The True Queen by Zen Cho

January 8th, 2020

I really liked Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown when I read it in 2015, and I think I felt similarly about The True Queen: I felt that the plot took a while to get moving, but once things picked up I was totally there for it. The True Queen starts with two girls, Sakti and Muna, finding themselves washed up on a beach on the island of Janda Baik after a storm. They have no memories of their lives other than their names, and end up living with a witch named Mak Genggang, who has a habit of taking in strays, especially magical ones. Sakti, it turns out, has a lot of magical talent, though Muna doesn’t seem to—though it seems like maybe she used to/maybe it was taken from her. When Sakti wakes up one day with a hole through her body (not a wound, just an absence of flesh), the girls figure they’re cursed, and end up deciding they need to go to England to try to get the curse lifted. But on the way there, Sakti disappears in Fairy/the Unseen Realm, meaning that Muna ends up in England alone, desperate to figure out how to rescue her sister from whatever surely-terrible fate has befallen her. Muna needs help, though, and appeals to Prunella Wythe, the Sorceress Royal, and to Prunella’s friend Henrietta Stapleton, who teaches at the school for magiciennes that Prunella runs. Adventures ensue, along with Fairy-related political intrigue, and I find the setting (Regency England with magic, the Unseen Realm with its Fairy Court and imps and dragons) to be lots of fun. I like, too, the way that the book explores agency and self-determination and questions of loyalty and family and friendship.

2 Responses to “The True Queen by Zen Cho”

  1. Jenny @ Reading the End Says:

    I’m so excited to read this book! I liked Sorcerer to the Crown a lot, and everyone I’ve talked to has told me that The True Queen is even better. I love what Zen Cho is doing — can’t wait to read this one! (I own it and have no excuse for not having read it already.)

  2. Heather Says:

    Ha, don’t worry, I have a lot of books I own but haven’t read/have no excuse for not having read yet! But yes, this is a good one! I’m glad I finally got to it – I checked it out from the library last year but returned it unread because too many holds came in at once, oof.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe without commenting