Adventure abounds: THE HEDGEWITCH QUEEN by Lilith Saintcrow

Posted 17 January, 2012 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 12 Comments

THE HEDGEWITCH QUEEN by Lilith Saintcrow
E-book only
Available now (Dec. 2011)
Review copy purchased
Publisher: Orbit

Vianne di Rocancheil is a lady waiting at the Court of Arquitaine, where she studies her books, watches for intrigue, and shepherds her foolhardy Princesse through the glittering whirl. Court is a sometimes-unpleasant waltz, especially for the unwary, but Vianne treads its measured steps well.

Unfortunately, the dance has changed. Treachery is afoot in gilded and velvet halls. A sorcerous conspiracy is unleashed, with blood, death, and warfare close behind. Vianne must flee, carrying the Great Seal of Arquitaine with her. This is the one thing the conspirators need to rule, and they won’t rest until they have it. A life of dances, intrigues, and fashion has not prepared Vianne for this. Nor has it prepared her for Tristan d’Arcenne, Captain of the King’s Guard and player in the most dangerous games conspiracy can devise. Yet to save her country and avenge her Princesse, Vianne will become what she must and do whatever is required.

A Queen can do no less.

Because I am a massive Lilith Saintcrow fangirl, I just had to read her newest release, THE HEDGEWITCH QUEEN, a book that’s a huge departure from her usual fare. A good, old fashioned adventure, this story takes place in a world that reminds me of France, with a King, a princess, and their court (who are killed off rather quickly in a court coup–oops). The main character, Vianne, a noble-born orphan who gets entangled in circumstances far beyond her control, winds up as the bearer of the Great Seal of Arquitaine and, since the Seal accepts her as its bearer, the new Queen of the realm.

Vianne, a hedgewitch who can do small magics, would rather be mucking about in the garden than gossiping with the other ladies at court, plays the role of overly-helpless damsel in distress extremely well. She has no real idea of how to take care of herself, especially once she’s forced to flee the castle on horseback in the company of the handsome and (of course) very rakish Tristan, captain of the King’s Guards. Tristan himself is a bit of an enigma–is he truly a good guy or is he a bad boy playing the role of the gallant knight? Though Vianne finds herself falling for him, the more she finds out, the more she questions his motives and character.

While I did get a bit annoyed with Vianne’s helplessness at times, I really enjoyed this fairy tale-like story. Still, I wish I’d waited for THE BANDIT KING (out in  June 2012) and read both stories together, as there’s a cliffhanger at the end of THE HEDGEWITCH QUEEN.

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12 Responses to “Adventure abounds: THE HEDGEWITCH QUEEN by Lilith Saintcrow”

  1. I’m not sure how I feel about a helpless main female character, but I do love adventure and fantasy. I think I’ll need to wait for your review of The Bandit King before making the decision to buy The Hedgewitch Queen.

    • I’m not usually into the helpless female either but it worked in this one, maybe because she was capable in other ways and because she developed into a pretty capable queen (with room to grow in the next book, of course).

  2. First of all, the name Tristan is one of my favorite names ever so I would probably read this book just for that. Second, I’ve heard AMAZING things about Lilith’s books but have yet to read one, I need to fix that and I think maybe I’ll start with this one. Good to know about the cliffhanger though, I’ll wait until June and pick up both so I don’t have to deal with it:) Awesome review Mary!

    • You really should start with her Dante Valentine series–that one was the one that got me completely hooked. She’s such a dark writer with incredibly capable but damaged female leads…LOVE!

  3. How heavy is the romance in this Mary? The plot sounds great but the good boy/bad boy stuff can either be innocuous plot or heavily overdone these days (well, to me, a married 40yr old guy.)

    • The romance is pretty light, actually–Tristan likes Vianne but mostly he’s the gallant knight for the majority of this book and not “romancing” her, per se. And Tristan’s a really intriguing character–he comes across as a good guy but, the deeper we dig, the more tarnished he is. It’s a great twist you might appreciate.

  4. I saw that Lilith had this one out now but I don’t have an ereader so I can’t/won’t read it. But she is local (we hang at the same bookstore) so next time I run into her I’m going to get on her about getting it in paperback. Or she can just print it out on the computer, lol. It’s weird that Orbit published it but in ebook only. It sounds like a great read though!

    • I know. Strange that they didn’t go print, too. I wonder what the reasoning is behind it. And I love that you hang out at the same bookstore–lucky you! Say hi to her for me and tell her to keep writing the awesomeness that she does (including her blog, which I love). 🙂

  5. Hmmm, this looks really interesting! I really like the cover too. I reminds me of some other book’s cover but I can’t think of the title. Great review!

  6. aura giselle

    it’s a good book, however, at the end it will really make you want to read the bandit king