Queen of the Unwanted

Del Rey: Ballantine. (Women’s War, Bk. 2). Mar. 2020. 592p. ISBN 9780525618379. pap. $17. FANTASY
In the aftermath of the spell that the Abbess of Aaltah released, women through all of Seven Wells now hold power over their own bodies, causing the patriarchal society to fracture. All isn’t easy, however, when the world suddenly changes. Princess Alysoon of Women’s Well is more focused on personal tragedy than on ruling, and issues with other family members crop up. Rhozinolm’s Queen Ellinsoltah tries to navigate the challenges to her reign, including facing a political marriage that could put her throne—and heart—in jeopardy. In Khalpar, a new abbess, Mother Mairahsol, steps into power with the promise that she can reverse the “Curse” and let men retake authority. Focusing on trade and politics, Glass’s (“The Women’s War”) second book in the series provides more scenic and character details than action, but further develops this imaginative realm.
VERDICT A fantasy world built around a feminist society draws on themes that are front and center in the real world today, with an eye to differing viewpoints. The dynamics, intrigue, and plot twists will keep readers immersed.

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