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The Cerulean Queen: The Nine Realms #4    by Sarah Kozloff order for
Cerulean Queen
by Sarah Kozloff
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2020 (2020)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Cerulean Queen follows A Queen in Hiding, Queen of Raiders and A Broken Queen as the fourth in Sarah Kozloff's action-packed Nine Realms fantasy series.

It all started when Oromondo soldiers invaded the Free States, and the orphaned Princess Cerulia went into hiding. She's changed her name and identity several times during subsequent episodes. As Skylark, she joined Thelan's Raiders, fighting back against the Oromondo. Though no warrior, Thalen is a skilled strategist and his small group of fighters had surprising successes, helped by Skylark's ability to communicate with animals. She and Thalen fell in love.

As Queen of Raiders ended, Cerulia was separated from Thalen and close to death - he believed that she had perished and escaped with the remnants of his force. A series of encounters in A Broken Queen helped Cerulia to heal, though she was badly scarred. She eventually made her way back to the capital, Cascada, for the wedding of her sister Percia to Lord Regent Matwyck's son Marcot. This is where The Cerulean Queen begins.

Friends, family, allies, hounds and royal catamounts help as the princella reveals herself and wins back the Crown. Then she has to find a way to keep it, a struggle that's just beginning. Near death, Matwyck is spirited away to join a rebellious general. Prisoners are freed from secret prisons. Thalen comes home, unaware that Cerulia is his Skylark. And, as the new Queen begins to consolidate her rule, a hostile armada approaches her shores.

This Nine Realms quartet was an exciting, fast moving and thoroughly engaging fantasy series, with a myriad of intriguing characters and a very satisfying conclusion. I look forward to whatever Sarah Kozloff pens next.

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