cover image The Un-Queen

The Un-Queen

Fiona West. Tempest and Kite, $14.99 trade paper (424p) ISBN 978-1-7328774-5-0

This lighthearted sequel to The Ex-Princess shifts the focus from a sweeping exploration of its technocratic fantasy world to a domestic royal romance. Runaway Princess Abelia of matriarchal Brevspor and King Edward of Orangiers fell in love while working to save Orangiers from Edward’s usurper brother, Lincoln. Now their wedding is fast approaching and free-spirited Abbie must weigh life with the man she loves against the reality of leaving behind her job, best friends, and apartment for a life in which she’ll be open to public scrutiny and dogged by a security detail. Recently diagnosed with lupus, Abbie faces larger challenges of learning to live with her illness, overcoming her pride, and allowing her fiancé to help her cope. West’s characterization of Abbie explores with astute compassion the thin line between her fantasy-heroine toughness and stubborn self-sabotage, but the brunt of the actual plot is taken up by Abbie and Edward’s pre-wedding lust and immature bickering. None of the couple’s difficulties—including a cursory subplot about Lincoln threatening Abbie’s life—is substantial enough to unify this slice-of-life romance. Though readers will delight in returning to this rich universe, they’ll long for more story. (Self-published)