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The Queen's Gambit

(The Books of Imirillia #1)

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  129 ratings  ·  38 reviews

Eleanor, the young queen of Aemogen, is confronted with the greatest threat her country has ever faced: surrender Aemogen’s sovereignty to the treacherous Imirillion Empire or endure a devastating and impossible war. Now she must decide if she will forfeit her people’s liberty or fight.

When Wil
Paperback, First Edition, 360 pages
Published January 19th 2016 by Rhysdon Press
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Beth Brower Hey! {I hope this question hasn't been sitting long as i just saw it.} Well. I have had some astute 12 year olds pick up the books and LOVE them. That…moreHey! {I hope this question hasn't been sitting long as i just saw it.} Well. I have had some astute 12 year olds pick up the books and LOVE them. That being said, I think that there are a few themes and nuances that if they were a touch older, it would serve to their benefit. In the sense that they might enjoy it that much more. Perhaps closer to 14? {And then it goes all the way up. I've just had a 97 year old read all three and she's reread them several times.} I would set the bar around 14, then suggest that you know your reader. (less)
Beth Brower Yes! I have been asked that question by many curious readers. I specifically never state her age...because I want the reader to have some room for…moreYes! I have been asked that question by many curious readers. I specifically never state her age...because I want the reader to have some room for their own assessment.

But, there are hints in the book that allow you to pin down her exact age. I will just say that when the story begins, she is older than seventeen, and younger than twenty.

Cheers! (less)

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Average rating 4.37  · 
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 ·  129 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. Thank-you Beth Brower for letting me have a copy.

I really wanted to like this book. I did. Brower sent me a nice note along with the book and I was so excited to start reading. It sounded like my sort of thing: fantasy setting, complicated relationships, heart or country, WAR!

I crack the book open, and it's beautifully set. The font is perfect, the paper thick and white, and the words are just jumping out at me. Yes, all those cheesy things chronic readers say
So happy I checked out Angieville last week when she mentioned her friend Beth Brower had written this great book. I trust Angie with my whole heart so I bought it even though Angie had not yet reviewed it. I cannot even tell you exactly why I love this book so much except to say it's smart and the characters are so well drawn and lovely. It kind of reminds me of 2 if my favorite authors, Sherwood Smith or Megan Whalen Turner. The story of a young queen's dilemma regarding her country's ability ...more
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars
Loved this story...couldn't put it down!

I pretty much liked everything about this book but especially the two main characters, Wil and Eleanor, both of whom have strong personalities. Eleanor is a very young queen but also commands the respect and love of her people. Will is confident but also wary and jaded by his life experiences. He questions and gives his opinion too freely and the opposition that creates, makes for some of the best scenes in the book. I enjoyed the mystery behind
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The main thing this book lacked for me was light hearted moments, or even some witty banter. Everything and everyone had a very intense feel. Very prosy. Which makes a certain amount of sense as they are preparing for a war, but I need a little levity to fall in love with a book.

Now what I did like about this:

The world building is GOOD and I can tell it’s only going to get better as the characters travel and the reader learns more about the different cultures they encounter.

The characters
Rob K
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am the first to admit that I am not "into" grown-up fantasy novels. When I pick up a book that has a map on the inside cover, my eyes almost instantly glaze over. This was not even close to the case with this incredible novel. It is evident from page one that Beth has a profound ability with words and uses them to immediately pull you into her story. She has created a world that is uniquely her own with fantastically developed characters that you will come to love, hate, laugh with, cry with, ...more
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The beginning of this book focused a lot on character and world building- but at a good steady pace. There was enough suspense and questions I needed answered at the beginning that I was interested to get through the book. The romance that built throughout the book was real and enjoyable. The last hundred pages I could not put down! I'm so curious what will happen in the next book between Eleanor and Wil!
I enjoyed the characters the most- they felt very three dimensional with deep histories and
Julie Bird
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow! My best friend recommended this book as her daughter in law's sister just wrote it. I couldn't have been more impressed. This is a great fantasy, with a beautiful layered story that kept me mesmerized. The writing had depth and flowed just right. I love and care for these characters already. Can't wait for the next installment.

Highly recommended

Just read this again, now that all 3 books are available. Loved it even more the 2nd time!
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up because a friend wrote it and I figured I should read it. I had no expectations of liking it this much!! The writing was beautiful, the plot as well thought out, the character development was fantastic-just s really great book! I can't wait to see what else Beth writes and I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out next month!
Amy (Turn the Page)
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Nowhere near as well written as her later novels. This feels aimed at a much younger audience as the characters, storyline and political maneuverings are all fairly simplistic/by the book.

However, a younger me would probably have really liked this. It reminds me of The Seer and the Sword (an old favourite of mine), also a novel that doesn't quite hit the spot when re-visited as an adult. Other reviewers have compared this to the wonderful Megan Whalen Turner and I can see why - it has a similar
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit, I spent most of the book tensely waiting for the other shoe to drop. Which is not a feeling I enjoy while trying to read, but it goes without saying when reading a book of this genre, I guess. Not the fastest paced of books, but the characters kept my interest. I don't see how the problems these characters face will work out without a lot of heartache, but the hope for a happy resolution for them will push me to read quickly through the next two. Well, that and a desire to get ...more
Angie Thompson
Feb 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-finished
DNF for a profanity about 70% in.

I was also a little uncomfortable with the repeated references to the one country's religion, including quotations from their holy books that I couldn't really understand and so wasn't able to tell whether I agreed with. But especially combined with some of the legends and superstitions, it was making me pretty uneasy.

I was interested in seeing how things were going to end for the characters, but this one just wasn't for me.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I got this kindle book series for my birthday. I didn't expect a lot, but was pleasantly surprised. Good writing and great, strong characters. It was a little slow in parts- kind of felt like it wasn't going anywhere - but that was ok because it was very enjoyable to read and the setup is important. Highly recommended to youth (clean) or adults.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
A good start to a trilogy especially for a first time writer. It was somewhat slow during the fen visits for war preparation and I didn't love the ending but I figured it had to happen so that she could better get to know the prince in his own house. Many parts were beautifully written with poetry and scenic descriptions.
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Great plot, good character development, believable characters and plotline that is fantasy but without dragons and magic and stuff. I immediately bought and read the second and third books. Immensely enjoyable.
Janalee B
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun read, definitely want to read the next book
Angie Casto
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I could not put it down. Now can't wait to continue on to book 2. Great story, love the characters.
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a great new series with interesting characters. Given impossible odds and trying to maintain their honor each of the characters in this book go through their own metamorphosis throughout. It is a kind of fantasy but not with magical things. The only thing I didn't like is I had a hard time pronouncing some of the names and places and that always bugs me.
I absolutely fell in love with this beautifully crafted tale! I tried to put the book down, but literally could not stop reading until I had finished reading it. I was glued to my kindle and I have no regrets.

In this fantasy tale in a fantasy world, we see a mysterious man sneaking his way into a foreign country under the guise of a simple traveler. We can tell he is so much more, yet we know not what or who he is. He creates a false name for himself, Wil. Wil Traveler, to be exact.

We also meet
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love Beth Brower’s imagery and fluid writing style. I especially like how she uses evocative phrasing to describe the characters and the setting, bringing both to life through her vivid, detailed imagery. I can tell in these phrases and in countless other places that Brower has taken great care in crafting this story.

I also really enjoy how Beth Brower skillfully develops her scenes, making me feel like I am present in each moment with the characters. This high level of immediacy caught my
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What I Liked:
-Characters- all of them felt real and well-developed. I really like Eleanor- she doesn't compromise her idea of a good ruler, but she listens to advice when necessary. Wil is also a great character. He seems really angry and super jaded. (view spoiler)
-World building- there isn't any magic or magical creatures here. Brower really takes
Debbie Means
Jul 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I chose to read this book because it is the first novel of an author who I knew in her early years. I have great love and admiration for her family and was excited to learn Bethany was now an author. I am so impressed! Most would say it was great, for a first novel. But, I would say it's great whether it's the first or the tenth. I was immediately captured by the story, love the characters and couldn't believe I had reached the end as quickly as I did. There is so much more I need to know, now! ...more
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-book, review-copy, 2016
The Books of Imirillia remind me of some of my favorite classic fantasies. This is a high fantasy series without magic about a queen and a country on the brink of war and the foreigner who promises to help them prepare. But should they trust him?

I had a lovely time interviewing the author on my blog.
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really liked this series. It was clean, thoughtfully written, and full of good characters. It moves through the story fairly slow, which I personally don't mind as long as development is happening-and it always is. I do wish there had been just a bit more emotion expressed between the main characters. Honestly...more drama! They have plenty of drama on the inside-but don't really manage to express themselves very often. Too much holding back! All in all though a satisfying and excellent read.
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, giveaways
Full of intrigue and the tumult of an impending war, the novel follows the lives of two people who accidentally meet (or so it seems at first). The main characters are well developed and interesting on their own account within the complexities of the political chaos that surrounds them. I plan on picking up the next in the series so I know what happens next!

I won this book via Goodreads Giveaways.
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Title, chess move and plot unify adventure

Thoroughly enjoyed the interplay between cultural differences of main characters. The thoughtful, caring queen who serves her people vs the foreign prince ruled by ideals of power and intimidation presented depth and insight as the story unfolds. Great details of a fantasy world with real life implications. Can't wait to read next book.
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Queen's Gambit is exactly what I look for in a book: strong, intriguing characters. Action and adventure. Slow, burning, non-icky romance. It's got it all. And the writing is superb! The first time I read it, I felt there were some parts that were a little slow, but reading through a second time didn't seem that way at all. Excellent work Beth Brower!
Debi Ashcraft
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm impressed. That's an understatement. I'm blown away! I haven't read such a good book in a long time. Actually, I've never read such a good in my life! Eleanor and Wil are perfect characters because, well, they're imperfect. They're relatable and clever and I wish I could spend a day with them. This book is cleverly written and the ending was anything but settling.
Sep 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Queen’s Gambit was slow-moving, but interesting. I liked exploring Aemogen with the characters. The major twists were easy to spot, but the story was enjoyable. I’m curious to see what happens next.
Mar 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Cool story. I felt like it ended at the climax though with no resolution even if it will be in a next book.
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Queen's Gambit Arches School 1 3 Jan 31, 2017 10:45AM  

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Like many of my siblings, I would sneak out of bed, slip into the hallway, and pull my favorite books from the book closet. I read my way through the bottom shelf, then the next shelf up, and the shelf above that, until I could climb to the very top shelf, stacked two layers deep and two layers high, and read the titles of the classics. My desire to create stories grew as I was learning to read ...more

Other books in the series

The Books of Imirillia (3 books)
  • The Ruby Prince (The Books of Imirillia, #2)
  • The Wanderer's Mark  (The Books of Imirillia, #3)