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Audiobook Review: The Queen Will Betray You (Kingdoms of Sand and Sky #2)

Published July 6th 2021

Author: Sarah Henning

Narrator: Katherine Lee McEwan

Audiobook Length: 14 hours 44 minutes

The breathtaking sequel to The Princess Will Save You in the Kingdoms of Sand and Sky trilogy — a brilliantly-executed YA fantasy homage to The Princess Bride.

To stay together forever, Princess Amarande and her stableboy love, Luca, must part: Amarande to reclaim her kingdom from usurpers, and Luca to raise a rebellion and find his destiny. Arrayed against them are all the players in the game of thrones for control over the continent of The Sand and Sky. Facing unspeakable betrayals, enemies hidden in the shadows, and insurmountable odds, their only hope is the power of true love…

[The Princess Will Save You #1 Review]

The Queen Will Betray You is the second novel in the Kingdoms of Sand and Sky trilogy with the third novel due to publication in 2022. I believe that this was originally a duology that was expanded to a trilogy, so there are elements in this novel that conclude as a finale and some open-ended bits that leave room for the next novel. This story picks up right where The Princess Will Save You ends and continues to pull some inspiration from The Princess Bride. Luca and Amarande (Ama) are separated for most of the novel as each learn secrets about their pasts. Ama learns about her family and Luca learns more about the truth about his past.

During the first novel, I was not fully invested in Amarande and Luca, but this novel captivated me a lot more. Even if they were not together the whole time, I at least felt more connected to their story. I am not fully there, but it was an improvement from the first novel. Luca has grown on me a lot as a character as he was just an okay presence in the first novel. His character develops a lot over the course of the two books and it was nice to see his confidence build. I liked how his character still has the likeability from the first novel with his “newer” traits added on. It is nice when authors do this rather than have characters make sudden changes in their personality. Ama also grows a lot as a character as she goes through a lot in the story. She realizes that everything she knows might be wrong and now has to figure out how to move forward.

Prince Taillefer grew on me a lot during this novel compared to the previous. I love how complex his character became, as he is fascinating with a seemingly evil exterior and more hidden beneath the surface. I even loved his interactions with Ama, as they were interesting with a mix of tension and the very beginnings of friendship. From the first novel, there are many unforgivable actions, but it was still nice to see a villain perspective. It added a lot to the story by bringing some balance instead of having the entire focus on the side of the heroes. His history and his family were intense, so a lot of his character becomes more understandable to the reader. He may not be one that the reader wants to root for the whole time, but at least his character had a lot of dimension. I love when stories do this because there are some readers that will side with the villains, there are those that may not agree, but still have some understanding, and there are those that hate them. His complexity can definitely go for any of those options depending on the reader based on this part of the story.

There is a lot of political intrigue in this novel and there was many twists and turns. It is faster paced and more complex than the previous novel.  Each character has their own secrets, their own motivations, and their own potential for betrayal. At times, it can become fairly complex, which seems a little off-balance considering the first novel was a little simpler. However, I found myself more invested in this story than I was in the previous. There are new characters and the story is told from multiple perspectives. The inclusion of the Warlord of the Torrent was an excellent addition that added a lot of tension to the story.

Again, as this was originally a duology, a part of me is satisfied as a reader where I do not need to read a third novel. On the other hand, I am curious about how the final one in the trilogy will tie everything together to create the ending that the author intended. The series is an interesting one as usually I have a clearer idea if I love it or dislike it, but this one I am fairly on the fence. There is nothing super negative that makes me never want to read it again or continue to the next one, but there is nothing that makes it stand out to me. It is still good and I will be very interested to read the final novel and see how I feel about the series as a whole.

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