Queen Of Days By Greta Kelly- Summary
Goodreads summary of Queen of Days by Greta Kelly (Review below):
From Greta Kelly, the author of the Warrior Witch duology comes The Queen of Days, an epic adventure that weaves together a flawed-but-lovable family of thieves, a battle between fallen gods, and stakes high enough to cause vertigo—perfect for fans of The Lies of Locke Lamora and Six of Crows.
For Balthazar and his family of thieves, stealing a statue during the annual celebration of the God Karanis was just a good bit of fun…or a way to stick it to the governor who murdered his parents. And yeah, the small fortune in reward doesn’t hurt—even if his boss also hired the mysterious Queen of Days to join the crew as “the weapon of last resort…”
Whatever that means.
But Bal doesn’t know the ceremony isn’t simply empty words and dusty tradition; it’s true magic. The kind of magic that rips open a portal for the God himself. Only the idol that Karanis planned on using for a body now lies broken at the Queen of Days’ feet. And half of it is missing.
With the aid of a lovable brawler, a society lady turned bomb maker, a disgraced soldier, and a time-eating demon, Bal must hunt down the missing half of the statue if he has any hope of earning his money, keeping his crew alive…and perhaps even saving all of humanity. But as his journey sends him racing through the city—and across realities—he discovers that doing all this might just doom the city.
The city be damned. It’s time to kill a god.
Queen Of Days By Greta Kelly- Review
No, this isn’t a “five reasons not to” post. The format just doesn’t make sense for this review. On a side note, this review is giving me a migraine. Now. Where to start?
Ok. Let’s start a little differently. Usually, I leave the audiobook thoughts till the end of the review. However, I genuinely think the missteps of the audiobook could have affected the lens I’m looking through. First of all, while there are a couple of different points of view, it wasn’t nearly enough. I’m not saying every character in the crew had to have their own chapters. Nevertheless, Queen of Days definitely needed to separate more out.
That being said, Sunil Malhotra is left to voice a slew of male, female, and God characters. He doesn’t make it. I’m not saying he can’t narrate a book. I’m sure he’d be fine if he weren’t narrating the entire book. But this was too much for one person to take on. He especially kills Kai, who sounds like a mix of the mob voices from Oscar. And that’s a shame because Kai is an excellent side-kick, humorous character. There should have been more of him in the book, but the narration hurt my teeth. Now, let’s move on with that in mind.
Clarification* I love Oscar. It just didn’t work as a voice-acting choice.
This is where I go on my Six of Crows Duology tangent, which basically intertwines throughout The Queen of Days. Many books have been compared to and recommended for those who loved the Six of Crows duology. It is a damn shame how many great books/series (see my review of There Will Come A Darkness, for example). I think the Gilded Wolves (review linked) series is the only one that (on a very general level) works with this comparison. But it still has a lot of differences on a deeper level. If you haven’t read or don’t know anything about the Six of Crows Duology, I apologize in advance. I’m not sure how else to go about this.
Queen of Days is definitely deserving of its comparison to the Six of Crows Duology. You have a heist, a large crew, similar characters, and excellent world-building. And yet, somehow, Queen of Days ultimately failed. This should have been a slam-dunk read for me. It was not. Ok. Maybe once I realized it was like Six of Crows, it drove my expectations through the roof.
But I don’t think so. You see, I feel like we jumped from books being compared to the Six of Crows Duology to a book that was so much like it that it was too on the nose. It isn’t that I can’t be pleased. Greta Kelly went off the rails with Queen of Days. How many ways did this go off the rails? Let me tell you.
Thank you to Harper Voyager and HarperCollins Audio for an advanced audio of Queen of Days by Greta Kelly, which releases on October 24th.
First, there is Balthazar (side note- every time I heard his name, I thought of that song How Bizarre). There isn’t a way to not compare him to Kaz. The issue with Balthazar is that he has all of Kaz’s worst personality traits without any of the redeeming qualities that make Kaz morally gray instead of morally black. Greta Kelly has written a bully, mean, single-minded, and selfish character. Additionally, he isn’t a good leader, has no sense of loyalty, makes life-altering decisions without discussing them with his team, and puts a pregnant crew member at risk.
Moreover, the only loyalty that Balthazar shows is to his ex, who shows no care for him at all. Time and time again, he risks his entire crew just to save her. Most importantly, he can’t lead a heist to save his life.
Say what you want about Kaz, but no matter how hard-edged, bullying, and cutthroat he can be, he does have a sense of loyalty. Once Kaz pitches his tent with you, he will protect you. Look at Jesper in Crooked Kingdom. In this case, letting Jesper take the Jurda Parem would have been optimal for the situation at hand. However, Kaz refuses to let him. Kaz goes against his and the mission’s best interests to protect Jesper. This sense of loyalty runs throughout his team. Lastly, say what you want about Kaz; you can say a lot; he is a great leader. He gets the best out of his team and can complete a heist.
Then there is the crew itself. Let’s take Tassiel (The Queen of Days) versus Matthias.
Matthias and Tassiel start as the outsiders brought into the crew. However, their acclimation is entirely different.
Realistically, it takes Matthias a large part of the duology before he willingly cooperates with, let alone trusts, anyone around him. On the other hand, Tassiel is boom-bam instant family. I’m all for found families, but this isn’t found. It is bizarre. Secondly, Matthias’s role grows throughout the books, whereas Greta Kelly just about drops her involvement to a bare minimum in the book’s second half.
Next, there is the plot. Balthazar has the same obsession because of the same background (not exact, but I don’t want to spoil) with one man that Kaz does. Unfortunately for Balthazar, his obsession turns from man to God. That makes him go on a revenge bender against a God while remaining simultaneously obsessed with saving his ex. May I remind you, she returns none of this loyalty. Lastly, whereas Kaz protected Jesper and didn’t make life-altering decisions for his crew, Balthazar is off the rails.
At the beginning of the book, he decides to give up a month of life from every member of his crew to the Queen of Days. He only protects his sister by taking on her time debt. That’s. Well, that’s just wrong. And need I remind you that one of those crew members is pregnant? While the worldbuilding is solid, so much of the plot loses touch after about 25%. It becomes unhinged, hard to follow, and sometimes unbelievable. It was tough to stay engaged. Additionally, it falls into a pet peeve of mine. But to discuss that would be a significant spoiler.
All-in-all, Greta Kelly’s Queen of Days just doesn’t live up to its potential. The premise was incredible. Its execution was not.