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Queen of the Unwanted

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In this feminist fantasy series, the ability to do magic has given women control over their own bodies. But as the patriarchy starts to fall, they must now learn to rule as women, not men. Alys may be the acknowledged queen of Women's Well—the fledgling colony where women hold equal status with men—but she cares little for politics in the wake of an appalling personal trage In this feminist fantasy series, the ability to do magic has given women control over their own bodies. But as the patriarchy starts to fall, they must now learn to rule as women, not men. Alys may be the acknowledged queen of Women's Well—the fledgling colony where women hold equal status with men—but she cares little for politics in the wake of an appalling personal tragedy. It is grief that rules her now. But the world continues to turn. In a distant realm unused to female rulers, Ellin struggles to maintain control. Meanwhile, the king of the island nation of Khalpar recruits an abbess whom he thinks holds the key to reversing the spell that Alys's mother gave her life to create. And back in Women's Well, Alys's own half-brother is determined to bring her to heel. Unless these women can all come together and embrace the true nature of female power, everything they have struggled to achieve may be at risk.


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In this feminist fantasy series, the ability to do magic has given women control over their own bodies. But as the patriarchy starts to fall, they must now learn to rule as women, not men. Alys may be the acknowledged queen of Women's Well—the fledgling colony where women hold equal status with men—but she cares little for politics in the wake of an appalling personal trage In this feminist fantasy series, the ability to do magic has given women control over their own bodies. But as the patriarchy starts to fall, they must now learn to rule as women, not men. Alys may be the acknowledged queen of Women's Well—the fledgling colony where women hold equal status with men—but she cares little for politics in the wake of an appalling personal tragedy. It is grief that rules her now. But the world continues to turn. In a distant realm unused to female rulers, Ellin struggles to maintain control. Meanwhile, the king of the island nation of Khalpar recruits an abbess whom he thinks holds the key to reversing the spell that Alys's mother gave her life to create. And back in Women's Well, Alys's own half-brother is determined to bring her to heel. Unless these women can all come together and embrace the true nature of female power, everything they have struggled to achieve may be at risk.

30 review for Queen of the Unwanted

  1. 5 out of 5

    Abi (The Knights Who Say Book)

    ......sigh I actually think this book was better than the first book in many ways, but it also made the first book's flaws even more strikingly obvious. Every single person in this book is heterosexual. Every single person is cisgender. The only fat person is disgustingly evil, and is shamed almost as much for being fat as for being evil. There are still no confirmed characters of color, but the extremely pale characters are sort of discriminated against? I don't think this book is trying to pull ......sigh I actually think this book was better than the first book in many ways, but it also made the first book's flaws even more strikingly obvious. Every single person in this book is heterosexual. Every single person is cisgender. The only fat person is disgustingly evil, and is shamed almost as much for being fat as for being evil. There are still no confirmed characters of color, but the extremely pale characters are sort of discriminated against? I don't think this book is trying to pull a reverse-racism plot but it's... getting awkwardly close to doing that. There was one single attempt at intersectional feminism in the form of a blind character who does not wish for or take a magical cure. It surprised me that Jenna Glass resisted the temptation to do what every single fantasy book seems to need to do to disabled characters, but so far she has resisted it. Good for her in that one specific area, and in no other area. I don't know what else to say about the complete lack of diversity in this book. It's just appalling. How can you set out to write a feminist fantasy series in 2020 without ever remembering or considering or hinting at the fact that being marginalized in ways besides being cis female affects your experience and needs and activism? Does Jenna Glass know that gay people exist? This is an honest question that I am concerned about. Every way in which this book did political intrigue and plot twists well are overshadowed by how painfully underdeveloped the world is. It lacks even the most basic nod to the idea that cis, straight, white women are not the only women, much less that more marginalized women have even harder circumstances. "Give us all the unwanted women!" Queen of the Unwanted cries. "We value them!" "Including trans women and gay women and fat women and women of color?" the reader inquires. "Who?" Queen of the Unwanted asks. Edit: review changed to one star. Sometimes the way people react to criticism of a book reveals a lot about the kind of worldview that book encourages. The more people force me to think about this book, the more flaws I see.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

    well...the day has finally come...where I support a mid-series cover change. ~~~~Actual Review~~~~ oh my goodness this world is a mess. It makes me feel better about living in a time and continent where Americans just...decide a pandemic is over cause they don't wanna do that anymore and...we have murder hornets. This is a super political maneuvering heavy book so if you're not a fan of that...I just don't think this series is really for you. It continues to tackle a lot of stuff that revolves aro well...the day has finally come...where I support a mid-series cover change. ~~~~Actual Review~~~~ oh my goodness this world is a mess. It makes me feel better about living in a time and continent where Americans just...decide a pandemic is over cause they don't wanna do that anymore and...we have murder hornets. This is a super political maneuvering heavy book so if you're not a fan of that...I just don't think this series is really for you. It continues to tackle a lot of stuff that revolves around societal rules of the sexes and genders and that ICONIC toxic masculinity. I would like more. Thank ya!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    3.5 stars You can read all of my reviews at https://www.NerdGirlLovesBooks.com This is the second book in a fantasy series about how three different women - one a queen, one the crown princess of a new principality, and one the Abbess of an abbey - try to lead their people, and help women take back power over their bodies and their lives that had previously been denied by the men that ruled over them. In this book, Queen Ellin becomes more adept at ruling her kingdom, but still makes mistakes and 3.5 stars You can read all of my reviews at https://www.NerdGirlLovesBooks.com This is the second book in a fantasy series about how three different women - one a queen, one the crown princess of a new principality, and one the Abbess of an abbey - try to lead their people, and help women take back power over their bodies and their lives that had previously been denied by the men that ruled over them. In this book, Queen Ellin becomes more adept at ruling her kingdom, but still makes mistakes and often must rely on guidance from one member of her Council and Zarsha, the man who wants to marry her. She is barely hanging on to her crown, isn't sure who she can trust, and faces one adversity after another. Alys is also facing challenges in getting recognized by other kingdoms, as well as setting up trade agreements necessary for the survival of her young principality. Every day that Women's Well is not recognized brings it closer to invasion and possible annihilation. She must make hard decisions for the better of her new kingdom that take a personal toll on her already fragile psyche. To add another level of conflict, the fervent king of the island nation of Khalpar orders his abbess to find a way to reverse the spell (women refer to it as a "blessing", men call it a "curse") that changed the world. The abbess agrees to do it, but has ulterior motives for doing so. Once again, this long book (592 pages) could do with some serious editing. Like the first one, 200-250 pages of this book could be cut without losing any of the story. Also like the first book, the story unfolds slowly. It focuses on the female rulers' struggles to lead their people and avoid wars. The main characters are developed further, although they don't make nearly as much progress as you would expect in a 592 page book. Ellin struggles with self-doubt, and Alys wallows in pain and misery, for much of the book. At a certain point something needs to give, but nothing changes much. This gets tedious to read. Overall, this is a good second book in the series and I look forward to reading the next book in the series. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Suz

    3.5 I felt like this one moved slowly until the end, and then rushed and left a lot unfinished. I realize this is a trilogy but I prefer a bit tidier endings even in a series. This one read a lot like a glimpse at the next book, although I appreciate the author not ending with a "stay tuned..." It's a good story. 3.5 I felt like this one moved slowly until the end, and then rushed and left a lot unfinished. I realize this is a trilogy but I prefer a bit tidier endings even in a series. This one read a lot like a glimpse at the next book, although I appreciate the author not ending with a "stay tuned..." It's a good story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Darcy

    I liked the first book, liked the short story the author put out, but man...I feel like I'm slogging through this one. The audio book, which usually works better for me with fantasy, is 25 hours long, so you know this is a monster book. I'm 10 hours in and every time I have to pause the book it's harder and harder to turn it back on. In fact I went the last hour with quiet because I just didn't want to listen any more. So I'm taking that as my clue that this one isn't for me. I think it's all th I liked the first book, liked the short story the author put out, but man...I feel like I'm slogging through this one. The audio book, which usually works better for me with fantasy, is 25 hours long, so you know this is a monster book. I'm 10 hours in and every time I have to pause the book it's harder and harder to turn it back on. In fact I went the last hour with quiet because I just didn't want to listen any more. So I'm taking that as my clue that this one isn't for me. I think it's all the political machinations that are doing me in, along with all the men being petty in not wanting to loose power and thinking women are less. I can't do it today.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lesa Divine

    3.5 🌟 I enjoyed but not as much as book 1. Lot more politics in this one. New characters added on that we the readers had to get to know. Kingdoms still against each other. Hald brother putting his kingdom in jeopardy due that his sister Alys has claimed the new Well as Women's Well with their own rules braking away from her kingdom. It was okay. Felt I wasn't satisfied with how some characters ended tales. Thought more revenges will pay off and be more satisfying to me. 3.5 🌟 I enjoyed but not as much as book 1. Lot more politics in this one. New characters added on that we the readers had to get to know. Kingdoms still against each other. Hald brother putting his kingdom in jeopardy due that his sister Alys has claimed the new Well as Women's Well with their own rules braking away from her kingdom. It was okay. Felt I wasn't satisfied with how some characters ended tales. Thought more revenges will pay off and be more satisfying to me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anne - Books of My Heart

    This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart   Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. The Women's War series has the usual historical fantasy world where women have almost no choices. Their primary worth is to bear an heir for men in the patriarchal society. Men control the magic. Men can also choose to send women to a whorehouse for the "unwanted."  This includes wives who can't have children, or if t This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart   Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. The Women's War series has the usual historical fantasy world where women have almost no choices. Their primary worth is to bear an heir for men in the patriarchal society. Men control the magic. Men can also choose to send women to a whorehouse for the "unwanted."  This includes wives who can't have children, or if the man wants someone else, or even daughters.  There, the unwanted are bought for sex or toil in creating spells, where the earnings go to the kingdom. In the first book, Women's War, there were considerable battles and the primary characters were women. They were women of royal families.  Their magic bloodlines were powerful and one created a spell to give women power over their own fertility. Men were not happy.  One women leaves her kingdom and finds a new magic well and forms a new kingdom.  Another woman becomes queen when her grandfather and parents are both dead. So now two kingdoms are ruled by women. Queen of the Unwanted is more of a character study with much less action and battle. I kept expecting a big fight. Men were not happy and kept trying to undermine the women. Unfortunately for them, the woman were fairly successful in their politics and magic.   We continue to get the story of Alys and her struggles with ruling the new Women's Well, and Ellin, the ruler of Rosenam(?) has trade agreements and her own marriage to negotiate.  The other women who are primary are two unwanted women from the Abbey in Khalpar who are set to work to find a cure for the spell. I alternated between liking and hating them. The men are struggling with their lack of control and their anger at the women's abilities and new power. They have no trouble being greedy, dishonest, and ruthless to get their way.  Even the "good" guys have some difficulty. Two men from royal families are part of the arranged marriages, now negotiated by women, and while this is a normal event, they are really not happy. It's odd because it would have happened to them even if the rulers were men.  So their happiness seems a bit more because women are involved in the deciding? The pace was more even with only a few scenes of action.  I did enjoy the characters and the magic.  The book is not a cliffhanger but there are some huge plot lines to explore in the next outing.  I'll be looking forward to it! Narration: Robin Miles is the narrator of this world for me.  The male and female voices sounded appropriate.  I enjoyed listening at my normal 1.5x speed. Listen to a clip:  https://soundcloud.com/penguin-audio/...  

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I wanted to like this as well as I did the first one, but I think it just didn't go quite as well. I did not really like one of the story lines as well, and just didn't feel as involved as the first one. And, towards the end, I was really turned off by a moment of fat-shaming. I know we aren't supposed to like Delmanel, and I didn't really care that he was a fat person, but I did object to his fatness being presented as part of his weaknesses of character, and of the times others used this to th I wanted to like this as well as I did the first one, but I think it just didn't go quite as well. I did not really like one of the story lines as well, and just didn't feel as involved as the first one. And, towards the end, I was really turned off by a moment of fat-shaming. I know we aren't supposed to like Delmanel, and I didn't really care that he was a fat person, but I did object to his fatness being presented as part of his weaknesses of character, and of the times others used this to think less of him and once to actually say they were repulsed by him. Was this necessary? Knocked my 3.5 down to a 3.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    You can also read my review here: https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress.... Review: 5 Stars As soon as I finished reading The Women’s War I needed to start reading the sequel, especially after that ending. While I expected it to be great, I didn’t expect to love it even more than The Women’s War. When reading books as large as these epic fantasies there are typically times that I get bored or the pacing struggles. Not only did I tear through these thick books, I didn’t want them to end. I actually You can also read my review here: https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress.... Review: 5 Stars As soon as I finished reading The Women’s War I needed to start reading the sequel, especially after that ending. While I expected it to be great, I didn’t expect to love it even more than The Women’s War. When reading books as large as these epic fantasies there are typically times that I get bored or the pacing struggles. Not only did I tear through these thick books, I didn’t want them to end. I actually put off reading the last chapter for an entire day because I didn’t want the book to end. Queen of the Unwanted is an incredible follow up to The Women’s War. It’s a political fantasy and once again there are multiple plot lines in play and all of the political manuvering made for a compelling plot. This is a character driven series, but whille the pace is slow there was never a dull moment. I was so incested in the story, it’s world ant the characters that I was completely absorbed in every minute of the book. This is an incredibly well written political fantasy, if you enjoy political manuvering and multiple plot lines, this is one series you won’t want to miss. As I mentioned previously, this is a character driven novel and while I loved all of the characters in the previous novel there are some new characters introduced in this installment. Marisol was my favorite character that was introduced in this book. She is an extremely morally grey character and I absolutely loved watching her grow throughout the course of this story. I also loved Alys’ character arc in this installment. She was so vulnerable, yet remained so strong at the same time. i love that this series focuses on all types of women as they fight against adversity and for freedom. While this novel takes place in a fantasy world it’s an incredible story about how strength comes in different forms. Some women in this story are vulnerable while others are cold, but they show that bravery and strength come in many different forms. The world Jenna Glass built is probably my favorite aspect of the series. These books encompass several kingdoms and courts, yet it doesn’t feel overwhelming and I could keep track of the different kingdoms and all of the events occurring in each. The magic system is really cool and this sequel expands upon everything in the first book and by the way it ends you can see that there is room for the world to continue to expand. I fell in love with the world and the magic system. The way it was written made it so easy to sink into and the world came to life so vividly in my mind. I felt like I was watching every minute of this book unfold in my head and could easily understand the magic, the differing cultures in the kingdoms and the settings. I really did not want this book to end. I’m so invested in this world and the lives of all of these characters. I could not be happier that I stumbled upon this amazing epic fantasy series. The only complain that I have is that I have to wait for the next book! This book ended in a truly epic way just like the first book, so I can not wait to get my hands on the next installment. If you love political fantasies of an epic scale about brave women fighting for justice and freedom then do yourself a favor and pick up this series right away!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    I received a galley of this book from NetGalley. Glass's feminist fantasy series started off with The Women's War, establishing an epic fantasy world where women are chattel who are not allowed to practice magic, and if their dominant men are displeased with them in any way, women and girls can be cast off to abbeys--essentially, government-run bordellos. Within the book, an incredible, multi-generational magic effort is made to correct this gender imbalance. The repercussions of this rattle the I received a galley of this book from NetGalley. Glass's feminist fantasy series started off with The Women's War, establishing an epic fantasy world where women are chattel who are not allowed to practice magic, and if their dominant men are displeased with them in any way, women and girls can be cast off to abbeys--essentially, government-run bordellos. Within the book, an incredible, multi-generational magic effort is made to correct this gender imbalance. The repercussions of this rattle the entire world, literally and figuratively. Queen of the Unwanted carries on soon after that catastrophic event (for men), following different characters around the world as they grieve, love, and scheme amid the changing order. This epic fantasy setting feels fresh, and there is absolutely nothing predictable about the plot. Usually I can guess how things will end--nope! Glass excels at deft turns of plots, and her characters are incredible. In particular, there is a vital character who is a true antagonist, seeking to undo the mighty spell that gives women more power--and I hated her and deeply sympathized with her all at once. That's good writing.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Edward Silverman

    This innovative series continues in book 2, and I enjoyed this one immensely, though it was a more conventional fantasy book in many ways. Some of the criticisms I had of the first one-not enough female antagonists, over-reliance on fat = evil have been completely remediated in this novel. The story does not have as many army on army battles as the first book, but there is a wealth of court intrigue to have the plot going forward. The theme of exploring the female POV by swapping gender roles co This innovative series continues in book 2, and I enjoyed this one immensely, though it was a more conventional fantasy book in many ways. Some of the criticisms I had of the first one-not enough female antagonists, over-reliance on fat = evil have been completely remediated in this novel. The story does not have as many army on army battles as the first book, but there is a wealth of court intrigue to have the plot going forward. The theme of exploring the female POV by swapping gender roles continues, particularly in the depictions of marriage negotiations where the men are the pawns. As most middle books do, this one had to do a lot of work setting up pieces for the next book, which I think will be the concluding novel of a trilogy. It was particularly interesting seeing the female leaders deal with events, and contrast that with the male leaders on the board, particularly the chief antagonist. This has a unique feel in many ways, but in particular, fans of NK Jemisin, Janny Wurts, and Kameron Hurley's Mirror empire will like this series. While the plot of this book felt a lot more familiar than the first one, it allowed the central theme of the series, the examination of Fantasy through a feminist lens, to shine, and I thought it worked well. Worth reading for the exposure to a POV you still don't see that often in SFF.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Shelby

    *I received a free copy to read & review for Wicked Reads* Queen of the Unwanted is the 2nd book in The Women's War series, which is classified as "women's literature" although I believe anyone could, and should, enjoy it! In this fantasy world kings rule, unwanted women are delegated to the Abbey (brothel), and magic is wielded based on sex. While the above statement is the truth, we are now seeing the changes taking effect after the world shaking Blessing/Curse (depending on who you ask) has be *I received a free copy to read & review for Wicked Reads* Queen of the Unwanted is the 2nd book in The Women's War series, which is classified as "women's literature" although I believe anyone could, and should, enjoy it! In this fantasy world kings rule, unwanted women are delegated to the Abbey (brothel), and magic is wielded based on sex. While the above statement is the truth, we are now seeing the changes taking effect after the world shaking Blessing/Curse (depending on who you ask) has been cast. A spell that takes just a tiny sliver of power away from the men and awards it back to women... this little thing has thrown the world into a tail spin. This book continues where Women's War left off. Alys has been awarded the position of Sovereign of Women's Well, and while she's the leader she is dealing with a devastating loss. She's a mother, a daughter, a sister, and a leader. She's also the sworn enemy to her homeland, and declared a traitor by her half-brother. She's dealing with many things and doing the best she can for her new principality, but will it be enough? What I love about this series is that every single character has a story. All the females (Queen Ellinsoltah, Kailee, Chanlix, and Mairahsol) have something that makes them human, they have flaws but they never give up. I must mention that even the female villain in this book, one I truly despised, totally shocked me. I would never guess that I could empathize with this woman, I wouldn't think I could like her...and here I am, still thinking about her. This story takes the patriarchal society and is turning it on it's head. I love the magical elements, the political intrigue, the character building, and even the budding romance. I will mention that this book took a while to build up, but by 40% I was completely enthralled and didn't put it down until I was done!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Crystal King

    I loved Jenna Glass's first book in this series and was really looking forward to this one. I did struggle a bit more to get into the book despite that...it was a little bit of a slog through the politics., That said, I love the characters and could rally behind their struggle to own their bodies and not be beholden to men.. I was left wondering if there was another book coming or not...which I hope is the case! I loved Jenna Glass's first book in this series and was really looking forward to this one. I did struggle a bit more to get into the book despite that...it was a little bit of a slog through the politics., That said, I love the characters and could rally behind their struggle to own their bodies and not be beholden to men.. I was left wondering if there was another book coming or not...which I hope is the case!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Julianne

    I liked this book less than the last in the series. I really liked the main characters in the last book and they were featured a lot less and showed little growth in this one. Unfortunately, the new viewpoint character was pretty odious for most of the book with only brief moments of redemption. I thought this was a solid three star until the end which I really liked. Looking forward to the next one!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jo (Mixed Book Bag)

    Interesting but typical of the middle books of a trilogy. There is a lot going on as more is revealed. The characters are more fully developed and the world building is more complete. The action is there to get everyone in place for the next book. Nothing is really settled. Just awaiting the next book in the Women's War series. Interesting but typical of the middle books of a trilogy. There is a lot going on as more is revealed. The characters are more fully developed and the world building is more complete. The action is there to get everyone in place for the next book. Nothing is really settled. Just awaiting the next book in the Women's War series.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mainon

    Bought the Kindle version the same day I finished #1 and read it right away. Imho an excellent followup that I enjoyed immensely -- some different aspects of the world are fleshed out here -- though a new primary character is introduced who wasn't my favorite. Her arc, however, was satisfying. Bought the Kindle version the same day I finished #1 and read it right away. Imho an excellent followup that I enjoyed immensely -- some different aspects of the world are fleshed out here -- though a new primary character is introduced who wasn't my favorite. Her arc, however, was satisfying.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Alys may be the acknowledged queen of Women’s Well—the fledgling colony where women hold equal status with men—but she cares little for politics in the wake of an appalling personal tragedy. It is grief that drives her now. But the world continues to turn. In a distant realm unused to female rulers, Ellin struggles to maintain control. Meanwhile, the king of the island nation of Khalpar recruits an abbess who he thinks holds the key to reversing the spell that Alys’s mother gave her life to creat Alys may be the acknowledged queen of Women’s Well—the fledgling colony where women hold equal status with men—but she cares little for politics in the wake of an appalling personal tragedy. It is grief that drives her now. But the world continues to turn. In a distant realm unused to female rulers, Ellin struggles to maintain control. Meanwhile, the king of the island nation of Khalpar recruits an abbess who he thinks holds the key to reversing the spell that Alys’s mother gave her life to create. And back in Women’s Well, Alys’s own half brother is determined to bring her to heel. Unless these women can come together and embrace the true nature of female power, everything they have struggled to achieve may be at risk. (I usually write my own summaries, but I felt it better I take it from Amazon this time) You know that feeling of, when you come into a conversation in the middle, you kind of know what the others are talking about, but not really? That’s how I felt while reading this entire book. It makes sense, though, because I did not read the first book. It’s my own fault, really, as I wished for it on Netgalley and was approved for it months ago and probably assumed I’d read the first book before the second one published. Oops. That never happened. Still, I did manage to enjoy this book, it just feels harder to review. The Characters: Men vs. Women or Women vs. Men Considered a feminist fantasy, this trilogy pits women against men. Or is that men against women? Anyways, it’s centered around the kings, queens, and sovereign princes and princesses who rule the various kingdoms that make up the Seven Wells, though there are a number of non-royal characters, like a scheming abbess and a charming young lady who happens to be able to only see magical elements. I think there are some characters who were meant to be hated and others the reader is supposed to sympathize with. At least, that’s how it felt to me. So many characters were distasteful, especially in their treatment of each other whether or not the other person was male or female, while others seemed to be counterpoints with how sweet and morally good they appeared to be. The one thing I found interesting was that men had clearly been the dominant sex, but that didn’t keep them from being manipulated and used too differently than a woman usually was. As a female reader, I felt myself identifying more with the female characters, but it didn’t stop me from disliking those who were just as cruel as the men. And the men! Most of that lot seemed downright loathsome. In a society where women are subservient to men and considered property, I found it strange that more people didn’t run away to the newly created Women’s Well kingdom where women were viewed more as equals. I’d like to name particular characters, but none of them and all of them feel highlighted in my mind. None of them were paragons of virtue and some of the women were just as bad as the men. There were plenty of awful characters. Still, they were painted as being human with their own morals and beliefs, and watching all of that be stirred together created a fascinating story. The Setting: Absolutely Fascinating I have to admit I’m not too clear on this world because, as I mentioned, I haven’t read the first book. I did gather that this is a world where there are seven wells (hence the name Seven Wells for the entire region) that spew out magical elements that are male, female, or neutral and each kingdom is based around one of these wells. The newest, eighth well is Women’s Well, which is ruled by Sovereign Princess Alysoon, who also happens to be the half-sister of the King of neighboring Aaltah, who definitely doesn’t want his sister on any kind of throne. Most of the kingdoms are ruled by men, of course, except for Women’s Well and nearby Rhozinolm, where a young queen reigns because, I suppose it happened in the first book, every other heir before her perished. Much of this world came into focus for me through the various trade agreements these kingdoms had with each other. Considering there are two women in power, the court politics and the economics of this world painted a world that’s, overall, quite bleak for women as unwanted women are thrown into an abbey where they are little more than prostitutes, and women are only considered useful if they can marry well and bear and heir. Anyways, the negotiations the male and female rulers found themselves in helped to really highlight this battle of the sexes. The women were demeaned and the men felt like they had all the power, but the women still had some power over other things. Overall, I found this world to be intriguing, not so much in terms of landscape, but just in how the society had been built and how it was actively evolving, albeit slowly. The magic was also fascinating. Magical elements are spewed from the wells and people can see a different number of them. There are feminine, masculine, and neutral elements that seem to fall along the gender lines, so men can’t really see feminine elements. They are used to activate spells and I think they’re also used to create potions and spells, but I’m not too sure. However, it sounds fascinating and quite different from most other fantasy I’ve read. I like how the magic is just floating around in the air, waiting to be used, instead of needing to be drawn from the individual. The Plot: The Story of an Abbess This book is a continuation from the first book. I have no idea what happened in the first book, but, from what I gathered, it didn’t seem to be any less manipulative than this second book, but perhaps it was a bit more deadly. After all, several people that were mentioned were no longer living, so I am surmising they perished in the first book. This second book felt more like Mairahsol’s story than anyone else’s. A Sister in an Abbey of the Unwanted, she’s power hungry and vengeful, but her character showed a surprising amount of growth that really helped drive this book forward. It was about her rise and fall and how her actions will lead to whatever happens in the third book. This book also followed several other characters, notably the many rulers of the Seven Wells and those close to them. There was a great deal of court intrigue and politics. Some of it was hard to keep up with because I missed out on the first book, but a lot of it was easy to figure out. Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling of walking into a conversation halfway through. I spent most of this book confused, but still enjoying the characters, world, and story. It was a strange feeling. As hard as it sometimes felt to follow the story, it did move along. Sometimes it felt unrelenting because I was trying so hard to figure out what was going on, but, once I decided to just stop and enjoy the story, it was a lot of fun to read. I became torn between whether I liked or disliked the characters and found myself screaming in my head for one thing or another to happen. There were times when I thought something would happen, only for it to not, which was always a pleasant surprise because sometimes what I thought would happened turned out to be quite sexist! Overall: Enjoyable, but Read the First Book First Overall, this was an enjoyable read despite the lingering confusion. I found myself enjoying and hating the various characters and enjoyed being swept up in the court politics. There were so many underhanded things going on and so many machinations. It was so hard sometimes to figure out who to trust, but the characters seemed to have been crafted from certain molds that held true, so it was mostly easy to figure out whether they were trustworthy or not. I loved that they each had their own motives and that they felt like real people. While the characters were fun, this felt more like a plot-driven book, but the characters and world worked so well with it that I didn’t even notice most of the time. All three elements worked in perfect harmony, making this a pleasure to read even though I didn’t understand pieces of it. Thank you to Del Rey and Netgalley for a free e-ARC. All opinions expressed are my own.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    I really love this series! The idea of a class of women magically forcing liberation and the shockwaves, literal, political, and social, that it caused in the world is fantastic. The magic system is really interesting. I love the continued development of the characters as well as the introduction/redemption of some of the old characters. She excels as making sympathetic anti-heroes. The political maneuverings are fresh and interesting. As the second book in the series, I think it went a little s I really love this series! The idea of a class of women magically forcing liberation and the shockwaves, literal, political, and social, that it caused in the world is fantastic. The magic system is really interesting. I love the continued development of the characters as well as the introduction/redemption of some of the old characters. She excels as making sympathetic anti-heroes. The political maneuverings are fresh and interesting. As the second book in the series, I think it went a little slower. There was a lot of set-up happening for the rest (the conclusion?) of the series. I'm really glad I got to read it early and I'm definitely keeping an eye out for the next one!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Ruth (Oracleofmadness)

    Glass deals with political schemes and intrigue while also using her voice to create a realistic world after the spell that created what some call The Blessing and others, (mostly men) call The Curse. This has given women a way to control their own bodies and because of this, their lives as well. Deals with feminism and women's rights in the best way possible, also how men and women react to one another in this new society in which there are some places that women are leaders. I also loved how th Glass deals with political schemes and intrigue while also using her voice to create a realistic world after the spell that created what some call The Blessing and others, (mostly men) call The Curse. This has given women a way to control their own bodies and because of this, their lives as well. Deals with feminism and women's rights in the best way possible, also how men and women react to one another in this new society in which there are some places that women are leaders. I also loved how the author touched on a womans ability to defend herself against an attacker and some important skills that should be widely known about self-defense. This sequel has a provocative ending and I'm looking forward to the next addition to The Women's War series.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    It took me a while to get into the first book, but the Women's War totally hooked me by the end. Obviously I had to devour this one as soon as I saw it and I was not disappointed. Glass continued to surprise me with twists and turns she took with the story. I had some suspicions that certain events from the first novel weren't as they seemed and it was gratifying to see that I was both right and wrong. I'm looking forward to the next in the series! Thanks to Del Rey and NetGalley for the eARC. It took me a while to get into the first book, but the Women's War totally hooked me by the end. Obviously I had to devour this one as soon as I saw it and I was not disappointed. Glass continued to surprise me with twists and turns she took with the story. I had some suspicions that certain events from the first novel weren't as they seemed and it was gratifying to see that I was both right and wrong. I'm looking forward to the next in the series! Thanks to Del Rey and NetGalley for the eARC.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marlene

    Originally published at Reading Reality I picked up this book because for the most part I enjoyed the starting book in this series, The Women’s War. But I have to say that I found the message of that first book to sometimes be heavy-handed. Not enough to spoil my enjoyment, but more than enough to make me wonder what would happen next. Queen of the Unwanted certainly carries on directly from the events in The Women’s War, making it impossible for any reader to start here and make any sense of curr Originally published at Reading Reality I picked up this book because for the most part I enjoyed the starting book in this series, The Women’s War. But I have to say that I found the message of that first book to sometimes be heavy-handed. Not enough to spoil my enjoyment, but more than enough to make me wonder what would happen next. Queen of the Unwanted certainly carries on directly from the events in The Women’s War, making it impossible for any reader to start here and make any sense of current events. Or, honestly, to care about what happens to the characters. This is definitely a middle book, with all the inherent problems therein. Which means not only that you can’t start here, but that it fulfills the sense at the end of the first book, that the situation our heroines, Princess Alysoon of Women’s Well and Queen Ellinsoltah of Rhozinolm are at a point in both of their stories where things are dark and turning darker – quite possibly as a prelude to turning completely black. So this is a story where more gets revealed but little gets resolved, setting the stage for the third book in the series at some future date. Hopefully not too far in our future, as this is a complicated series which makes picking up the action after a long hiatus a rather daunting affair for the reader. Although I’ll certainly be back, if only to find out what happens next! Escape Rating B-: I have to say that this book drove me absolutely bananas – and not always in a good way. I really did want to find out what happened after the earth-shaking events of the first book. But that means I wanted things to actually happen. This entry in the series, being a middle book, means that lots of people are maneuvering, and there is tons of political wrangling and shenanigans, but that in the end, not much happens. Or at least, not until the very end, when the action suddenly proceeds apace, only to leave readers with multiple terrible book hangovers as they wait for the next book. Whenever it appears. I listened to 80% of this and then read the rest. The audio was interesting enough to keep me occupied while driving, but when things picked up I couldn’t stand to continue at that slow pace. So, the story is slow going for a lot of its length. Of which there is rather a lot. And there are oodles of political machinations, but they don’t seem to go anywhere for much of the story. The big message in this one is that old saw about power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely. The history of this place is that men have had all the power, all the time, and now that women have carved out their own, tiny piece of it the men will do anything to get their absolute domination back. The message is extremely heavy handed, to the point where it gets overdone. The reader feels a bit bludgeoned by it – as many of the female characters are beaten and degraded on a frequent basis. The treatment of women in this entire world is utterly appalling. At the same time, the stakes are so high, and yet, particularly in Women’s Well, the behavior of both Princess Alys and her brother Tynthanal feels so petty and selfish. Neither of them seems to be thinking of the greater good of their beleaguered kingdom, but rather railing against all the things that are just not going their way in their personal lives. And the major villain of the piece does tip into over-the-top-ness and reaches villain fail. Not just that he is so inept he can’t possibly succeed at anything, but that it is amazing that his own country doesn’t depose him early on. He’s not just evil, he’s a bad king and it’s OBVIOUS. He is neither respected nor feared and that should be a short trip to a headsman’s axe. Instead, he becomes a figure of ridicule, not just to his court but to the reader. He has no self-control; neither over his temper nor his overindulgence in food and drink. His steadily increasing girth is meant to evoke the figure of Henry VIII, but Henry, for all his petulance, was an effective king which Delnamal NEVER is. Instead, the villain’s increasing weight becomes a vehicle for mockery and it just feels wrong. Speaking of things that feel wrong, one of the points I mentioned in my review of The Women’s War was the utter lack of same-sex relationships. This feels like a world where such relationships would have been frowned upon if not banned, but human nature happens. There’s a whole spectrum of it that isn’t happening here in circumstances like the all-male army barracks and the all-female abbeys for unwanted women where it feels like it would have. I know I’m complaining a lot about a book that I gave a B- rating to. I liked this story. I liked the first book better but I’m still very interested in seeing what happens. Even if it drives me crazy yet again.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leiah Hunt

    First off, I want to thank Random House Publishing Group through NetGalley, for allowing me to read and review this book before it is released. Queen of the Unwanted is the sequel to The Women's War, and will not released until May 12th 2020. My review will be on the NetGalley website, Goodreads, Pinterest, and here. This book follows the main characters from the first book through out their journey and their adaption to the world with new magical elements. I am of the opinion that the female ch First off, I want to thank Random House Publishing Group through NetGalley, for allowing me to read and review this book before it is released. Queen of the Unwanted is the sequel to The Women's War, and will not released until May 12th 2020. My review will be on the NetGalley website, Goodreads, Pinterest, and here. This book follows the main characters from the first book through out their journey and their adaption to the world with new magical elements. I am of the opinion that the female characters are becoming much stronger in their roles. Which is kind of the point with "feminist" type storylines. I will admit that these types of books are not my favorite, but I enjoyed this book more than the first. I like a strong female character that has a bit of growing and overcomes a lot of different things in her life. As a mother, I have a hard time with tragedy that involves the loss of children. It does add an extra layer to the character and when they realize that they have strength, because of what they have been through, that moment is a good moment. It makes reading the painful moments worth it. I like that this author has the ability to make me the feel the emotions of her characters. Her writing style is fantastic. I am used to a bit more world building, and I like to stroll through the world inside the book. But that being said, you hardly notice because there is so much going on in the different kingdoms. Each kingdom and character seems to have a plot. They each have their own things happening outside the main plot. I will also say that the bouncing around between the characters and kingdoms was tiresome at certain points. I will have just settled into a character and whats currently happening and then it switches to someone else, sometimes right in the middle of the chapter, sometimes starting a new chapter. Spoiler Alert Delnamal is by far my most unliked character. Every book has one or two, and he is it for me. Jenna Glass did a great job with his character. He is a murdering pig, a coward. The things he does in the name of his kingdom, and he doesn't even really like his kingdom or himself it seems. He is a great villain. The hatred that he feels for his half-sister and half-brother is so tangible. Alysoon is the main character that strikes out on her own. She lost her daughter at the hands of her half-brother Delnamal, her son went to the citadel, she lost her husband and her father. She went from being someones, to being her own. She went from being property to being her own person. I believe that her character has grown the most and has great deal more growing to do. I really enjoyed the fast pace of the book, especially with the amount if detail and information that is thrown at the reader. I can see where some will think its too much information but I feel like the author did a good job by making the book fast paced. If everything went by a slow pace then it would too much. So, in a way, by bouncing around so much between the characters, its making the amount of information seem smaller. Ellin is queen, because her family is dead. She inherited her kingdom and has a council full of men who don't think she is fit to rule. But I see a strong willed woman who learns fast. She will make mistakes and then she will learn from them. She strikes me as the type that will admit when she is wrong and will learn from her mistakes. She makes hard choices, to the benefit of her kingdom, knowing full well that other people might not agree or my get emotionally upset. But her first duty is her kingdom and her people. I can see the conflict within her though. She wants things on an emotional level, but knows she can not have them in that capacity. I enjoy her character. So about half way through the book I felt it really got interesting. I couldn't put it down. I liked that it was even more fast paced. There were things that happened that I didn't see coming. I was pleasantly surprised. It was good through out the whole book, but REALLY good about half way through. I was a little disappointed with how Delnamal's character ended, but then it didn't. There's a little twist there and I am not sure where his character is headed. I think I see where its headed, but I am not going to speculate here. Readers should draw their own conclusions. I never base my reading a book off the reviews I read. Please give these book a chance. I highly recommend reading the first book first obviously. Its called The Women's War, as I mentioned above. That way you know whats going on and what leads up to this second book. If you like fast paced books, or books with lots of information and a healthy plot. Then these books are for you. But I can not express enough how much I liked these books, nor how pleased I am that I read them. I want to thank Random House Publishers again, through NetGalley, for granting me permission to review this book. If you want to know more about the author, Jenna Glass, please click here. Thank you for reading and please read these books. https://booksreadingauthors.wordpress...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I thoroughly enjoyed The Women's War by Jenna Glass, but the same cannot be said about its sequel, Queen of the Unwanted. In fact, I did not enjoy the reading of the sequel so much that I did contemplate marking it as a DNF. The only reason I did not do so was the fact that I wanted to give the author a chance to redeem herself and the story. Plus, I skimmed the last seventy-five percent of the novel to minimize the pain. When all else fails, skimming is your friend. Unlike that first novel, ther I thoroughly enjoyed The Women's War by Jenna Glass, but the same cannot be said about its sequel, Queen of the Unwanted. In fact, I did not enjoy the reading of the sequel so much that I did contemplate marking it as a DNF. The only reason I did not do so was the fact that I wanted to give the author a chance to redeem herself and the story. Plus, I skimmed the last seventy-five percent of the novel to minimize the pain. When all else fails, skimming is your friend. Unlike that first novel, there is so much to dislike in Queen of the Unwanted. First off, Ms. Glass provides no recap or reminder of what happened in the first book. There is nothing to refresh your memory on the numerous characters, the complex politics, and the magic that exists. You have to use context clues for most of it, but clues for how the magic works are few. While I appreciate the fact that the author tried to eliminate what can be a tedious part of any sequel, with the number of characters that narrate and the relative complexity of the world and its magic, to do nothing is a frustrating experience. Secondly, there is no action throughout the entirety of its 592 pages. The story is literally one political maneuver after another. There is more worry about trade agreements and alliances than anything else in the novel. If I wanted a story about economics and government negotiations, there are plenty of other books that exist that tackle that topic. I do not expect a feminist saga about magic and power to include such mundane topics for so long. Thirdly, there is absolutely no character development among any of its numerous characters. When I say numerous, I mean it too. If I remember correctly, there are at least seven different narrators around whom the story revolves. Yet, none of them show growth or maturity. All of them are jockeying for power in some fashion, but no one seems to be learning anything. Lastly, as the narrators are solely in the upper echelons of their respective cultures, we never see how their decisions impact their citizens. We get hints that some of their policy decisions are not popular or have devastating effects for the lower classes, but we only see this world through its leaders. I am not a fan. While the first novel was a fantastic example of feminist literature, there again is another area in which Queen of the Unwanted leaves me wanting. The only truly feminist idea in the novel is that it shows that women can lead a country as well as, or better, than men. Unfortunately, we don't really see these female leaders do much of anything except negotiating political marriages for themselves or for others. Plus, we see the two other female leaders fight amongst themselves for power, showing the very same dangerous female relationships that any working woman will understand. The use of marriage as a political gambit does not feel very feminist to me, and no one wants to see yet another example of toxic female coworker relationships. So, the very thing which made The Women's War so impressive is practically nonexistent in the sequel. Sequels tend to get a bad reputation for not being as strong or good as its predecessor, but rarely have I come across a sequel that is almost its predecessor's opposite, as is the case with Queen of the Unwanted. I remain shocked that a sequel could turn its back on everything which made the original story so good. The lack of action, the absence of character development, the missing recaps to tie the two stories together - they call combine to create a reading experience best avoided. After all, there are plenty of good books out there more worthy of your attention.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Queen of the Unwanted is the second book in the Women's War by Jenna Glass. Released 12th May 2020 by Penguin Random House on their Del Rey imprint, it's 592 pages and available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. This is a fantasy trilogy which I fear will like Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Queen of the Unwanted is the second book in the Women's War by Jenna Glass. Released 12th May 2020 by Penguin Random House on their Del Rey imprint, it's 592 pages and available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. This is a fantasy trilogy which I fear will likely be stamped with a strong feminist label and miss a significant portion of its potential audience. It's a very well written epic saga with strong characters (both male and female) and an overarching slowly developing plot. It's the second in the series (though there's also a prequel), and does *not* work well as a standalone. In fact, my review was delayed because I wasn't able to give the book a good analysis without the background from the first book, so I had to go read that one before revisiting Queen of the Unwanted. I found the world building somewhat lacking, which is surprising and disappointing in a massive epic doorstop brick of a book (the kind with maps on the inside cover). Women have been brutalized and kept as chattel for centuries, and they've had just about enough, thank you very much. There are three central female characters, one a queen, one a crown princess, and one a Machiavellian abbess of a religious order (whose remit includes religious prostitution). I probably read more speculative fiction and fantasy than any other genre and I found this one a slog to finish. The plotting borders on glacial tempo. The characters struck me as self absorbed, tragic, or downright unlikable. That the author is quite adept at her craft is evident on every page. There wasn't any clunky or cringe-worthy writing; it's quite readable - I just found it a chore to pick up and finish. This one struck me as a lot more in the vein of Joe Abercrombie or Brian Sanderson than Octavia Butler, Margaret Atwood, or Sheri Tepper. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it *is* a thing. Three and a half stars, rounded up for the undeniably competent prose. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

  25. 5 out of 5

    WycEd Reader

    Check out our QUEEN OF THE UNWANTED post on Wicked Reads. Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team Shelby – ☆☆☆☆ Queen of the Unwanted is the second book in The Women's War series, which is classified as women's literature, although I believe anyone could, and should, enjoy it! In this fantasy world, kings rule, unwanted women are delegated to the Abbey (brothel), and magic is wielded based on sex. While the above statement is the truth, we are now seeing the changes taking effect after the world sh Check out our QUEEN OF THE UNWANTED post on Wicked Reads. Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team Shelby – ☆☆☆☆ Queen of the Unwanted is the second book in The Women's War series, which is classified as women's literature, although I believe anyone could, and should, enjoy it! In this fantasy world, kings rule, unwanted women are delegated to the Abbey (brothel), and magic is wielded based on sex. While the above statement is the truth, we are now seeing the changes taking effect after the world shaking Blessing/Curse (depending on who you ask) has been cast. A spell that takes just a tiny sliver of power away from the men and awards it back to women... this little thing has thrown the world into a tailspin. This book continues where The Women's War left off. Alys has been awarded the position of Sovereign of Women's Well, and while she's the leader, she is dealing with a devastating loss. She's a mother, a daughter, a sister, and a leader. She's also the sworn enemy to her homeland and declared a traitor by her half-brother. She's dealing with many things and doing the best she can for her new principality, but will it be enough? What I love about this series is that every single character has a story. All the females (Queen Ellinsoltah, Kailee, Chanlix, and Mairahsol) have something that makes them human, they have flaws but they never give up. I must mention that even the female villain in this book, one I truly despised, totally shocked me. I would never guess that I could empathize with this woman, I wouldn't think I could like her... and here I am, still thinking about her. This story takes the patriarchal society and is turning it on its head. I love the magical elements, the political intrigue, the character building, and even the budding romance. I will mention that this book took a while to build up, but by 40% I was completely enthralled and didn't put it down until I was done! Reviewers received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    I was slightly interested to read the sequel to Women's War but the time between reading book 1 and this coming out was quite long that I only had a vague memory of what had actually happened. But the themes of feminism, choice and inequality were strong in book one and thus I decided to pick this up. I was rather disappointed when I saw the cover for the sequel. First, it was very different from the hard cover the first book featured. I do like purple but felt this was meh. I liked following the I was slightly interested to read the sequel to Women's War but the time between reading book 1 and this coming out was quite long that I only had a vague memory of what had actually happened. But the themes of feminism, choice and inequality were strong in book one and thus I decided to pick this up. I was rather disappointed when I saw the cover for the sequel. First, it was very different from the hard cover the first book featured. I do like purple but felt this was meh. I liked following the stories of the main characters from book 1 like Alys, Ellin and Shelvon. This book introduces more characters and the kingdom of Khalpar. I was not very fond of Mairahsol and she takes a large part of this book. Even though she is scarred and is thrown into the Abbey, she schemes to make herself Abbess so she can take revenge on those who were cruel to her. I just could not like her character though I felt for her. I like Kailee and she is the first character who society would consider disabled but she is one of the smartest and positive characters in the series. She enters into an unusual relationship with Tynthanal because she marries him but he loves Chanlix. I liked that there wasn't the cattiness that is so often seen when it comes to romance. like oh we are going to be jealous and fight it out for this guy! Alys is trying to carry on after Jinnel's death and is struggling to help her son heal. Ellin is nowhere near the trade agreements she originally had with Nandel. I particularly liked that she grows closer to Zarsha and wished they had more scenes together. I am glad that the author did not make their interactions overtly sexual. Shelvon has grown so much when she takes up sword wielding and self defense but yet she feels like she does not have a place in Women's Well. I could relate to her awkwardness to interact with others as a fellow introvert will. These women are trying so hard to be respected and to create a world where each gender has a fair say. I was cheering Women's Well on in their efforts. I enjoyed reading about how they try to be more progressive compared to the other kingdoms. Being a queen or princess of your people is not easy as Alys and Ellin learn. They face situations where they have to seperate their self from what they have to do for their kingdoms. It was nice to see that there was a mix of supportive male characters like Tynthanal, Marsha and Semsulin as well as the women haters like Delmanal. I still find these names really awkward to pronounce. This is a high fantasy book and has tons of political intrigue so at times it got too draggy for me and the story followed too many characters. There is still no cure for the Curse but thought it has been helping women, there are negatives too. I found the idea of the female elements very interesting and love that the Academy is working towards learning how to make use of them. But towards the end, I was pleasantly surprised that I would like to see what book three holds. I like the ideas that this book is covering like feminism and gender equality and though there is criticism for the world building. I think that the characters are likeable and I want to see them succeed.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Libriamo3116

    Thank you Random House, Del Rey Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me with a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Women have cast off the yoke of the oppressor after the Women's War, a fight waged against the men who treated them as little better than the house cat. Only the house cat had it better, because if the house cat displeased the man of the house, it wasn't sent off to become a sex slave. Faced with the liberation of their newfound freedom, but also Thank you Random House, Del Rey Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me with a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Women have cast off the yoke of the oppressor after the Women's War, a fight waged against the men who treated them as little better than the house cat. Only the house cat had it better, because if the house cat displeased the man of the house, it wasn't sent off to become a sex slave. Faced with the liberation of their newfound freedom, but also the accompanying societal and political turmoil, the women who fought the war must now figure out how to make the new world work for them, which won't be easy. While yes, women now have more power than they did before, magical power, many men still believe that women are lesser beings. In Women's Well, the new female stronghold of power, Queen Alys fights her own inner turmoil for the best path forward, while Queen Ellin fights the men around her for respect and allegiance to guide her people. Worse still, there is a woman working to undo the outcome of the Women's War, to break the strength and abilities of this new world's women, and return them to subjugation. Will women keep their liberty and retain governance of their fate, or will they tear each other asunder, leaving men to step on their neck once more?⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Queen of the Unwanted is a captivating novel that kept me turning the pages as these powerful women grappled with their enemies and their own inner voices. I felt that it was fairly realistic to see that you can't just win a war, snap your fingers, and suddenly the old enmities, customs, and power dynamics shift. It turns out that creating lasting change within society takes hard work, struggle, and some luck. Even then, if you're not careful, those who appreciated the old ways might scheme to tear apart everything that was fought for. If you're looking for the answer to the question of, "What happens when women decimate the patriarchy with ferocity?" then take a stroll with the Queen of the Unwanted.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Sonnier

    I was very excited to return to this world and now that I’ve finished the book I am disappointed. I’m mostly disappointed that it had the potential to be so much better. Because this book ranges around the world of Seven Wells rather than staying primarily focused in the two main countries (as the first book was) it becomes much more obvious how homogeneous everyone is. Only one country is called out as having people who look different, everyone else is the same. Clothing styles are all describe I was very excited to return to this world and now that I’ve finished the book I am disappointed. I’m mostly disappointed that it had the potential to be so much better. Because this book ranges around the world of Seven Wells rather than staying primarily focused in the two main countries (as the first book was) it becomes much more obvious how homogeneous everyone is. Only one country is called out as having people who look different, everyone else is the same. Clothing styles are all described similarly and the only difference that is discussed is color choice and modesty level. And the modesty level doesn’t vary that much. Then there’s languages.... only one different language gets called out and that only happens when there’s a convenient plot point for a character to not understand everyone around her. Then there are the missed opportunities to provide color, texture, and verisimilitude to the world. Repressive religion plays a HUGE role in how this world is shaped yet we do not see any detail on one single religious ceremony or observance. There’s even a wedding! Yet we get no description at all of the ceremony. And the magic system.... it’s a gendered magic system and would afford all kinds of opportunities for interesting stories involving transgender, non-binary, and gender fluid/queer characters. And yet everyone is straight and cisgender.... so much potential wasted! Then there’s the ending.... if there is another book to follow (I haven’t found it yet, but I could be missing something), then the ending is fine. It leaves enough loose ends to continue the story but it’s not quite a cliffhanger. But if this is it for this series then it’s very disappointing. There’s not enough resolution. In the end, it was a decent enough read and I don’t feel like I wasted my time or money, but I am disappointed over the unfulfilled potential. It could have been so much better.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    Title: Queen of the Unwanted Author: Jenna Glass Genre: Fantasy Rating: 4 out of 5 In this world, women have no rights. If their husband or father decide they’ve disgraced their family—for anything from not having a child quickly enough to a sideways look—they are sent away, usually to one of the Abbeys, where they are forced to pleasure any man who desires. They have no rights. They have no futures. They have no magic. At least, they didn’t… Alys is queen of Women’s Well, a new colony where women h Title: Queen of the Unwanted Author: Jenna Glass Genre: Fantasy Rating: 4 out of 5 In this world, women have no rights. If their husband or father decide they’ve disgraced their family—for anything from not having a child quickly enough to a sideways look—they are sent away, usually to one of the Abbeys, where they are forced to pleasure any man who desires. They have no rights. They have no futures. They have no magic. At least, they didn’t… Alys is queen of Women’s Well, a new colony where women have equal rights after the Women’s War. But Alys can’t bring herself to care about anything besides the loss of her daughter—and her own desire for vengeance. Her mother gave her life for the spell that gave women magic, but Alys finds it hard to see past her personal tragedy. Faced with opposition from men who still believe women have no rights, Ellin struggles to rule her land—and to change the status quo for men unused to women with power. An abbess thinks she can reverse the spell that changed the world—but all she really wants is to keep the power she has gained through cunning and treachery. Unless these women can find a way to work together, they will lose everything they have gained. I haven’t read The Women’s War—yet—but I still had no trouble following what was going on in Queen of the Unwanted. (I would recommend reading the first book, though, as I’m sure this novel would be much richer with that introduction.) Excellent writing and worldbuilding, and a great mix of characters: some I liked, some I disliked, some I actively hated. I recommend reading this—and I can’t wait to go back and read the first novel. (Galley courtesy of Del Rey in exchange for an honest review.) More reviews at Tomorrow is Another Day

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    THE LAST PART OF THIS BOOK OOOOH BOY As I mentioned with the first book, even though this is marketed as a "feminist fantasy," there are only cis characters, I'm pretty sure everyone is straight, and everyone (except for the Nadelites) is an ambiguous shade of brown. While the story does center women, it's wrong to tout this book as truly feminist when it only talks about a certain kind of woman. I also have a bit of beef with the worldbuilding. The worldbuilding is such that there isn't enough d THE LAST PART OF THIS BOOK OOOOH BOY As I mentioned with the first book, even though this is marketed as a "feminist fantasy," there are only cis characters, I'm pretty sure everyone is straight, and everyone (except for the Nadelites) is an ambiguous shade of brown. While the story does center women, it's wrong to tout this book as truly feminist when it only talks about a certain kind of woman. I also have a bit of beef with the worldbuilding. The worldbuilding is such that there isn't enough distinction between the countries. The only way you can tell them apart is the way they treat women and even then, Aaltah and Rozinholm and practically interchangeable. However, this didn't impede my enjoyment of the story. As for the characters, I wasn't too keen on Mairahsol at first, but I became more interested in what happened to her (view spoiler)[after she fled Women's Well and was captured in Aaltah. It kind of sucks that she died right after I started getting interested in her, but at the same time it was fitting for the story so I'm not really mad about it (hide spoiler)] . I also liked Kailee and honestly I want her (view spoiler)[to be in a relationship with both Chanlix and Tynthanal, but I kind of doubt that will happen since queer people don't exist in this world for some reason (hide spoiler)] . Ellin and Zarsha!! I'm honestly terrified of what's going to happen between them after (view spoiler)[ Ellin agreeded to Walmir's contract (hide spoiler)] . Tynthanal being asked to (view spoiler)[be the regent of Aaltah!! I don't know what's going to happen there, especially when it's revealed that Delnamal is still alived and being taken to Kalpar (hide spoiler)] . I ended up loving this book and I am dying for the third.

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