THE QUEEN OF ALL THAT DIES BY LAURA THALASSA
“In the future, the world is at war.
For the last decade, King Lazuli of the Eastern Empire has systematically taken over the world. No one knows much about him other than a series of impossible facts: he cannot die, he has not aged since the conflict began, and he wants to rule the world.
All Serenity Freeman has known is bloodshed. War has taken away her mother, her home, her safety. As the future emissary of the Western United Nations, the last autonomous region of the globe, she is responsible for forging alliances where she can.
Surrender is on the horizon. The king can taste it; Serenity feels it deep within her bones. There is no other option. Now the two must come face to face. For Serenity, that means confronting the man who’s taken everything from her. For the king, it means meeting the one woman he can’t conquer. But when they meet, something happens. Cruelty finds redemption.
Only in war, everything comes with a price. Especially love.”
First off, lets give a hearty thank you(!!!!!) to Paige for suggesting this marvelous work of fiction because I seriously loved it.
Yes, I loved it.
I have a huge thing for those dystopian books that involve some sort of arranged marriage mandated by the government. I have no idea why, honestly, I would snap if I had to face that in real life. The last book I read with this kind of theme have been done so remarkably well that it was seriously a read-in-one-go experience (read my review of The Book of Ivy here).
Thalassa has an exceptionally good writing style. I loved that she would switch character POV’s at pivotal moments in the book. It was a very welcome surprise because you got to see inside the king’s mind at vital points in the plot. The one thing I didn’t like about her writing was that she really enjoys using one-liners to solidify a character’s POV… It becomes super noticeable after awhile.
MC in a nutshell: Serenity is the daughter of the Western United Nations (WUN) emissary. She is next in line to become the emissary. Her and her father are tasked with going to the Eastern Empire and trying to sort out a peace/surrender agreement with evil King Montes Lazuli. Little does she know the WUN is using her as a bargaining chip.
You witness hatred, war, disgust, disease, etc. It’s great. It’s not a typical YA and it’s not a typical dystopia.
In regards to the storyline, two things slightly bugged me:
- The reveal of the king’s age. Look, I am no stranger to the YA genre. I’ve read those paranormal romances full of gigantic age gaps. But.. there was something about it, you know?? Like he’s OLD, and I think the fact he isn’t immortal made it really uncomfortable.
- The potentially (rape-y) beginning of their relationship. Yes, I admitted I loved the book but at some points I was arguing with myself (seriously conflicted) on the physical aspects of their “relationship”. On the one side, I want to say it wasn’t really rape but at the end of the day Serenity wasn’t willing and the king knew it. He still forced himself on her. AND IT CONFLICTS ME SO MUCH BECAUSE BY THE END OF THE BOOK I SHIP THEM.
So let me be quite frank, after finishing the book I genuinely ship Serenity and Montes. I LOVED how Thalassa actually pitted them against each other at the beginning. I love the internal struggles you see in both the MC and Montes, and I love how you see them slowly warming up to each other. Serenity truly doesn’t need Montes – she’s strong and independent and it’s thrilling to see another powerful female MC in the YA world. However, she learns to trust Montes and you see her stand as an equal by the end.
If you like the sound of this book, you may also like The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel. It has essentially the same story line – kick ass MC, actually interesting love interest, political undertones, dystopian world.