The Lost Queen: Book 1
by Gaia Lewes

"I felt the magic of earth, air, water and fire taking root inside me the way the branches I used took root in the earth I set them in."

Vere, a young woman in Amadea, finds herself entangled in a scheme for a coup after being accused of being part of a rebel faction. Beaten and tortured, Vere is rescued by King Marc of Amadea himself but not before tapping into some unknown magic. During her recovery, Vere learns of Nogaynos—a land where magic is supreme—and decides to set out on a two-year journey to learn more about this mysterious land. Vere must travel through harsh winter landscapes and dangerous bandit zones to reach Nogaynos, but an unlikely encounter in the woods leads to a grander adventure.

From the very first pages, the author sets the tone that not only is Vere different in some way, but also there are stirrings of political unrest in Amadea. In fact, the two might be tied together. This follows years of relative peace between all the neighboring lands and points to a larger, pressing issue: that war and rebellion may be drawing near. Vere is a foster child living with nobles, but she prefers to spend her time in the forge, creating weapons and armor and items for patrons. She is also highly intelligent, as shown when she puts two and two together for the king in terms of the upcoming coup, as well as when she makes her survival plan for her journey to Nogaynos. While the author does a great job of balancing the multiple points of view in this book, Vere’s particular journey through the woods tends to feel very slow compared to the rest of the book’s pacing. The first book in the Bloodline series, this novel sets the stage for a saga that follows a foster woman’s quest for her identity.

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