Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Book Review: The Lost Queen by Signe Pike

Pages: 527
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Touchstone
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Intelligent, passionate, rebellious, and brave, Languoreth is the unforgettable heroine of The Lost Queen, a tale of conflicted loves and survival set against the cinematic backdrop of ancient Scotland, a magical land of myths and superstition inspired by the beauty of the natural world. One of the most powerful early medieval queens in British history, Languoreth ruled at a time of enormous disruption and bloodshed, when the burgeoning forces of Christianity threatened to obliterate the ancient pagan beliefs and change her way of life forever.  Together with her twin brother Lailoken, a warrior and druid known to history as Merlin, Languoreth is catapulted into a world of danger and violence. When a war brings the hero Emrys Pendragon, to their door, Languoreth collides with the handsome warrior Maelgwn. Their passionate connection is forged by enchantment, but Languoreth is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of the High King who is sympathetic to the followers of Christianity. As Rhydderch's wife, Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way, her kingdom, and all she holds dear.  The Lost Queen brings this remarkable woman to life—rescuing her from obscurity, and reaffirming her place at the center of the most enduring legends of all time."

Languoreth and her twin brother, Lailoken, are the children of the king, but things aren't entirely happy in their household currently as they just lost their mother.  Their father, being a 6th century king, is often gone for long periods of time, so the children find themselves at home with their tutor as well as druid who often takes care of them.  One day, Languoreth encounters Ariane, a Wisdom Keeper, who pledges herself to Languoreth. This is just what she needs as she has been longing for a female presence in her life.  Their world is unsettling as their are enemies are surrounding and consequently, the war brings many warriors to their home including Pendragon and Maelgwn.  There's also the issue of Christianity reaching their shores and challenging their Celtic old beliefs.  The Lost Queen by Signe Pike is an interesting start to a new historical trilogy giving readers a new perspective on the Arthurian Legend surrounding Merlin and his long-forgotten queen sister. 

Languoreth is a character I instantly warmed up to in The Lost Queen. I felt for her after the recent death of her mother and readers could really feel the absence of her on the page. Languoreth is surrounded by mostly men, so when she meets Ariane, I was happy for her as she really needs some guidance.  But Ariane is a Wisdom Keeper, so what Languoreth is in store for might not be what readers were initially expecting. Also, as the story progresses and Languoreth ages, she meets warrior, Maelgwn, and sparks fly. I won't give away too much, but things get very complicated.

I really liked the idea of exposing a new story surrounding the person who inspired the character of Merlin and his twin sister, who happened to be a queen that's forgotten by history. I love uncovering  stories in history like this, especially if the character is female. I thought that Pike really brought the Dark Ages to life in The Lost Queen and really illustrated the clash between the old Celtic way of life along with Christianity.  

My issue with The Lost Queen is that parts of the story truly dragged. There were various times when reading this novel that I almost put it down for good even though I truly cared about Languoreth.  I felt that the writing lacked that special something at various points that keep readers completely engaged. Once we got to more action, I felt the pace quicken, but it took quite awhile to get to that point. I also am perplexed by the comparisons of The Lost Queen to Philippa Gregory as well as Outlander. That is a reach. A big one. Other than the setting of Scotland what on earth makes this novel similar to Outlander

If you are looking for the start of a new historical trilogy give The Lost Queen a try this fall. I am not sure I will continue with the trilogy, but by the novel's end I was glad I read it nonetheless.  Have you read The Lost Queen? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. 

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