Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Queens of Innis Lear” as Want to Read:
The Queens of Innis Lear
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Queens of Innis Lear

(Innis Lear #1)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  2,892 ratings  ·  866 reviews
A kingdom at risk, a crown divided, a family drenched in blood.

The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes.

The king's three dau
ebook, 676 pages
Published March 27th 2018 by Tor
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Queens of Innis Lear, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Silke It is neither. It adult fantasy. :-)
Abigail There's a companion novel coming out in January 2020, called "Lady Hotspur" …moreThere's a companion novel coming out in January 2020, called "Lady Hotspur" (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,892 ratings  ·  866 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Queens of Innis Lear
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
im quite conflicted with how i feel about this book.

the prose is gorgeous and the character development is extraordinary, but this was exhausting to get through. i found myself often skimming through paragraphs, or simply setting down the book periodically as i couldnt read this in large doses.

but there was enough love for the story to get me to finish, even if it was laborious. and honestly, i dont hate the book overall!?! it actually is a very high quality retelling, this which is why im con

“In Innis Lear it was believed that the reign of the last queen had been predicted by the stars--and had ended, too, because of them.”

This is a reimagining of Shakespeare’s King Lear unlike any reimagining I’ve ever read before. Tessa Gratton stays very true to the original play, and really makes a feminist statement on all the themes, but she made something so unique, so powerful, and so much its own thing. And every book I read from her ensures that she is becoming one of my favori
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads


When I took Shakespeare in college, I wrote my research paper on Edmund. I argued that he had little chance to be anything but a villain given the thoughtless mistreatment of bastards at that time. He wore his illegitimacy like a scarlet letter, and even more than Hester Prynn’s, his crime was not a crime.

So of course when I heard that Tessa Gratton’s THE QUEENS OF INNIS LEAR was a fantastical retelling of KING LEAR, I leapt at the opportunity to read i
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
That was weird and sad and good! The end!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it
3.75 stars
Elle (ellexamines)
It was good, but was it worth 26 hours of my time? I don't even think most tv shows are worth that much of my time.
“The storm was not his father. It owed him nothing.”

Everyone on Innis Lear is deeply connected to the stars. Some, including the King, Lear, have begun to be ruled by them. This King Lear retelling explores his three daughters, as they fight for the crown.

That isn’t the full extent of what this book encompasses, though. Queens of Innis Lear boasts an impressively large cast of
Bentley ★
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, cover-porn
See this review and more like it on!

It's been awhile since I've really challenged myself with a proper adult high fantasy novel, and I can proudly say that I'm glad it was this one that I took a chance on. A retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear, The Queens of Innis Lear faithfully draws on the same interpersonal conflicts between complex, morally gray characters found in the original play, but also infuses their world and societies with a breath of magic that serves to
Dannii Elle
A girl whose fate lies in the maps of stars. A boy whose power stems from mud. Whilst one is always gazing skyward and the other is craning downwards, neither has noticed the destruction surrounding them. A mad king is dethroned and a kingdom is divided. Three sisters are both united and divided by what they seek to rule. And the trees whisper the name of the only one who can truly save them all.

I am so impressed with this Shakespearean retelling! King Lear is a play I have read and studied mult
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-books
I received ARC in exchange for an honest review.

It was initially a 3.5 review, but I’m rounding it up to 4 because it deserves it.

Before I begin with the review, can we appreciate the cover? Both the UK and US edition are as beautiful as they are mysterious.

I got into the story with a little knowledge of what it was about. I must admit that I read the book without being very familiarized with the King Lear’s story, I had some background knowledge but that was it. Maybe that’s the main reason
This is a pretty exact retelling of King Lear in terms of the events that happen. Where it is not exact is: A) the inclusion of magic and B) the lack of humor. King Lear is really a rather dark play, that’s broken up by bits of humor from the Fool and Lear’s madness.

And that was one of the places where this book failed, hard. It’s all dark, and not even remotely funny. Combine that darkness with some very overly descriptive passages of setting and endless prattling about the magic of Lear, and t
The Queens of Innis Lear is a fantasy retelling of King Lear, focusing on the young generation characters (primarily Cordelia, Goneril, Regan, and Edmund) in a fictional kingdom called Innis Lear. It starts off as a faithful adaptation (think Lear but with magic)--the titular King is abdicating the throne, and he makes a shocking choice to split the crown equally between his three daughters, provided that they pass the test he sets out for them: to each declare that they love him more than their ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018, garbage-shelf
I won't deny that the book is beautifully written. The writing is elegant and rich with its descriptions and the first part, which leads up to the big gathering, sets up the story nicely. Or so you'd think. Because after the brilliant build up of part 1 nothing happens! The writing continues to be beautiful but the appeal wears off when the drama and plot starts to mimic a really boring soap opera. They're supposed to be fighting tooth and nail for a kingdom but they spend most of the book bitch ...more
Faith M ✨
I received this eARC excerpt from Tor on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

DNF'd at 33%
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review is for a 'preview excerpt' I received from Netgalley. I didn't realise that it wasn't the full book and was puzzled when the book stopped abruptly. So this is a review of only the first section of the book (around 1/2 judging by the full length of the book).

This is fantasy retelling of "King Lear" on an island that has it's flow of earth and water magic blocked by a king who prefers to read portents in the stars. He fails to see that the land is becoming barren and the crops are fail
Natalie Monroe
Oct 11, 2016 marked it as to-read
A retelling of King Lear in the thread of Game of Thrones?

Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a wonderfully crafted piece of literature this novel is! Not an easy one, mind you. It took me five days to read it because of how dense and complex, how thought-provoking, it is.
But let's start at the beginning, shall we?!

Using works of the Bard for inspiration is quite a risky endeavor, you know? Shakespeare's plays, all of them, have a multitude of layers and allow for all types of interpretations but living up to their standard is actually quite hard, I would imagine. Gratton, however
The Queens of Innis Lear is a fantasy retelling of King Lear.

It begins with the birth of an island, with one of the most breathtaking prologues I've read in a while. It draws you in, and you'll need that, because this may be a well-written story with multilayered characters and intricate political dynamics, but it's also a very slow tome of almost 600 pages and the retelling of a tragedy.

I decided to read this because I loved Tessa Gratton's Before She Was Bloody story in the anthology Three Sid
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read
I enjoyed this very much. The writing has a stylized feel, with each point of view chapter feeling in a way like a self-contained scene. It is a retelling based on King Lear, but while it's been so long that can't recall much detail from the original play, my favourite retelling is the film Ran, by Akira Kurosawa.

This book is slightly less dramatic than Ran, but still very engaging. It is very much the story of the daughters rather than the King, and particularly Elia, the youngest, but I loved
Hiu Gregg
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
I received an e-ARC from the publisher, HarperVoyager, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

What to say about The Queens of Innis Lear?

This is a book based on Shakespeare's famous tragedy, King Lear, though it is not a book that is defined by that play. I must admit that I haven't an intimate knowledge of King Lear, but I know enough about the play to recognise some departures from the "source material" — and I use that term very loosely since this book is entirely its own story.

Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It’s rare when I DNF a book, but this was too long and, for me, too boring to continue with.

I loved the concept. A retelling of the Shakespearean tragedy King Lear, told in a high fantasy setting, but by 300 pages in....nothing of interest had happened, and I felt litte to no emotional connection to any of the characters. I also found the writing overly flowery and stilted, making it difficult to wade through. In fact, it took me
This book may not be everyone’s cuppa tea, but it ticked all of my favourite boxes. Dark fantasy, looming disaster, an animate natural world, intoxicating magic, and powerful women paired with emotionally strong men. Re-telling a fabulous tale—King Lear.

It was like bitter dark chocolate, black velvet with gorgeous gold embroidery, or standing by a fire in the winter time, when only one side of you can be warm at a time. The opposites: star magic and earth magic, dark and light, poison vs. nouris
Tana 🌻 Cozyreadings
Jul 04, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish
free copy provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

DNF at 35%

Last summer, I read an excerpt that was available on NetGalley. At that time, I didn't realize that it wasn't the complete book. I started it again in januari, but it doesn't appeal to me as much anymore. I'm not going to force myself through a book if I'm not enjoying it that much.

I didn't realize this was not the full book when I requested it (should have looked better, my own fault) however
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
3.5 stars

RTC but this is ridiculously, ridiculously hard to solidly review because I am torn.

Is it a good book? Yes.
It’s got gorgeous worldbuilding, star prophecies, Shakespeare inspiration, the most gorgeous prose ever, strong female leads

But it is long. SO incredibly long. And this makes it exhausting to get through.

If this was cut down and paced quicker, this could’ve easily been a 5 Star for me.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review

A full review will also be available soon on
Renee Godding
5/5 stars

“It begins, too, with a star prophecy.
But there are so many prophecies read on the island of Lear that to say so is as good as saying it begins with every breath.”

I think it’s only fair that a book so seeped and surrounded by starmagic and prophecies ends up with a full nightsky of stars from me. If I had more than 5 to give, I would…
This is one of those rare books that completely and utterly pulled me in to the point where, for a few days, Innis Lear was almost as much my world as m
Caidyn (he/him/his)

CW: miscarrying, domestic abuse, thoughts of suicide, suicide, self-harm, grooming, murder, death, blood depictions, rituals, animal deaths, and war themes (taken from Melanie's review)

As I thought with this book when I DNFed it last time, I needed to be in the right place for it. So, yesterday, when I got the urge to pick it up, I went with it. And I read it in one day. A few different sittings since I had things to do, but still I read it in under 12 hours.

In the end, I was really capture
Joy D
Approximate re-telling of Shakespeare’s King Lear in the form of an adult fantasy with women in many of the central and supporting roles. The writing was elegant, with lush descriptions creating an atmospheric setting for this fantasy world. I could picture the jagged cliffs of this island country, the ships from faraway lands docking at port, and the majestic castles. It seemed like a story set in medieval times, with no invented creatures, where the island, trees, and wind are sentient. The ma ...more
Judy Lesley
Mar 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, britain
Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan - Tor/Forge for a digital galley of this novel.

This is a retelling of the Shakespeare play King Lear mainly identifiable by the leading characters of Lear and his three daughters along with his decision to carve up his kingdom to benefit the daughters who can express their love for him better than her sisters. The main problem is that you have to read way, way into the book before you get to that pithy bit of Shakespeare's maneuvering of characters.

The Queen
☆★Tinja★✮ A Court of Pizza and Laziness
After reading this I'm not sure how to feel.
Well I can at least tell that the writing was fabulous and I enjoyed the magic system, all the stuff with reading the stars and the magic of Innis Lear's island and the connection with it and its people. Whispering trees and sacrifizing and giving blood to the roots and land. Ohhhh it was so beautiful!!! All that was truly the best part to me.

My issue was more with the characters like I disliked the "good ones" and was rooting for all the bad ones.. *S
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
☆ 4.5 / 5 ☆

“Love is not a choice between different things like this. Love has to be growing, making your heart expand. It’s not narrowing. I love you and Innis Lear. I love my sisters and my father. Not one or the other. You can be more—you can be what you were and what you are, and—and whoever you want to be.”

This was such a powerful King Lear retelling and it truly left me a bit speechless. It took me a while to get through some of the sections of this book but I honestly felt like I was f
Victoria Rose
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
OK I'm not joking, I need to know if I read the whole thing. Can someone else who's read it or has it tell me the last line??

Honestly, if I have read all of it then the ending is the kind of open ending leading into the next book that I really enjoy and am not at all mad about, but it did seem a little too open / anti-climatic for an ending. Nevertheless, I would definitely buy the follow-up.

On to review the actual bulk of the book - I haven't read King Lear since my A Levels about 10 years ago,
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Wolf of Oren-Yaro (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen, #1)
  • The Navigator's Touch (The Seafarer's Kiss, #2)
  • One For My Enemy
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree
  • The Winged Histories
  • Blessed Monsters (Something Dark and Holy, #3)
  • The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire, #1)
  • Machine's Last Testament
  • The Fairest of Them All
  • The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates #1)
  • Masters of Death
  • The Atlas Six (The Atlas, #1)
  • City of Lies (Poison Wars, #1)
  • The Queen of Sorrow (The Queens of Renthia, #3)
  • The Annihilation Protocol (The Extinction Agenda #2)
  • Hollow Empire (Poison Wars, #2)
  • Enter Three Witches
  • Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky, #1)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Tessa Gratton has wanted to be a paleontologist or a wizard since she was seven. Alas, she turned out too impatient to hunt dinosaurs, but is still searching for a someone to teach her magic. After traveling the world with her military family, she acquired a BA (and the important parts of an MA) in Gender Studies, then settled down in Kansas with her partner, her cats, and her mutant dog. She now ...more

Other books in the series

Innis Lear (2 books)
  • Lady Hotspur

Articles featuring this book

If you've been following Zoraida Córdova's career, you know she is an author on fire. From her  On the Verge  romance series to modern Latinx...
30 likes · 11 comments
“Sometimes we forgive others because it keeps our own hearts whole, not because they deserve it or for any thought of them.” 13 likes
“I don't want to be chosen above all things, one thing most of all. I want to be a part of someone's whole.” 7 likes
More quotes…