I was caught off guard by the opening of Blood Queen, the last entry in S.M. McCoy’s Divine Series. In my previous reviews of the series (which you can catch up on here and here), I commented about how enchanted I was by the prose, and how the author’s delightful wordplay grabbed me from the outset. Yet this was different. This had me questioning whether I had opened the correct file. The opening to Blood Queen is darker than its predecessors, almost sinister.
It was a great opening, but unexpected. ‘Unexpected’ is a word that applies to much of this book, a more mature opening than the first two. Though not much time has passed since the first book, protagonist Chrystal has matured; any and all naivety is long behind her. She is no longer new to this world of demons, she is seasoned. She is still the same lovable character from the first two books, however, and soon after the opening chapter, the narration is a little more expected.
Blood Queen’s second chapter does much the same job as the second in the series, Blood Rebirth’s opening chapter. Through Chrystal’s first person narration, McCoy takes the opportunity to get the reader caught up on the key events that have already taken place. Again, it picks up the story shortly after the end of the last book, and McCoy manages to not only catch the reader up, but does so in a way that entertains. Rather than feeling like an information dump, it’s a teenager getting a friend up to speed on what they’ve missed.
Coming in at 328 pages in paperback (equating to an averaged out 373 pages in eBook formats, or twelve hours and eighteen minutes in eBook), Blood Queen is the longest book in the series. This isn’t by a wide margin, and took me roughly about the same amount of time to read as Blood Rebirth. Like this second book, this is largely thanks to McCoy’s writing being easy to parse, and its sentences flowing together nicely.
The pacing in this tale has increased from the first two, no doubt by necessity to keep the story moving without expanding the page count. I would have appreciated it if the book had slowed things down somewhat and taken a little more time to breathe. While the pacing does serve the action—and this grand finale brings plenty of action—I wasn’t getting lost in McCoy’s world as much as previous books. This is more a personal preference of mine, though, rather than a weakness in the book; something that is particularly apt as its target audience is young adults.
Between the quickening pace, increased stakes, darker story and evolving protagonist, the prose throughout the book lost some of its joy. I loved the sense of fun and wonder that the author brought to these earlier entries, and sadly, I found that somewhat lacking here. The prose still reads incredibly well; it just unfortunately doesn’t have the same spark behind it.
As with the first two books, Blood Queen’s plot is strong, with a number of twists and turns that don’t feel predictable. The plot is still the least twisty of the trilogy, as the overarching story has been built, and in many ways, Blood Queen is the final stretch. Yet, as this is the Divine Series’ third and final act, it feels like a complete story. I also appreciated the romance presented in the book. It has been an ongoing theme throughout the trilogy, and in the spirit of shunning predictability, McCoy has done so with this, offering something a little different to what I had expected.
One last thing I should touch upon is the proofreading in this book. As noted in my Blood Crescent review, I felt it needed another round of proofreading, as the number of typos within it pulled me out of the story. Blood Rebirth, however, fared far better. Blood Queen sits closer to the second entry in this regard. I did notice a couple of typos peppered throughout, but nothing that stood out, distracting me from the story.
Blood Queen continues what works well in the Divine Series, and continues it, albeit in a more mature, darker way. While it lacks some of the joy that the first two books brought, If you’re a fan and haven’t yet read Blood Queen, do yourself a favour and pick it up. If you haven’t read the series, but enjoy strong fantasy stories, I also recommend reading this (as well as the first two books).
Expectations of towering rocks, marble, and pillars were nowhere to be seen. Gold, precious metals, stones, and shiny things were not what awaited us. What I saw in front of me was nothing like that at all. It was a tree. Well, not just a tree, the tree. Largest tree in this forest. That was saying something based on how big most of the trees were here. They had to have been thousands of years old to be this big. Since the beginning of this land perhaps.Blood Queen, Chapter Fifteen: “Sun Temple”
Blood Queen was provided by the author for the purpose of an honest review.
Blood Queen is available in paperback and eBook from retailers, including—but not limited to—Amazon, and audiobook via Audible.
You can follow S.M. McCoy online, via:
Note: I do not post scores on reviews on this website, but do post them on my Amazon and Goodreads reviews:
Interested in purchasing Blood Queen?
Why not get it from Amazon, via the handy link below? Please note, not only will you be supporting the author, you may also be supporting me by way of a small commission from any items purchased (and no, it won’t cost you anything extra!).Blood Queen (Divine Series Book 3)