Lola's Reviews > The Queen's Gambit

The Queen's Gambit by Jessie Mihalik
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really liked it
bookshelves: audiobook

I have heard great things about Jessie Mihalik's books and had her books on my wishlist for a while. I am glad I finally got around to reading one of her books. After seeing a review for the audio version for The Queen's Gambit on a blogger's blog I decided to give this one a try in audio. I am glad I did as my ebook to-read list is much longer and who knows how long it would've taken me to finally pick it up.

The Queen's Gambit follows the story of queen Samara. She's the queen of the rogue coalition and she plans to keep her people out of the intergalactic war between the Quint Confederacy and the Kos Empire. When both sides refuse to trade with her people, things turn dire. Her people are starving and Samara hatches a desperate plan to get some money in their coffers. That's where this book starts with Samara entering a Quint building and planning to steal the emperor from the Kos Empire who they hold captive, so she can get the ransom money for him.

The story starts off quickly, but as we're thrown in the middle of it all it took me a bit to get a grip on the characters and the galaxy. The fast pace did work and there's plenty of action. There's not a dull moment as Samara keeps landing in trouble and has to make difficult decisions. There's also a strong romance side plot, which I liked.

I thought Samara was a likable character, she clearly cares for her people and will do anything to improve their situation. She has to make some tough decisions and while at times I wished she would think of herself as well, it was realistic and clear why she made these choices. She also isn't afraid to put herself in the line of fire. She's not a queen who stays back and let others do the work, instead she's right at the front of the action putting her own life on the line for her people.

I liked reading about the characters, the main focus is on Samara and emperor Valentin, but there are some nice side characters too. And some antagonists whom I am sure we'll see more of in future books. I also liked Ari and Stella, who play a role when they land on the Rogue Coalitions home planet.

Then there was a bit of romance between Samara and Valentin, but their goals might not align always, so it's interesting to see how things progress between them. I thought it felt realistic how things progressed and I liked how things ended at the end of this book. I thought they made for a good couple. They're both capable and smart and their mutual attraction was clear from the start.

There is a bit of a political plot line with these three different factions, two of whom are at war with each other. Although I don't think we find out why they're actually at war and I would like to see a bit more of the world. But as this is only the first book in the series and a novella at that I think the author did a good job providing the reader with the most relevant information while not bogging things down with too many details. I liked what i saw of the world and am looking forward to see more.

I also liked how the author fit in enough technological advancements to make it feel like a science fiction novel. They had neural links, stealth technology, advanced weapons and more. I liked reading about it.

This is the first time I am listening to Rachel Dulude's narration and I thought she did a great job with this book. Her voice was pleasant to listen to and I thought her voice fit especially Samara well, but the other characters all sounded good too and I liked how every character had their own voice, although a few of the male characters sounded a tad alike. I definitely would be happy to listen to her work again.

To summarize: This was a fast paced science fiction novella with plenty of action and a strong romance plot line. I had fun reading this one. Samara is a great character to read about, she really cares for her people and isn't afraid to put herself into danger. There are some fun side characters too and I liked seeing how Samara's romance with Valentin developed. I liked the world building with the three different factions and interesting technological gadgets. I am looking forward to see more of this world in future books. The narration was well done and I thought the narrator's voice fit the story and especially queen Samara well. All in all a solid listen and I plan to listen to to the rest of the series too.
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Reading Progress

October 9, 2019 – Started Reading
October 9, 2019 – Shelved
October 9, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
October 9, 2019 – Shelved as: audiobook
October 18, 2019 – Finished Reading

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