Follow-up to The Turncoat King, The Threadbare Queen, is just as gritty and spellbinding. This book should be read right after reading the first book. It is not recommended to read this as a standalone. Book 2 in The Rising Wave series picks up right after the events completed in Book 1.
This book's focal point is still Ava. Ava is now a queen of a kingdom she does not want. The responsibilities and duties are not what she is prepared for nor can she implement the changes she wants. Kassia has been a kingdom of chaos and insanity ruled by a tyrant and her evil nobles. Quite honestly, thinking about what Ava needs to do to bring order to Kassia when it isn't even her homeland, makes me cringe. There is so much that needs to be done and a lot of it political intrigue which would drive a logical person mad. This book could be about restoration and it would bore most readers to tears. Fortunately, Ms. Diener adds excitement to the restructuring with arrogant aristocrats, petty inexperienced soldiers, frightened commoners, and cruel kidnappers.
The first couple of chapters starts out really slow for me. I picked up the book and kind of set it down again as I tried to get into the groove. These first few chapters are necessary to set up the rest of the book; I confess it was not easy for me. Once the action started happening, I became vested and read 'til 4 AM in the morning. The harrowing experience Ava goes through shows that a person cannot become too dependent upon magic. It also demonstrates when a person hides and doesn't develop their gift. There are so many life lessons in this story, I'd be on a soapbox all day. Fortunately, neither I nor Ms. Diener will bore you to tears with lectures.
What I like about this story and Ms. Diener's writing style is that things don't work out perfectly for our heroes. They constantly face adversity and need to work hard to overcome the obstacles thrown in their way. The overwhelming tasks they must complete are shared with good friends which is what makes the difference. The bonds from fighting life or death situations are strong and are needed in this story. I love the twist and turns. I loved how a problem person causes so much trouble and upsets a fragile and explosive situation. Sometimes it only takes 1 catalyst of mayhem to bring an entire civilization down.
Another point I'd like to make is how different nations are not painted as completely good or bad. There are bad apples amongst each of the people. No one is perfect. There are reasons behind bad decisions. Some of them are understandable and others are not defensible. Even when Ava and Luc are infused with rage, they still are able to pull back and be disciplined and logical. I find this kind of character attractive and admirable. With this book, I fell in love with Luc and Ava all over again. This meaty book should have satisfied my craving. Instead, I'm hungering for the next book. I want to know what Ava and Luc will do to the Speaker of Grimwalt. I want to know what is going on in Grimwalt. This world is rich in magic, characters, and plot development. I highly recommend this fantasy to readers who want a book filled with intrigue, betrayal, and stubborn heroes who do the right thing.
* I received an ARC.