4 out of 5

    Figgy

  12. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  13. 4 out of 5

    Yesenia

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Henderson

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