The Vanished Queen

by Lisbeth Campbell

In the end, although Anza and Esvar are wonderfully, broken and well-meaning characters, and the evolution of the tyrant King Karolje’s queen Mirantha compelling, and the Eastern European touches like a samovar, Anya as a nickname, etc. were deft, I had to slog through 2/3’s of this 495 page tome of a fantasy.

It wasn’t enjoyable to me. It might have been the slow-simmering aspect of the political upheaval or it might have been (and this is the true reason I suspect) the stylistic choice of dry, dispassionate present tense prose that at times spoke achingly of the pain underneath, but when sustained for that long made me less caring of the tribulations experienced by the characters.

Anya’s Captain father was killed by King Karolje for failing to apprehend a rebel. She grows up, goes to College and then to work for a lawyer. But Karolje is dying and it turns him crueler and crueler, and Anya found as a student, in a locked part of the College, the vanished queen’s journal.

So when a resistance in the city makes itself known, Anya will join them. Meanwhile, Esvar, the younger of Karolje’s sons, is working out what evils he is willing to tolerate in the name of biding his time until the king dies.

Well written, but not to my taste. A tad too….dry.