"gripping characters and an intoxicating storyline"

Since we've last seen Eugenie Markham, a half-human/half- gentry shaman who is now, albeit reluctantly, a faery queen in her own right, her life continues to become more chaotic than she ever could've imagined. What happened to knowing that all gentry were bad and, therefore, she needn't be saddled with this sense of guilt by not wanting anything to do with her heritage or faery kingdom she now rules? She killed and/or banished the gentry that did manage to cross over to the human world and never thought twice about it. Now as Eugenie becomes more involved in her kingdom and is beginning to actually know them, her black and white view of good vs. bad isn't quite so clear cut anymore.

Problems abound for Eugenie. Since becoming the Thorn Queen, her faery kingdom has reshaped itself into her version of the ideal world -- one resembling the southwest US, complete with desert sands and unrelenting heat. Unfortunately her people are quite unaccustomed to living in such a climate and are now struggling for their very survival.

There is also the matter of local gentry females gone missing. Some say they've just run off, while others are saying there are more evil factions at work. Regardless of the true reason, as their Queen, Eugenie feels it's her duty to find out what's really happening and put an end to it.

To top it all off, two handsome men are still vying for her hand. Well, actually, almost every man in the Otherworld would like a shot a Eugenie since she's been saddled a prophecy regarding her unborn son, but that's a whole other issue. Between Dorian, the Oak King, and Kiyo, her kitsune boyfriend, Eugenie has her hands full. Due to the prophecy regarding her unborn son, Eugenie has decided that she can never have children. This makes it all the more difficult to deal with Kiyo and his ex-lover's soon-to-be baby. Eugenie has a lot of emotional issues to deal with and with no real friend or companion to lean on, ends up doing it mostly alone. Kiyo and her human stepfather, who is also a shaman who happened to teach Eugenie everything she knows, insists it's not a good idea for her to delve more into her untapped faery powers. But with her people struggling to live, faery girls gone missing, and various other gentry out to get her, Eugenie begins to see she must start embracing her heritage and power in order to save the world she's reluctantly grown to care about.

Now, a word of caution -- and potential spoiler: this novel does contain rape scenes. Not too graphic or detailed, mind you, but they are there. Thorn Queen is a bit darker than the first book of the Dark Swan series, but I found that only added greater depth to the story. That being said I thought Ms. Mead did an outstanding job of dealing with the intensely emotional subject matter.

Overall, I think Ms. Mead did a stellar job of continuing Eugenie's story. She delves deeper into not only the faery culture but also into the characters themselves. Eugenie is still one kick-ass, smart, and gutsy heroine, but she also has a deeply caring and compassionate side. Ms. Mead has created one enthralling and fantastical world of which I just can't get enough. Filled with gripping characters and an intoxicating storyline, Ms. Mead does not fail to deliver!

Reviewed by Mippy Carlson
Posted September 5, 2009


Eugenie Markham is a shaman for hire, paid to bind and banish creatures from the Otherworld. But after her last battle, she’s also become queen of the Thorn Land. It’s hardly an envious life, not with her kingdom in tatters, her love life in chaos, and Eugenie eager to avoid the prophecy about her firstborn destroying mankind. And now young girls are disappearing from the Otherworld, and no one—except Eugenie—seems willing to find out why.

Eugenie has spilled plenty of fey blood in her time, but this enemy is shrewd, subtle, and nursing a very personal grudge. And the men in her life aren't making things any easier. Her boyfriend, Kiyo, is preoccupied with his pregnant ex, and sexy fey king Dorian always poses a dangerous distraction. With or without their help, Eugenie must venture deep into the Otherworld and trust in an unpredictable power she can barely control. Reluctant queen or not, Eugenie has sworn to do her duty—even if it means facing the darkest—and deadliest—side of her nature…

Genre: Urban Fantasy

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Thorn Queen
(Dark Swan: Book 2)
by Richelle Mead

Kensington Publishing (Zebra)
July 1, 2009
Available: July 28, 2009
ISBN #1420100971
EAN #9781420100976
384 pages
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Other Books by
Richelle Mead

The Golden Lily
Succubus Revealed
Iron Crowned
Last Sacrifice
Kisses from Hell
Spirit Bound
Succubus Shadows
Blood Promise
Succubus Heat
Shadow Kiss
Succubus Dreams
Storm Born
Eternal Lover
Succubus On Top
Vampire Academy
Succubus Blues
Dreams and Desires

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