Having a particular fondness for regal ribaldry, my hopeful anticipations were pleasantly fulfilled in reading Teresa Edgerton’s The Queen’s Necklace. All of the pomp and circumstance, the court intrigues and clandestine romances that are obligatory in a royal story are brilliantly told here with compelling grace and convincing detail.
The story of the mythical Mountfalcon could be the historical account of almost any regal court from days of yore -- right down to the conspiracy that looms over the human world and encroaches relentlessly thereby requiring the heroic Wilrowan Blackheart (is that a cool last name for a hero, or what?) to avert the disaster waiting to befall mankind. Little does Blackheart know that simultaneously the woman he is destined to love has begun her own crusade to protect and defend humanity from the diabolical Maglore plan to consign the world to smoke and ashes.
Their destinies entwine and mesh into a scintillating journey on which we readers are lucky enough to accompany them. As they (and by vicarious extension the readers) follow the maze that leads to the resolution, we come to care for them, for their fates both individually and together. If power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, then danger runs a close second. The veil of fear and violence once lifted provides a startling glimpse of the inner demons that all mortals possess or are possessed by.
The descriptions of people, places and things in The Queen's Necklace is so convincing that it will be easy for readers to envision each scene unfolding before their eyes. The pacing is near perfect, just quick enough to hold reader interest and yet slow enough to absorb the skillful details of each scene. The dialogue is masterfully handled, so that it seems as if the conversations are being eavesdropped upon. Character definition is sharply drawn; we hate whom we should hate and root for whom we should root for.
Unlike in many fantasy stories, the fictitious elements are parsed out over the course of the book and do not inundate the reader with so much information as to cause the gray matter to seep from their ears. Ahh, a welcome respite from those well-meaning writers who think that the more detail they trowel on, the more interesting their story becomes.
Edgerton drops vivid detail succinctly in the least likely place and glides over the places where most writers would shove myriad descriptions. Heartfelt kudos to the author; she has made reading fantasy fiction a pleasure once again. I hope that her next novel will be on the horizon soon. I cannot wait to read it.