The Queens of Innis Lear
A KINGDOM AT RISK, A CROWN DIVIDED, A FAMILY DRENCHED IN BLOOD
Tessa Gratton's debut epic adult fantasy, The Queens of Innis Lear, brings to life a world that hums with ancient magic, and characters as ruthless as the tides.
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 subje...more
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 ...more
“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 ...more
I love KING LEAR.
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 ...more
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 ...more
I am so impressed with this Shakespearean retelling! King Lear is a play I have read and studied mult ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
DNF'd at 33% ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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.
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
“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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
“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 ...more
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, ...more
I don't know if I was in a slump to begin with when I started this book, or if it put me into a slump. Either way, it took too damn long for me to read it.
Everything was just meh. I finished reading this yesterday, and I've already forgotten most of what happened. It wasn't terrible, but nothing stood out. I didn't care enough about the characters to like or dislike them for most of it, but when I cared enough to dislike them, immediately post scene-where-I-started-to-care, I went back to ...more
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