Review: From the Shadows of the Owl Queen’s Court by Benedict Patrick

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😍

Ohh man. Yarnworld. I’ve been patiently waiting for the next one and it is here and in my eyeholes.

I’ll try and stay coherent for most of this. 😀

I got a review copy of this book from the author. 🙂

If you value your life, stay out of the forest.

As a captive of the Owl Queen’s Court, Nascha’s life has always been one knife’s edge away from disaster. But when she is threatened for nothing more than the colour of her hair, Nascha attempts the unthinkable: escape through the dreaded Magpie King’s forest.

Hunted by sharp toothed and sharper witted foxfolk, and hated by all for being a witch, Nascha fears herself doomed until she joins forces with a mysterious young man. With him she finds a glimmer of hope, even as her own unpredictable powers flicker into existence.

But hope is fleeting.

The forces arrayed against her are insurmountable, and Nascha soon comes to realise that pursuit of her own freedom will come at a greater cost to the forest. As the darkness closes in around them, Nascha is forced to ask:

At what price is she willing to purchase her life?

How dearly is she willing to sell it?

“There are some places in the world,” she would say, “where people should not travel. I have been to that dark forest, and I have escaped with my life. Nothing in this world, no promise of treasure nor adventure, could get me to walk under those branches again.”

I should really, really know better than to start a book at bedtime with the intent to read ‘just one chapter’ before sleeping. I really should.

Enter Kristen, bleary-eyed and unable to put this book down. “Hhhrrrrnnngggg… one more chapter. *checks phone* 3AM!? FUCK!”

So this is how I read more than half this book in one sitting, and then low key fell asleep the next morning on my desk for a bit.

This is the story of Nascha, who is a servant in the Owl Queen’s court, and her only friend is the Owl Queen’s daughter. When the Owl Queen dies unexpectedly, her daughter is coronated Queen, and decrees, under the scrutiny of her adviser, that all bastards of the royal line shall be executed to prevent uprisings and whatnot.

So, Nascha, who, under black dye, actually has the white hair that proves she’s been blessed by the Owl Spirit, and really… is an Owl Queen herself.

She flees on the eve of her execution, in the arms of one of the Foxfolk, and finds herself in the last possible place that one of the Owlfolk would want to be: The Magpie King’s forest. There are stories about the shenanigans that happen there. That, and it’s said that the Magpie King likes his queen to be of the white-haired persuasion.

It’s also the story of Bradan, who is the son of the current iteration of the Magpie King, the most powerful being in the forest, and yet the power drives him mad. He tries to help his people… and Bradan tries to help, on the better days… but the balance of power in the forest is changing, and Bradan isn’t sure that teh Magpie Spirit is the help they need. He’s investigating that thought when he runs into a white haired Owlfolk girl fleeing the Owl Queen’s Court.

So, shenanigans happen, obviously. 😀

The thing about the Yarnsworld series is that each book keeps getting better and better to me. I loved City of Swords but this one was even yet on an entirely different level of amazing. I had feels about this book. It legitimately made me cringe at times (‘oh god don’t put that in your mouuuttthhhh’), and smile at other times. I loved the character of Nascha, and rooted for her to win the day, and legitimately emoted for her at times. I also really liked Bradan, and felt for him while he struggled with having a powerful but mad father who nobody really wanted around anymore. There is no Magpie King anymore, they say. Everyone, including the Magpie King himself. Bradan is a noble guy, and he just wants to help. I felt for him, and hoped for an end to his struggle.

This one, like its predecessors, also has the little folktales between chapters that shed some light on some of the backstory of these people and their land. I love Yarnworld for this, honestly. Folk tales are such a fantastic way to flesh out a world that is built on folk tales.

This one is the first Yarnsworld book that I would consider a sequel in any way. It’s still very much standalone, and you don’t have to have read They Mostly Come Out at Night in order to understand and appreciate what’s happening, but I found that the knowledge gained from that book helped me understand some things about the Magpie King.

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“I am the Owl Queen. And I command you, my faithful subjects, to step the fuck aside and let me past.”

All told, this is definitely my favorite Yarnsworld to date. This one got pretty dark at times, as the Magpie King’s forest is still the darkest place there is in the Yarnsworld. There’s a bit of swearing, a bit of sexy times, and a bit of some really questionable produce. Emotions happened, and I’m definitely okay with that. The ending was totally unexpected and surprised me, and I had even more emotions about that. I can’t wait to see what happens next! 5/5 stars!!!

You can see this book on goodreads here, and grab a copy of it here.

Thanks again to the author for the review copy. 🙂

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