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Lady Hotspur

(Innis Lear #2)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  335 ratings  ·  130 reviews

Tessa Gratton's Lady Hotspur is a sweeping, heart-stopping Shakespearean novel of betrayal and battlefields and destiny.


This is the motto of the Lady Knights—sworn to fealty under a struggling kingdom, promised to defend the prospective heir, Banna Mora.

But when a fearsome rebellion overthrows the throne, Mora is faced with an ag

Kindle Edition, 592 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  335 ratings  ·  130 reviews

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Jul 18, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Holy shit.
Books with Brittany
If I’m being super picky, 4.75 because we got off to a rough start.
Maja  - BibliophiliaDK ✨

DNF at 15%

I was attracted to the idea of a feminist epic fantasy. However, the reality fell WAY short of my expectation. I was turned off almost from the beginning and just kept thinking 'when is it acceptable for me to throw this out?'


Incoherent: Perhaps this is because I have never read another of Gratton's books, but I found the beginning so confusing and incoherent with way too many people and places being strewn around that I couldn't g
Athena (OneReadingNurse)
Here I am, finally writing and uploading a review for this catastrophe 😳

Thank you so much for the eARC to Macmillan Tor/Forge books, I just honestly struggled and struggled through almost every page of it, and probably should have DNFd without giving feedback.

It was so long and gave so many minute, slow burning details into every single character's life, and I didn't find myself caring about any of it. Even after enjoying The Queens of Innis Lear at least a little bit, I could never get into Lad
Sentranced Jem
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-2020
It really won't be fair of me to write a review when I didn't even make it half way to the book.
I've tried reading this book so many times but honestly, I made it till 43% and then I gave up.
So yes I DNF-ed Lady Hotspur at 43%
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

Slow, deliberate, deeply character-driven, and definitively queer, Lady Hotspur is a follow-up to The Queens of Innis Lear, with events occurring a few generations later. I would definitely recommend reading Queens of Innis Lear first, as I think this would be very confusing without that context. While I personally connected more to the characters in Queens (an all-time favorite for me), I think Lady Hotspur will be an important book for some readers. I especially recomme
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
DNF at 4%

The weird thing is that I was enjoying it, but not enough to invest 15 hours. I'm in a weird reading mood—I need light and fluffy, not something that will make me think and untangle.
Judy Lesley
Two stars from me because this was a struggle all the way through for me. I struggled to read the whole book when what I really wanted to do was put it down for good. I struggled to like any of the characters. I struggled to see how the story had advanced much when I finally finished it. Yes, gender bending, I got that and I was fine with it as something new or different or both but that Shakespeare play isn't a favorite of mine anyway. Yes, a lesbian love story, but that's not exactly earth sha ...more
Marta Cox
I am truly sad to say I read approximately fifty percent of this book and stopped. Perhaps if I'd read books before this about Innis Lear but honestly I'm really not sure. I can say the three females who dominate this story are interesting but i just sadly didn't feel pulled in or engaged enough to continue at this time. I absolutely hate stopping a book before the completion so perhaps will revisit when time is not so pressured. Its well written and has a unique slant so definitely very interes ...more
Caidyn (he/him/his)
Thank you Tor Books and Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

DNF at 51%

The long and the short of this book is that it felt like a poor Henry IV retelling.

The characters are all genderbent and most are queer. But it's a queer story that's full of angst about not being allowed to be who they are. Important story and themes to look at, but it felt tiring for me because that's how a lot of queer stories are. That kept annoying me and pulling me out of the story. I prefer reading h
Eva B.
Oh my God.
A genderbent Henriad fantasy? With lesbians??
Lady Hotspur seems to be a quite polarising book so far. And by polarising I mean that if you check reviews on Goodreads the idea of it you get is of a huge, boring, horrible tome. I don’t quite agree with that, to be honest.

Lady Hotspur is a genderbent retelling of Henry IV, mostly focused on Part I. It’s set in the same world as The Queens of Innis Lear, but in the kingdom of Aremoria, where a rebellion put Prince Hal’s mother on the throne and left Banna Mora, the previous heir, without a cr
May 20, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Honestly I added this just because of the title.

But it doesn't hurt that it's referencing Shakespeare.

I don't really have to go back and read The Queens of Innis Lear do I?
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs, dnf, epic-fantasy
I felt much the same about this as I did about The Queens of Innis Lear - beautifully written, but somehow lacking in substance. I was actually enjoying this one at the beginning, with the flirtations between Prince Hal and Lady Hotspur; it actually seemed like it was going somewhere. But then we returned to Innis Lear and star prophecies and sadly I just lost interest and ended up DNFing it. Still, the prose was really special, and it's a shame that it just seemed to lack in every other respect ...more
Colleen Corgel
I have finally completed this thing - and let me tell ya, it was worth it, but still has a lot of questionable decisions that made the book a lot less enjoyable than it could have been. It is basically a retelling of Shakespeare's Henry IV with heavy emphasis on part 1. It is gender bent and queered up, so there will be a lot of rep across the whole of the community. The chapters are broken into narratives mostly by the three main ladies - Banna Mora, Lady Hotspur, and Prince Hal. There are othe ...more
Lauren Don’tGoBrekkerMyHeart
"If I take a true thing, and dance pretty words around it, the prettiness doesn't ruin the truth. A good story isn't a lie."
For starters, my recommendation for Lady Hotspur would be to read The Queens of Innis Lear first because then you can truly enjoy the foreshadowing and references to past characters/ relationships. It’s a whole different experience with that background, and I can’t recommend it enough. Plus, you then have this background on the world, lore, and politics, so you’re unders
Sep 14, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
DNF at 32%

This is a really dense fantasy novel. The writing is lyrical and gives Lady Hotspur a very other-worldly feeling to it.

It’s worth mentioning that I have no experience with Shakespeare’s Henry VI so I can’t speak to how well this adapts that source material.

Lady Hotspur uses numerous POVs, which felt like it was slowing down the pace of the story. There are tons of characters with very similar names and I had a hard time keeping track of who held what position and why we should care a
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is a spectacular sequel to The Queens of Innis Lear, which I adored, with similarly gorgeous language and imagery. think A Song of Ice and Fire but with less characters/convolution and more of an opportunity to get close to the characters emotionally (although I was more immediately drawn to the Innis Lear characters and it took me a bit to warm up to the ones in LH). brutal, beautiful, and compelling. ...more
This audible version of the novel has been my constant companion through lock down.
This is a sort of continuation of Queens of Innis Lear and I think that it would be rather impossible to follow some of the plot points without having read (or listened to) Queens first.
While I was listening I had so many discording opinions on the novel that I really did not know whether I was going to end up liking it or not. In the end I did. The audio was excellent and I think added to the story.
Loosely based
DNF @ about 50% (I do not give star ratings to books that I DNF)

I love Shakespeare retellings, and I really wanted to love this so much. The pacing on this novel didn't work for me. Some parts were rushed, and others were absolutely torturous. The audiobook helped me not feel cofused in the beginning, as I feel you are literally just dropped into the story in the middle of a battle.

All in all, I'm just sad this didn't work for me. The whole concept of the novel was great, but the execution did
Fernanda Granzotto
*arc provide by Netgalley and the publisher for a honest review*

I found the writing quite difficult, I know it's a fantasy but I think the author could have written and explained better.
The beginning of the book is very complicated,we are thrown into the story and the information is being thrown around, which made me very confused.
This book has A LOT of characters, which I honestly didn't like, because it makes everything more confusing and it just seems like names are being thrown around witho
Books on Stereo
Feb 14, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Lady Hotspur is simply an eye-sore. Far too long and extremely tedious. A boring/overwrought version of a Shakespearean classic.
Feb 06, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I hardly ever give books one star but DFN this book at 16% I just couldn’t get into it and when I re started the audiobook over again to try it and I zoned out usually I don’t if I like it this just wasn’t for me that’s okay!
Mrs. Salgy
Sep 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In full disclosure, I did not finish this book. I was immediately turned off by the dialogue and clunky exposition; while the concept is good, the gender swapping was not done well and resulted in characters that were at once unbelievable and uninteresting.
M. (Inside My Library Mind)
More reviews up on my blog Inside My Library Mind

I've been trying to read this book for a month now and I just cannot get into it at all. I've tried, gave it a hundred pages, and nothing about the story is gripping me or keeping me interested. Maybe it's because I haven't read the first book (although they are companions, centuries apart and aren't even categorized as the same series), but this just was not for me. I think Gratton's writing style is great, I enjoyed Strange Grace by her, but
Jo Ladzinski
Listened to the audiobook

I very quickly returned to Tessa Gratton’s Shakespeare retellings with this queer take on Henry IV (which of course, I have not read). In this companion to Queens of Innis Lear, we follow the exploits of Lady Hotspur, Prince Hal, and Banna Mora as they seek to bring political peace to Eremoria and reunite with the magic of Innis Lear.

This book is so deeply character-driven. No political decision had been made without the influence of any of the characters, which made the
C. S.
Setting this aside for totally me-not-you reasons, and I fully intend to come back to it, because it's actually really awesome - well written, breathtakingly conceived, and ~*so gaaaaaaay*~.

But I just don't have the bandwidth for it right now. This is some high level epic fantasy with political subplots and intricate worldbuilding, and I just can't process it.

Definitely do give it a try.
Alexandra Santos
Unfortunately DNF this one at 22%. While I loved the immediate tension at the beginning, I found it was constantly interrupted by too many irrelevant name drops and seemingly irrelevant details about the world. I’m not against front-loading exposition and world-building in a long fantasy novel like this, but it just seemed to get in the way of the storytelling and was mostly not of interest. Perhaps I was not the intended audience (since I haven’t read the referenced Shakespeare plays in a very ...more
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You Are Never Too...: Lady Hotspur - TBD 1 8 Jan 01, 2020 04:31PM  

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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)
  • The Queens of Innis Lear

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“Those beloved eyes were every blue that had ever existed, chips of ice and flickering flame, blue sky, blue sea, blue pennants snapping over a tournament, sapphire blue and heavy lapis.” 0 likes
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