Don’t you just love it when you find a book that combines your favorite genres? Fantasy is what I read the most, and Regency romances are my go-to when I want to relax; I get so excited when the two come together! Historical fantasies set in the Regency period of England are such a treat, and Zen Cho has written an engaging pair of them as her first foray into novel writing.
Sorcerer to the Crown introduces the troubling state of magic in England during the Napoleonic Wars: the land of Fairy has closed its borders, drying up England’s source of magic, and it is up to the Sorcerer Royal Zacharias Wythe to keep magic from dying. But that’s not easy for the country’s first black sorcerer, especially one being accused of murder and dealing with mysterious health problems, not to mention the appearance of a troublesome mixed-race orphan named Prunella Gentleman who may just change the course of magic forever.
The True Queen follows up as a companion novel, following a young amnesiac woman from Malaysia whose sister has been lost in the Fairy realm. Muna turns to the magicians (well, particularly the magiciennes) of England for help and finds herself entangled in Fairy legends with the fate of both worlds at stake.
Overall, this is a solid duology and I’d be happy to read any further books that Cho writes in this series.
- POC and queer main characters that feel natural to the time period
- Slow burn romance that is kept as a side plot
- Themes dealing with the colonialism and sexism of the time
- The prose does not feel modern, but rather more fitting to the period
- A bit of mystery/suspense, but doesn’t try too hard
- Sorcerer has Cinderella motifs (with Malaysian witch Mak Genggang as a crazy fairy godmother…)
- Either novel could stand alone, but they also fit well together
- Both books can be slow, even in the action-y parts. It took me a while to get through them.
- The magic system is interesting but not laid out as clearly as I would like, and so one of Sorcerer’s magic-related plot twists came out of nowhere to me
- Sorcerer has a terrible cover that is neither appealing nor informative. True Queen greatly improved in that regard, but I would love a reprint with better, coordinating covers.
Hope you guys can check these out; happy reading!