Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Queen At War by K. A. S. Quinn (Children's, 9 years +, 9 /10)

1st February, Corvus 
336 pages, Paperback
Review copy 

Summary from the press release

In twenty-first century New York, peculiar things are happening to Katie. Strange figures are appearing to her: first, a girl with long red hair, then a pale man in a black silk top hat. And then Katie receives a mysterious note, which sends her hurtling back through time.

In ninteenth-century London, Queen Victoria is on the throne and England is on the brink of war with Russia. Behind the scenes, a great battle is about to be fought – one that could decide the fate of the whole world. Everyone is looking to Katie to save the day.

But for a traveller in time, Katie’s is fast running out...

Nayuleska's thoughts 

I have to confess I  could only read half of this book. It either is darker than the first book or I'm not in the mood for dark books at the moment. Early on I had the feeling it was a terrifying book. I did adore Katie's time travel, which is so enthralling to read. I loved her relation with her friends in the past. In some ways I liked this a little less because it was not totally new to Katie, but her experience proved to be hilarious in places, as well as deadly serious in others.

The inkling of dread increased as more was revealed about the war. I avoid the news as I tend to get too upset over it. The real seeming instances when Katie finds herself in the war zone choked me up making me think of all soldiers past, present and future,. At least we have nurses and medical care in wars. Grace is a sweetheart, and I will be asking K A S what does happen in the rest of the book. The enemy gets revealed as a serpent thing, well, one of the enemy, which is too much for me as I have a snake phobia. That combined with a highly active imagination means I simply can't read about snakes in books - if I do I end up with nightmares, which isn't what a book should do.  So I have no idea yet how it ends. It is awesome writing, which mutes the parts that I found terrifying enough that this rates as a 9/10 read.

Suggested reading

Definitely check out book one, The Queen Must Die

It is with great pleasure to welcome K. A. S Quinn onto Nayu's Reading Corner to talk about how her love of history and writing this series came about. 

Living with the Victorians

I grew up in a very modern world; Los Angeles, the 1970’s – bright sunshine and a swimming pool in every yard. Michael Jackson lived down the street while Sonny and Cher were just up the hill. But mostly I remember the cars; thousands of cars, parking lots, and a labyrinth of freeways – the 101, the 405, the 210. Did I really spend half my life in a car? The heat of the plastic seats would blister the back on my legs, even while the air conditioning was freezing my knees. I couldn’t wait to escape.

So early on, I became a Time Traveller. The large closet in the entry hall was my port of entry; behind a barricade of suitcases with my mother’s white mink coat swaying heavily above me. I kept my books in the suitcases – and a torch of course.

I tried contemporary fiction, but that didn’t take me anywhere.  I needed to go someplace, but it had to be the right place. Pre-historic family life just seemed stupid. Louis X1V and Versailles were still too far away. The Pilgrims drove me batty. Then I discovered the Victorians. They were distant enough to be exotic, yet they were close enough to seem like normal people. And they spoke English. It was the pitch perfect place to time travel.
I started with Florence Nightingale, and I’ve stuck with her ever since. She’s one of those women who pushes and pushes until she gets her way. I can’t say Florence Nightingale is the nicest person, but she’s endlessly inspirational. Dickens followed. Lots and lots of Dickens. I found the endless flow of words comforting. And then Jane Eyre. My utter heroine.

Then one day, I went into a book shop, and there was a copy of London Labour and the London Poor – all three volumes. Written by the great Victorian, Henry Mayhew, it was the first sociological study of the working man, containing details of all the professions found on the London streets. I opened it up, and the voice of the Victorians seemed to shout back at me. I had to have it. “It costs too much,” my mother said, but my father loved to buy things. A week later I came down with the flu and spent eighteen days in bed with London Labour and the London Poor. I stopped travelling with the Victorians. I simply became one.

Thank you K. A. S - it just goes to show books change people's lives! Thank you for coming onto my blog. I'm looking forward to book 3!


Charlotte said...

These sound like must read books for me-thanks for bringing them to my attention!

Nayuleska said...

You're welcome - definitely check them out.