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Review: Thorn Queen by Richelle Mead

Thorn Queen (Dark Swan #2) by Richelle Mead
Urban Fantasy, Fae, Shapeshifters
Mass Market Paperback (ZEBRA, 384 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 1420100971
Eugenie Markham is a shaman for hire, paid to bind and banish creatures from the Otherworld. But after her last battle, she's also become queen of the Thorn Land. It's hardly an envious life, not with her kingdom in tatters, her love life in chaos, and Eugenie eager to avoid the prophecy about her firstborn destroying mankind. And now young girls are disappearing from the Otherworld, and no one--except Eugenie--seems willing to find out why.
Eugenie has spilled plenty of fey blood in her time, but this enemy is shrewd, subtle, and nursing a very personal grudge. And the men in her life aren't making things any easier. Her boyfriend Kiyo is preoccupied with his pregnant ex, and sexy fey king Dorian always poses a dangerous distraction. With or without their help, Eugenie must venture deep into the Otherworld and trust in an unpredictable power she can barely control. Reluctant queen or not, Eugenie has sworn to do her duty--even if it means facing the darkest--and deadliest--side of her nature...

Author Site: www.richellemead.com

A little bit of a sophomore slump... (4 stars)

Eugenie Markham used to think all gentry were evil, then she found out she was half-fae herself. Now she's juggling two lives. In one life she is a shaman-for-hire banishing baddies and gentry back where they belong. In the other she is the Thorn Queen, unsolicited ruler of a desert wasteland in the Otherworld. As if these two weren't difficult enough she has a boyfriend who is too busy caring for his pregnant ex, plenty of faery suitors wanting to father the grandson of Eugenie's evil gentry father, a missing teenaged half-sister who wants to be the sister who bears said grandson and somebody is kidnapping gentry girls from her kingdom which is already in trouble with the lack of resources the desert make-over gave it.

Now it's up to Eugenie to help the people she's become Queen to whether she really wants to or not. Finding resources, getting rid of demon-summoning bandits and tracking down the missing girls may prove to be just as troublesome as her out-of-whack lovelife. If Kiyo's distraction, Dorian's attraction and her newest would-be-consort don't drive her insane the secrets she's keeping in her Earthside life just might.

I really loved Storm Born. It was fresh, pretty fast-paced adventure with a hearty helping of smuttiness to round it out. Eugenie is a terrific heroine and the changes she went through brought her to a place I was excited to see explored more. But Thorn Queen just didn't quite live up to my expectations. There was simply way too much Kiyo and his pregnant ex wangst going on. It got more than a little annoying by the time I was halfway through the book. I really wanted to enjoy the story but I found that thread of plot so distracting (and I didn't like Kiyo much to begin with) that I wanted to skip pages. If you like Kiyo you may not like him this time around. I won't spoil anything but I did like where Eugenie ends up at the end of the book.

While I did still enjoy the world Mead has built I didn't really care for this storyline overall. It happens sometimes where you just don't know why an author chose the direction they went and you aren't all together thrilled with it. Does it advance the story and set us up for a third book? Certainly. I just wasn't comfortable with some of the themes explored here.

What I did like was Dorian. Yeah, yeah I know! He continues to be a bit elusive in his motives, he's hard to trust. But he's as sexy as ever and his involvement in Eugenie's story continues to be interesting. He's sort of that bad boy who might be a little good but he's so unpredictable he keeps me interested. I was also pleased that Eugenie was trying to do good by the land she didn't want.

Thorn Queen wasn't quite as good as Storm Born but I enjoyed it enough to keep reading the series and hope there's another one coming out soon!

Other Reviews:
Sarah's Book Reviews
Naked Sushi
Liviana @ The Good, The Bad and The Unread

Notes: I bought this book at a bookstore.

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