Queen of Extinction by Gwynn White and Erin St. Pierre
Series: Queen of Extinction #1
Genre: Fantasy | Retelling
Length: 388 pages
Published on 23rd January 2017 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD
Gwynn White: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Erin St. Pierre: YouTube | Twitter | Goodreads
eCopy recieved for review from the author
A magical princess. A kingdom in danger. A fight to the death for the throne.Princess Aurora never thought she’d have to rule Ryferia. That was her brother’s job, until his brutal murder at the hands of their uncle. She knows the law. A marriage is her only chance to take the throne, and to free her people from Artemis’s evil rule. Aurora gambles for her kingdom, invoking the right to hold a deadly marriage trial.As the most gifted—and ruthless—princes and lords battle to the death for her hand, Aurora falls under the spell of two mysterious suitors. Both are determined to win her hand and her kingdom for their own ends. But the princess has allies, as well as a secret power long outlawed in her kingdom…Will Aurora find true love and save Ryferia or will the trial’s winner destroy them all?Queen of Extinction is a fresh take on the classic Sleeping Beauty tale. If you like fairytale retellings, magic, steampunk, and romance, then you’ll love the first book in a new trilogy by Gwynn White and Erin St. Pierre.
I love this cover. It looks so magical and also purple is my fave – if you hadn’t guessed that by now I’m very surprised.
But that is kind of all I loved about this book.
The writing was fine, nothing wrong with that.
I just, y’know, at 20% in to a Dark Sleeping Beauty retelling expected to see more parallels to Sleeping Beauty other than her name being Aurora.
But if that was my only issue I probably would’ve kept reading however I had a real issue with another aspect of the book.
It’s not mentioned at all in the synopsis so it did kind of throw me.
Basically in the Kingdom people are either able or infirm.
At first I was like I can see what this might be but surely it isn’t, maybe it means something different.
However as I kept reading it became clear that no the infirm were all disabled in one form or another. Aurora herself is, as described in the quote below, very weak and doesn’t “thrive”. Basically in the book she’s always followed by a guard to protect her and to make sure she never collapses because any journey is enough to wind her.
Her Uncle is abled. As was her brother but he dies fairly early on which is why Aurora has suddenly been thrust to take the throne but only if she can be married.
It seems that her brother wasn’t prejudice against the infirm but her Uncle is. As is most of the population. They’re despised and marginalized.
I didn’t necessarily think this in itself was a super bad thing because of course it could be handled well but Aurora keeps mentioning how if she were to become Queen one of her main focuses would be to cure the infirm which is where it starts to step into dangerous territory.
Given my apprehensions I went ahead to read the synopsis and a few reviews of book 2.
It does indeed seem that Aurora is able to cure herself, and possibly others, and I just I don’t think I can keep reading knowing that this happens.
So I’ll try and break down why this bothers me to the best of my ability, I’m not great at this type of critical analysis but here goes (with help from my friend Julia).
When characters are cured of their infirmness (or disabilities for real life comparison) it makes people’s experiences seem illegitimate because for a lot of people media representation is the first, if not the only, representation of people of different groups they will see. To cure them is to romanticise eugenics.
If anyone else reads this book and has similar or apposing thoughts feel free to share them with me as I am aware I may not be the best spokes person for this and have probably over looked / phrased something wrong.
But I just couldn’t shake how much it bothered me to try and read further to see if it is handled in a decent way or not. I just think its worth noting that as an abled person I wasn’t ready to finish it so how may someone who does have a disability feel?
This is only the first in a series but given I dropped this book I wont be reading any more of it.