Richelle Mead, Thorn Queen

Posted March 17, 2012 by Kathy Davie in

Thorn Queen (Dark Swan, #2)Thorn Queen by Richelle Mead
Series: Dark Swan, 2
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Second in the Dark Swan urban fantasy series about a half-human, half-fae warrior shaman caught up in prophecy and romance.

My Take
Poor Eugenie…she’s hoping to slip into the baby shower unnoticed but reckons without the herald announcing:

“Her Royal Majesty, Queen Eugenie Markham, called Odile Dark Swan, Daughter of Tirigan the Storm King, Protector of the Thorn Land, Beloved of the Triple Moon Goddess.” Ooops…

There is a lot of conflict for Eugenie in this story. She knows she can’t tell her stepfather of her new involvement in the Otherworld due to his and her mother’s experiences there and yet she desperately needs his help and advice. The inadvertent hardships her people are undergoing because she didn’t know. Then there’s her human approach to others, not yet understanding at a visceral level that the gentry have a completely different approach to everything! She does however make great progress in manipulating her powers.

Then there’s the romantic conflict with Kiyo and Dorian. She loves Kiyo, but what is his problem about Eugenie being queen…?? Dorian of course still wants to get Eugenie back into his bed and doesn’t hold back in his “assault” on her. Dorian can be pretty naughty outside of his bed [no, not a sex thing!] as well as in.

Kiyo: “Dorian used to watch you like a starving man wants meat. Now he looks at you like he wants seconds.”

Then there’s the legal/moral conflict of one’s shamanic duties. And Eugenie discovers a nasty hypocrisy in her own family—she makes a good point when she reminds Roland that she and Kiyo are the same. If Roland rejects Kiyo for his half and half nature, he’s also rejecting her for the same reason.

The Story
Eugenie Markham has unexpectedly become the Queen of the Thorn Land. Partially due to subtle trickery by King Dorian. It was that unexpectedness that created the desert landscape of Eugenie’s new land with very unexpected results for its people. It’s also cutting into her real work—that of a mercenary shaman policing the supernatural antics in the mortal world.

Being queen means duties—including the baby shower for Kiyo’s former lover. And a three-hour trip by horseback that provides Eugenie with a tour of her new land—and its troubles. And Dorian forces Ysabel to Eugenie’s queendom to teach her more about her powers.

It’s Eugenie’s friendly human nature that gets her into trouble, but also makes her appear a saint to her own people. Making them brave enough to ask for additional aid in finding their missing daughters and fighting the bandits surrounding their villages. An investigation that soon finds that a crossroads between worlds exists in the area where the girls are going missing.

The Characters
Eugenie Markham, queen of the Thorn Land, is the half-fae, half-human offspring of Tirigan the Storm King. A prophecy that states the grandchild of one of Storm King’s daughters will rule the world and it has many fae after her. Unfortunately for them, Eugenie is happy in her relationship with Kiyo and perfectly capable of protecting herself! Now if only…

Kiyo Marquez would give her more of his attention, but his former lover, Maiwenn, Queen of the Willow Land, is about to give birth to his child.

Roland Markham is Eugenie’s stepfather and Dee is her human mother, raped by Storm King. She has spent all of Eugenie’s life indoctrinating her against the fae. Now, Eugenie is desperately trying to keep her stepfather from finding out she’s a queen in the Otherworld.

Lara is her secretary arranging her appointments, keeping the books, and billing the clients while Tim Warkowski is her fraudulent housemate. He pretends to be a Native American and reads his poetry while scamming his customers. Nia is her lady-in-waiting who does her best to beautify Eugenie per fae fashions…she’s lucky if she can get Eugenie into a dress! Shaya is Eugenie’s regent ruling the Thorn Land while Eugenie is back in our world. Rurik, the Ice Elemental who tried to kill her in Storm Born is now her captain of the guard. All three were members of Dorian’s court. Volusian is Eugenie’s miserable sidekick, a damned soul, demon-like. As long as she can control him, he will serve her although he takes great joy in repeatedly explaining how he’ll torture her very slowly until she dies if he ever breaks free. In the meantime, he must come when she calls and carry out her commands.

Katrice, the Rowan Queen, is plotting to bring her technologically savvy son, Leith, together with Eugenie. It’s the only way Leith will ever rule a kingdom. Duke Marlin is her consort. Girard de la Colline is a fae metalsmith who happily takes up Eugenie’s offer. King Dorian of the Oak Land is very interested in bedding Eugenie. Again. And he sets about his campaign with ruthless truthfulness. And very useful support. He’s currently “spending some time” with Ysabel…it’s Shaya who points out that all the women Dorian has had in his bed since Eugenie…look like Eugenie. Davros is the mayor of one of Eugenie’s villages and makes her aware that her changing the land to resemble her beloved Sonoran desert has consequences.

Wil Delaney is a human client who had asked Eugenie to rescue his sister (see Storm Born). He’s also a conspiracy/alien nutcase. Jasmine is Eugenie’s half-sister and a daughter of Storm King. A typical teenager, she’s obsessed with being the first daughter to bear the son of the prophecy. She wants to rule the world and have all bow down to her.

Barbara is “a type of holy woman” for the Pascua Yaqui tribe; her grandsons are Felix and Dan. None of them are pleased with Tim’s impersonations. Art and Abigail are two of the shamans who police the crossroads in Yellow River, Texas.

The Cover
The cover is black and blue. A blue of rippling sand, a wall of arched openings with a castle atop it while this blonde [guess the cover artist didn’t get the character description memo] Eugenie is in a corset-back leather vest and black leather pants festooned with knives, tattoos, and holding a gun as she cautiously tests the wind.

The title reflects Eugenie’s new title as the Thorn Queen. The new elven queen.

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