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12.21.2011

Review: The Fallen Queen by Jane Kindred

The Fallen Queen by Jane Kindred
Fantasy, Angels
Paperback $16.99 (342 pages, ENTANGLED PUBLISHING)
Ebook $4.99

Heaven can go to hell.
Until her cousin slaughtered the supernal family, Anazakia's father ruled the Heavens, governing noble Host and Fallen peasants alike. Now Anazakia is the last grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel'sk, and all she wants is to stay alive.
Hunted by Seraph assassins, Anazakia flees Heaven with two Fallen thieves--fire demon Vasily and air demon Belphagor, each with their own nefarious agenda--who hide her in the world of Man. The line between vice and virtue soon blurs, and when Belphagor is imprisoned, the unexpected passion of Vasily warms her through the Russian winter.
Heaven seems a distant dream, but when Anazakia learns the truth behind the celestial coup, she will have to return to fight for the throne--even if it means saving the man who murdered everyone she loved.

Author Site: janekindred.com

The most original fantasy you will read this year! (4 stars)

When her beloved family is slain by her cousin and dear friend, Anazakia, a grand duchess of the House of Arkhangel'sk, must flee the Heavens or face the same fate. As the last surviving member of the House of Arkhangel'sk, Anazakia's fate as the heir to Heaven's throne is thrust upon a pair of Fallen, demons with plans of ransom. Secreted away to the world of Man, Anazakia must rely on Belphagor and Vasily in the harsh Russian countryside.

Hunted by Seraphim and haunted by mysterious spirits of the seasons Anazakia can trust no one fully. But when Belphagor is imprisoned comfort is found in the arms of his fiery companion. When the truth behind the murder of her kindred comes to light Anazakia will return to Heaven to fight for what is hers and the fate of two worlds will collide in a cataclysmic battle of epic proportions.

There are no perfect words to describe THE FALLEN QUEEN. I've never read anything like it and don't believe I will again. Not because it wasn't good but because it belongs in a class all its own. Rich in fantastical celestial and angelic mythology then steeped in Russian culture I could compare it to a well aged wine. There are layers and layers of fascinating concepts and ideas peppering this story. It's romantic but not a romance. The lines of sexual orientation are crossed and blurred and reformed and extinguished making it both slightly erotic and a little ethereal. Those who are enticed by pleasure/pain will find this highly enjoyable.

Kindred's writing style is dance-like, a true ballet of fiction. Calculated steps done so passionately one could forget this is more likely to be shelved with popular fiction than literature. THE FALLEN QUEEN could easily become a classic. My only true issues were firstly frustration with Vasily's relationship with Anazakia, I felt betrayed for Belphagor, and secondly struggling to understand the subtleties of this richly Russian influenced world building. I'm also not turned on by whipping/spanking so the scenes where this took place were off-putting but that's my personal issue, not a reflection on the writing as they were all well written.

If you enjoy polyamorous romance and contemporary fantasy I would highly recommend you pick up this book. If you're an urban fantasy fan bored of the same-old, same-old this is a break from the norm but not truly urban. If you enjoy the complexity and sensuality of Ilona Andrews or Meljean Brook, THE FALLEN QUEEN should definitely be added to your wishlist. Not a completely flawless read but one that I am so glad I didn't miss.



Other Reviews:
Urban Fantasy Investigations
Reader Unboxed


Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

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