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strictly literary: the queen underneath by stacey filak

this fantasy introduces us to a world, yigris, where people are ruled by the king above and the queen underneath, when both rulers die under mysterious circumstances their heirs, the awkward prudish prince tollan and the plucky thief gemma are left to figure out what is happening to their world.

what follows is an adventure of sorts, a quest to figure out who committed these murders and why. what purpose does destroying the structure of the world they live in serve? why is putting yigris on the brink of civil war anyone's end goal? gemma and tollan have a healthy crew of friends helping them along the way. among them are master assassin devery, gemma's long-time lover, elam, the leader of the dajinn, and wince, tollan's best friend. 

there are all these ties, all this history in every relationship. maybe too much? for a standalone it makes sense that there is a lot happening, you have to hit the ground running and you have to include everything. but it's still a lot for the reader to take in. and i found myself having to use the handy appendix included in order to keep things straight.

we do get answers. and to get peace there are sacrifices that need to be made. nothing is ever easy. i really enjoyed the writing and was pulled into this world easily, even if i didn't always understand what was happening. this is definitely upper ya, given all the sex and death and pricking that goes on.

**the queen underneath will publish on may 8, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of page street publishing in exchange for my honest review. 


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What do you do when you can't control your feelings for someone? When you know you shouldn't go there? Not even in your head. 

Annie has never experienced the 'spark' with a guy-the kind of instant chemistry that steals your breath and blindsides you completely. Until a night out with friends brings her face to face with the wickedly sexy and mysterious Jack. It's not just a spark that ignites between them. It's an explosion. Jack promises to consume Annie, and he fully delivers on that promise.

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