Title: Nameless Queen
Author: Rebecca McLaughlin
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: Jan 7th, 2020
Source: e-ARC (Netgalley)
One Sentence Synopsis
Coin, a thief and grifter from the lowest class of Seriden society, the Nameless, suddenly finds herself queen when she inherits a magical tattoo.
This quote is from an uncorrected copy and may change in the final version
“When you tell the truth, don’t ever look down. Don’t be ashamed and don’t be afraid. The truth isn’t something you control. It’s something you live with, and if you want to let it make you stronger, it has to be something you own.”
Before I get into this review, I want to thank Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for access to a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Dear reader, let me take through a moment in my life. The moment after I finished Nameless Queen.
*stares into the middle distance*
*tries to make the ebook magically go beyond 100%*
*immediately goes to the author’s Goodreads page to see if there will be a sequel*
*screams into the void when I find out this was a STANDALONE*
You. All. THIS. BOOK. It’s been a long time since a fantasy novel pulled me in to it’s world within the first few pages and had me rooting for the main character from page one!
In Nameless Queen, we’re following the story of Coin, a thief and a grifter living in the city of Seriden among the lowest of the low… the Nameless. Nameless have, as the title would imply, no names and, thus, no rights within the law. They are, by and large, the criminal element of the city. Legals and Royals either ignore their existence or find any reason to throw them in prison or send them to the gallows. But then Coin wakes up with a crown tattoo and magic powers. The crown tattoo is passed down by name from whomever is the current sitting ruler and with it comes the right to rule.
Except Coin doesn’t have a name. So how does she have the tattoo?
From there, Coin’s life is thrown into chaos, which is saying something for a girl who has survived on the streets. No one is happy about her having this tattoo, least of all her, and now she needs to figure out what to do with this power that she didn’t ask for.
The action of this story grips you from page one and does not let go til you get to the acknowledgements! Coin’s life wasn’t easy on the streets, but it becomes infinitely more deadly once she’s inside the palace. I love me a book with good political intrigue and this one delivers. I probably would have liked a little more of the intrigue, but what we got was *chef’s kiss* And just Coin’s day-to-day life is tense enough to keep you ripping through the pages to find out what happens to her.
Of course, I was sold on Coin herself as soon as we meet her in a back alley of Seriden. She’s got so much fight in her and you can tell why she’s been able to survive as Nameless for so long. She has a backbone of absolute steel and a softer heart than she would ever admit. She’s smart, she’s accomplished, and she is a genuinely good person. Ya know… beyond the constant thievery. Watching her try to adapt to a lifestyle that her years as Nameless have most definitely not prepared her for is one of the more compelling aspects of this book. I loved watching her grow and watching her make people stop and take notice.
I also loved the relationships between Coin and the people around her. Even the completely awful people. Her struggles not only overcoming people’s prejudices, but learning to actually care about people, was so interesting to read.
And can we talk about how easily this author made me invested in all Coin’s struggles and emotions?! I thoroughly enjoyed the writing in this book. It was captivating, it didn’t drag, it made me feel A LOT of feelings… It was incredible. The humor in this book also just clicked with me. I found myself chuckling quite a few times, which is probably why my heart survived this ride. I think the one teeny *tiny* thing that threw me off was that the language the characters used sometimes felt a bit… off? Like one of them saying something was “cool”. It just felt weird to me, but that is probably just my dumb fantasy brain always assuming that fantasies with royalty are always set in ye olde times, where people didn’t call things “cool”…
Final thoughts: This was a wonderful debut fantasy where political intrigue and class warfare is the name of the game. Coin is the strong, capable heroine that we need right now and I would fight for her. I know it’s a standalone, but I need a sequel. I. NEED. IT! If you enjoy a little politics in your fantasy and a look at social issues along with your action, I think you’ll like this one!