Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte – ARC Review

I want to begin by saying I was literally almost murdered trying to get this ARC. At the 2018 BookCON, Penguin Teen was dropping twitter hints as to a big ARC drop. I was cut off in the line to get the book by some very aggressive readers, and ended up not getting one. I was really disappointed, to say the least. I’d been waiting for quite a while, and I was so close to getting this one.

At the end of the day though, I heard a little bird whisper penguin teen would be doing another quick drop of any leftover ARCS from the weekend. I lined up eagerly in hopes this was true, and guess what a super amazing booth worker handed me when the time came?

Your girl got herself an ARC of Four Dead Queens.

(Special shoutout to the amazing penguin teen staff working so hard that weekend!)

But enough backstory, here is my full, spoiler free review of this highly anticipated 2019 release.

All the points for fantasy standalones

Seriously, why are these so rare?

I loved the main character

I feel like she was very real. Some sassy teen heroines are just too much. It was still a little sad to see this trope appear, but overall it wasn’t annoying. (If I hadn’t read a million YA books already this wouldn’t be a problem haha)

She struggled a lot with guilt, humanity, and betrayal. In addition, she also had to learn powerful lessons about trust and friendship that I’ve never seen done in such a flawless way.

Something else that you realize quickly about her was that she is a criminal because she enjoyed it. Not gonna lie- this is my favorite part about her. She’s a thief because she loves the thrill. As a suppressed kleptomaniac this makes me very happy to read. She’s so sneaky, fierce, and creative.

She also admits her flaws and mistakes. Bless.

I really love the world

A land divided into four quarters where each is dedicated to preserving its culture? I loved it. Each was flawed in some ways and well developed in others, which provided an awesome and diverse cast. It was well developed. World building is huge for me- but this was done very well. Not too detailed to get you lost, but with enough information to keep you satisfied.

My favorite part of the whole thing was how the land came to be ruled by four queens

Four ladies were forced to become wives to the king. To put it much less eloquently than how the story went in the book- they basically said “no sir, screw you”, killed the king and took his throne.

Even without crowns, those original ladies are queens to me. #girlpower

Overall, the plot was very engaging

I loved the combination of a fantasy world with a touch of a historical setting, sci-fi, and mystery. It left a lot up to the imagination, and kept me reading.

I wasn’t sold on the explanations for a few things

I won’t elaborate so you won’t be spoiled, but I’m just not buying the “scientific explanation” to a couple of the technologies mentioned in the book.

In addition, when some of the characters explained things, it felt a little unnatural. I feel like it may have better shown, than told through dialogue.

I wasn’t feeling some of the plot twists

There was a twist at the end that wasn’t floating my boat… but I won’t say what. All you other readers may like it… but I felt the book would have been better without it.

The villain was AWESOME

Though I didn’t like them themselves, I loved their motivation. Their motivations and personality were both well written, and I really enjoyed the narrative. (Yes, we get a few chapters of that 😉 )

Overall, I liked it

If you enjoy mystery and sci-fi/fantasy, this would be a great item to preorder. The characters are cool, the plot engaging, and the writing is enjoyable. It isn’t the most unique banana in the bunch, but is still really enjoyable.

Definitely check out this debut authors website here, and be sure to sign up for her newsletter! As she is also a professional painter, the author has been releasing exclusive images of the queens in this novel. They are GORGEOUS, and you don’t want to miss these reveals and her other exclusive content.


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