I only needed to see this book marketed as a cross between Outlander and an Arthurian legend and I was immediately excited about reading and reviewing this one.
This book is a debut novel and what a debut it is! I was blown away by the story and you need to immediately move this one up on your TBR list, the hype for this book is real. I was torn between devouring the book to find out what happened and slowing down because I didn’t want the magic to end.
Intelligent, passionate, rebellious, and brave, Languoreth is the unforgettable heroine of The Lost Queen, a tale of conflicted loves and survival set against the cinematic backdrop of ancient Scotland, a magical land of myths and superstition inspired by the beauty of the natural world.
One of the most powerful early medieval queens in British history, Languoreth ruled at a time of enormous disruption and bloodshed, when the burgeoning forces of Christianity threatened to obliterate the ancient pagan beliefs and change her way of life forever.
Together with her twin brother Lailoken, a warrior and druid known to history as Merlin, Languoreth is catapulted into a world of danger and violence. When a war brings the hero Emrys Pendragon, to their door, Languoreth collides with the handsome warrior Maelgwn.
Their passionate connection is forged by enchantment, but Languoreth is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of the High King who is sympathetic to the followers of Christianity. As Rhydderch’s wife, Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way, her kingdom, and all she holds dear (summary from Goodreads).
On it’s surface, this book promises all the great things that people love about Arthurian legend…..battles, magic, romance, and court intrigue. But at it’s heart, it’s more than just that. Pike explores the depths of religion—-Christianity meets the Old Ways—-and the impact it has on the characters and the landscape of Scotland. It’s a remarkable novel and to say that I am excited about the remaining books is a vast understatement.
One of the things that stood out most in this story was the directness of the plot. Sometimes with epics (and certainly an epic legend of this magnitude), the authors tend to get caught up in sub plots and other details to bring authenticity to the story. Pike has a much more direct prose that gives the reader only the details that they need and lets the readers imaginations take over.
For example, we meet Languoreth first as a young girl when her mother has just died, and rather the pour over her mother and their bond that they shared and spending too much time on this part, Pike touches on it and moves on but it doesn’t lessen the impact. She brings impact with symbolism rather than words.
Much of the story continues in this way and it moves the story without letting it get bogged down by too much world building and epics descriptions and explanations.
At first I was worried that the strange names and places would be distracting, I often struggle with names that I can’t pronounce. But the Arthurian legend and the characters are quickly evident so that the reader can recognize their characters and focus on the story rather than the names.
This book is neither too short or too long…..it ends at just the right moment and doesn’t get overly long and detailed. At roughly 500 pages, it’s a very appropriate length and shouldn’t be intimidating to most readers. I was surprised that I read it as fast as I did. I was easily done in a few days and happily set down my other books in favor of reading this one.
I can’t sing this books praise enough. It’s beautiful, enchanting, and a story that will stick with you long after you are done. Many have praised this book as a feminist Arthurian legend, and sure it has feminist qualities, but for me it was subtle and that was just fine. Had it been overly feminist, it would have had a ring of falseness when it came to a representation of the period.
Pike has written an impressive debut and I am eager to read the next book in the series.
One last thing…..that cover is to DIE for. Do not waste your money on an e-copy…..spring for the hard copy because it’s truly stunning and will find a place of honor on your bookshelf, both for the story as well as the cover.
Hardcover, 527 pagesPublished September 4th 2018 by Touchstone
- Review copy provided by: Publisher/Author in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own
- Recommendation: 5 out of 5 (can I give this one more?!)
- Genre: historical fiction
- Memorable lines/quotes: