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The Born Queen by Greg Keyes
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The Born Queen

by Greg Keyes

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone (4)

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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
This was the final book in the four-book Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series. This was an epic fantasy series that started off with a seemingly-generic storyline, but good writing and interesting characters. However, the story took some interesting turns as the series progressed and it grew increasingly more detailed and complex. Meanwhile, the characters remained interesting and the writing remained strong. The author really did a good job of fleshing out the world he had created.

There were quite a few twists in this final book. Some were things I had suspected might happen, and others took me completely by surprise. There were some dark and/or unexpected turns for some of the characters and not every character I had followed through the series made it to the end. However, it wasn’t the bloodbath I feared it might turn out to be at one point and I was pretty satisfied with where things ended up by the end.

I think my only complaint with this book is with the last couple of chapters. Most of the characters' climatic moments happened at the same time, so a lot of things were happening very quickly and all at once. The author provided fewer details at this point in the book, I guess to make things seem more fast-paced and exciting, and sometimes it wasn’t clear how characters had gotten from point A to point B. There were a couple of times where I had to stop and re-read a section to try to wrap my head around what had happened. I thought that hurt the pacing more than if the author had slowed down a bit and maintained the same level of detail as in the rest of the story. I started to lose my mental picture of what was happening and it felt sort of like watching a TV show with sound only – you can understand what’s happening, for the most part, but you’re missing out on the visual details and clues that let you fully appreciate the story.

Things were still feeling a little ambiguous to me at the end of the last chapter, but there was a nicely-done prologue set a little ways in the future. It briefly revisited all of the remaining characters and cleared up questions about what had happened to them and what they were up to after the events in the series.

I do very little re-reading, because I don’t have enough time to read all of the new things I’m interested in reading as it is. However, if I were inclined to re-read, this is probably a series I would re-read in the near future. The story and the world it’s set in is so full of depth and nuance that I think I would gain an even greater appreciation if I read it again with the full knowledge gained from my first read-through. ( )
  YouKneeK | Jun 12, 2015 |
WOW WOW WOW!! I was nervous about the ending to this book with so many characters, plots, and story lines going all at once. I did not think it would be possible to bring it all together none the less so beautifully. I will admit the book was complicated and confusing to read at points but so enthralling that I just could not put it down. So sad to see the series done and over with but a wonderfully executed way to go.
  PhilipTroy | Jan 8, 2015 |
I'm not sure how to feel about this. On the one hand, I liked this series, even though it's too long. After four books, I had quite a bit invested in it, and I wanted a satisfying ending. I didn't entirely get it, and that bothers me a bit. To resolve some of the storylines, there seemed to be things falling out of the sky. How on Earth did Aspar become the briar king? The briar king was dead. Ok, there was the reveal about Aspar's past, but that doesn't explain anything.
And how or why did Stephen become the Black Jester? That was a little better explained, but it was still unsatisfactory.

On top of that, I didn't like the development of Anne. Sure, throughout the books other people describe her as selfish. Mostly Austra. And yes, she's a bit spoiled, and strong-willed, and there is no doubt that she is self-centered. But that is not the same as selfish. It's true that she thinks the world revolves around her, but that doesn't mean she doesn't care about others. In particular, it doesn't mean she doesn't care about Austra. She just has some trouble seeing things from others' eyes. Yes, that is a flaw, but it is an understandable one given her background, and perhaps it's partially an asset in someone who IS, or at least will be, more important than others around her. Throughout the books, Anne grows up, learning to accept responsibility, learning to carry the burden of command. And yes, clearly it is possible for her power to change her, but to the extent that she is a hair's breadth away from killing Austra? That is just not believable to me. That is not the Anne I've come to know, no matter what Austra thinks. Quite frankly, I cannot even believe that Austra thinks this, or she would not be able to love Anne the way she does. Who would love such a person?

As a sidenote, another thing I'm a bit disappointed by is the women. In the first book, I thought they were treated relatively well, but not much of that is left at the end.
  • Winna Where she gets to save Aspar a few times in the first book, later on she becomes a tag-along, useful for giving Aspar a reason to be cautious and for getting pregnant.
  • Anne Strongheaded, powerful, and strong, if a little spoiled in the beginning. I'd have nothing to say about the way she is covered, if it were not for the fact that she is duped in the end and then nearly decides to kill her best friend. At least she makes a good queen afterwards, but I think Anne deserved more than this.
  • Austra Well, she can't help her position as maid, but she comes across as whiny. She's mostly there to temper Anne and make her less selfish.
  • Leshya Oh, is she female? The only way to notice is that Winna gets jealous of her. She is amazingly competent, but change all the she's to he's and no-one would notice anything amiss.
  • Muriele Does what she can, I suppose. She's brave, in letting herself get captured by Robert, but after that, her role is more or less finished. Yes, she goes to Hansa, but she doesn't accomplish anything and gets murdered. That's it.
  • Brinna Competent and strong-willed, and despite being physically weak, perhaps the best portrayed woman of the bunch.



So, not completely happy about it. Still, I think this was a beautiful intricate series, well worth my time despite its flaws. ( )
  zjakkelien | Apr 29, 2014 |
Nov10:

Characters: The originals are still okay. The new ones are meh. Really this one is less about the characters. And that makes me sad.

Plot: Went all about power. I was somewhat let down.

Style: Went towards high fantasy.

Still, a solid conclusion to an excellent series. ( )
  Isamoor | Nov 20, 2010 |
With 'The Born Queen,' Greg Keyes provides a suitably epic finish to his engrossing, endearing 'Kingdom of Thorn and Bone' books. Lush with well fleshed characters, mysterious figures and fantastic monsters, this series engrossed me since the start, and the conclusion was satisfying, fulfilling and poignant.

Anne Dare's quest to become empress is coming to a close, but she still must face off against her direst foes: her uncle Robert continues to make trouble, and Hansa continues to threaten military action. Meanwhile, Aspar struggles to survive while contending with the sinister Fend, and Stephen makes unsettling discoveries.

Magic, prophecy and destiny intermingle. The world is on the brink. And these characters, whom we've followed through highs and lows, against the gravest perils, square off against their biggest, most difficult challenges yet. For some of them, their ultimate fates are surprising.

Just really brilliant. The tome succeeds in casting an air of uncertainty over characters who were previously black-and-white. Until nigh the conclusion of the book, its unclear who's REALLY fighting for the preservation of all, which adds a lot of suspense. Keyes presents his usual colorful mix of action and mysticism, which makes for a lively read. Overall, I found it completely satisfying, and I think anyone who enjoyed the rest of the series will be pleased with how it ends. ( )
  Queensowntalia | Jun 21, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greg Keyesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Youll, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345440730, Mass Market Paperback)

In The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, Greg Keyes has crafted a brilliant saga of magic, adventure, and love set against a backdrop of clashing empires and an ancient, reawakened evil. Now, with The Born Queen, Keyes brings his epic to a masterly close, gathering the strands of plot and character into a stunning climax that both completes and transcends all that has gone before.

The Briar King is dead, and the world itself follows him to ruin. Aspar White, wounded and tired, must embark on one last quest to save the forest and the people he loves, but he has little hope of success.

Anne Dare at last sits on the throne of Crotheny, but for how long? The Church, now led by the corrupt and powerful Marché Hespero, has declared a holy war against her, giving the king of Hansa the pretext he needs to unleash his vast might on the young queen and her unready army.

But Hansa is the least of Anne’s worries. The Hellrune, war seer of Hansa, strikes at her through vision and prophecy. The Kept–last of the elder Skasloi lords–weaves his own dark webs. Anne’s teacher and ally in the sedos world might also be her worst enemy, and Anne’s own mounting strength compels her toward madness.

Surviving these dangers and mastering her eldritch abilities are merely prelude to the real struggle. There are many–some with power matching or even exceeding Anne’s own–who are willing to kill in order to seize control. For whoever sits upon the throne will have the ultimate command to bring about the world’s salvation–or its apocalypse.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:19 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

With the Briar King dead, dark forces wrangle for control of the land, and Anne Dare is forced to use all her skill and determination as she faces opposition, both material and magical, on all sides and moves toward a final confrontation with her enemies.… (more)

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