Season of Sequels: To Catch a Queen
I have been reading sequels of books recently, so while I cannot introduce new authors I can at least comment on how their series is going. That said, I don’t think I actually commented on Shanna Swendson’s first book, A Fairy Tale. Anyway, this post will focus on the direct sequel entitled: To Catch a Queen.
Title: To Catch a Queen (book 2)
Series: Fairy Tale
First book in the Series: A Fairy Tale
Author: Shanna Swendson
Genre: Modern Fantasy with Fairies and Fairyland
Synopsis: Sophie Drake is again needed in the Realm. Someone is impersonating the Queen and banishing undesirables back into the Human world. This is causing trauma and in some cases death for those involved. But that is not the only problem Sophie has to deal with. She is still working hard at freeing Jen, worrying about her sister, and balancing royal duties with the image of a normal life. Fortunately, Sophie has friends who will come to her aid, both human and fey.
What was good: The characters really sell this book and the series in general. Sophie is a strong, go get-it-done sort of woman. In her 30s she is a little older than many of your heroines, which I certainly appreciate. I even love her one-sided romance, which is done well and believably. Emily adds the optimism and recklessness of youth even if she isn’t that many years younger than sister Sophie. Michael brings the perspective of the uninitiated. He is the stoic cop that finds himself confronting the supernatural. This again is handled well.
What was less impressive: My biggest struggle with the book is the fey. I am not a huge fan of fairies, which is amusing considering how much I enjoyed the story. Despite half (or more) of the story taking place in fairyland – aka the Realm – I mostly enjoyed how the author dealt with the land and denizens living there. It is still not my favourite set-up, but it was not the terrible mess it could have been either.
The other problem I had was the fetch quest feel of this particular story. The feeling of mystery never did develop, instead it felt like the longest and most frustrating game of go and collect … [insert next item on the list].
How it compared to the first book: The first book, A Fairy Tale, was better. The story was stronger and more engaging. Partly because you didn’t know how things were going to end or in fact what was going on. To Catch a Queen follows book 1 closely in time. It picks up the thread of the tale, but is not nearly as strong a narrative as the first book.
Prognosis: It was an okay sequel. I appreciate the attempt to do something a little different, to watch the characters grow and change throughout the narrative. However, looking at it as a single story, it was pretty mediocre. Still, I am interested enough that I want to read the third tale in this series, to see if the author can find a new tale to tell.
Rank and Reason: 3.5 out of 5 – not nearly as strong a story as book 1 in the series, but not terrible either. I do enjoy Sophie as heroine.