The Nameless Queen by Rebecca McLaughlin has a lot of heart, some fantastic moments, and a whirlwind of a story that’ll carry you along faster than you can turn the pages.
I was first drawn to this book by:
- The Cover
- The Title
- And the book description sealed the deal.
So what is Nameless Queen about?
Nameless Queen tells the tale of the nameless queen.
Deep, I know. But it’s true.
Let me explain…
Nameless Queen Book Review
The world of the Nameless Queen is stuck deep in the caste system with three notable levels of society: The Royals, the Legals, and the Nameless.
I’m pretty sure the three castes speak for themselves.
The nameless are basically the rabble, the unwanted, the illegitimate children that are tossed out, or the one’s whose parents die in childbirth.
They’re the wayward children, the vagabonds, the thiefs, the criminals.
And that’s all they’ll ever be.
Well…that is until one becomes queen.
You see, the crown isn’t passed down like you’re used to. It doesn’t go to the oldest male heir, or just the oldest living relative.
The crown is passed from Sovereign to Sovereign by choice.
With the king’s dying breath, he breaths the name of the person whom he wants to pass the crown and that person suddenly gets a tattoo on their arm that signifies they are the wielder of the Sovereign’s magic.
Magic used to run rampant across the land. There were wars, and bloodshed, and basically the story of Red Queen.
But one day, the fourteen kings of the fourteen cities consolidated magic and bound it into the ink used to pen the peace treaties and the ink used for the tattoos on the Sovereigns arms.
There is, of course, a way for someone to take the king’s magic by force. And this is known as the Assassin’s Festival.
When our unlikely nameless hero (who by the way does have a name, just one she gave herself. That is: Coin) suddenly finds herself in possession of the Sovereign’s mark, she is whisked away to the palace.
But lest you think her life will now be jaded, it is anything but.
In fact, the tattoo is a death sentence. For the Royals hate the Nameless. They can’t touch her at first because of the delicate balance of magic, but after 6 weeks Coin’s magic is at it’s strongest, and weakest.
It’s at this time, after the passing of a Sovereign, the Assassin’s Festival is held allow contenders for the crown to fight the heir apparent for the right to rule.
For Coin, this is the day of her death.
Because she will most certainly be killed for her crown, or she will be forced to secede it peacefully, only to be killed as soon as she does so.
It’s not perfect
Let’s get this out of the way first, because it needs to be said.
Nameless Queen is far from perfect.
The story is just a little too simple
There’s not a lot of depth here. There’s no deep meanings, no subtle messages, nothing that really makes you ponder life’s choices or where society is/was/might be in the future.
The magic system is wanting
There’s some glaring holes there. I mean, some pretty big ones that just get brushed aside with “Well magic is mysterious and who can really know how it does what it does.”
Which is basically just a cop-out.
The characters are shallow
I just finished reading and reviewed Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim.
Sim did an awesome job painting the picture of a despicable, lowlife you love to hate.
McLaughlin tried to do that with the antagonist in Nameless Queen and she never really felt all that dastardly. She wasn’t a Dolores Umbridge or even close to it, but that’s how you were supposed to feel.
You just never did.
But the rest is absolutely awesome
Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I want to tell you that Nameless Queen was an absolutely awesome book.
I loved it from start to finish.
Those things I mentioned above?
They’re minor, superficial, and really don’t affect the joy you can get from reading this story.
I literally could not stop reading.
I’m a slow reader. Well, semi-slow.
Those of you that finish books in a day, I’m not you.
But boy was I pretty darn close.
My usual time to read a book is between 3-5 days depending.
I read the first 70 pages the first night, and the second night I read the remaining 260 pages.
Nearly all in one go.
That’s how much I loved it.
While one of the largest questions looming over the book is pretty obvious: How did a Nameless become queen if the king had to say her name? And how did the king know her name?
Anyone with half a brain can probably take a stab at the answer and hit it on the nose.
I pride myself in spoiler-free reviews, and so I’m not going to spoil anything. But I mean come on. It’s not rocket-science, Coin. Don’t be so shocked when you find out.
That aside, there are plenty of surprises, plenty of mystery, and oh my stars the cliffhanger chapter endings.
I hate cliffhangers.
But I only hate them at the end of books (which this one does not have, Praise the maker! [to quote a little Star Wars] I’m sure there’s a sequel coming, but you can easily feel a whole resolution at the end of this book).
The cliffhangers at the end of chapters that make you have to start the next one to find out what happens is what propelled me through this book.
Nearly every. single. time. I was met with “Oh, crap. What’s going to happen now?” or “Oooo, he’s in trouble, I gotta see what’s next” or “Yes! Answer time! Let’s keep reading!”
Should you buy Nameless Queen?
Yes, you should buy Nameless Queen by Rebecca McLaughlin.
I rate Nameless Queen a solid 4.5/5
I took off half a point for some of the minor issues mentioned earlier, but this could easily be a Top 20 for me this year.