book review, indigo teen staff pick, young adult

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte (Review)

TitleFour Dead Queens
Author: Astrid Scholte
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Putnam (Penguin Random House)
Published: February 26, 2019

A physical copy of this book were kindly provided by Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.

A divided nation. Four Queens. A ruthless pickpocket. A noble messenger. And the murders that unite them.

Get in quick, get out quicker.

These are the words Keralie Corrington lives by as the preeminent dipper in the Concord, the central area uniting the four quadrants of Quadara. She steals under the guidance of her mentor Mackiel, who runs a black market selling their bounty to buyers desperate for what they can’t get in their own quarter. For in the nation of Quadara, each quarter is strictly divided from the other. Four queens rule together, one from each region:

Toria: the intellectual quarter that values education and ambition

Ludia: the pleasure quarter that values celebration, passion, and entertainment

Archia: the agricultural quarter that values simplicity and nature

Eonia: the futurist quarter that values technology, stoicism and harmonious community

When Keralie intercepts a comm disk coming from the House of Concord, what seems like a standard job goes horribly wrong. Upon watching the comm disks, Keralie sees all four queens murdered in four brutal ways. Hoping that discovering the intended recipient will reveal the culprit – information that is bound to be valuable bartering material with the palace – Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the Eonist messenger she stole from, to complete Varin’s original job and see where it takes them.

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Four Dead Queens felt so unique to me! I have been reading fantasy for a while now, and I find that coming across books that really surprise me, and that really really stand out, is very rare. Well, Four Dead Queens was that for me. When I first heard about it, I thought that this would be a typical high fantasy book about four queens who were dead. I was intrigued, but I wasn’t ready to fight an army or orcs in order to get his book in my hands and start reading it. Luckily for me, Four Dead Queens is the Indigo Staff Pick for this month (in the teen category), and I received a finished copy. The cover of the book is what finally pulled me in, and I’m so glad that I decided to sit down and read the very first page so that I would see whether this book was for me or not.

I think that it’s very difficult to blend genres, and it’s even more difficult to do it right. Like I said, before reading this book, I thought that it would just be high fantasy. However, it turns out that Four Dead Queens is actually a seamless blend of a murder mystery, high fantasy, and science fiction! I liked the world right away, and how unique it felt for me. I also liked that we get to see things from the perspective of the main character, Keralie, and from the perspective of the queens. The mystery was great in this book! And there were so many twists and turns that I was kept guessing until the end (which was awesome)! I loved Four Dead Queens and am kind of sad now that it’s a standalone. I’m greatly looking forward to what Astrid Scholte will publish next (whether it’s set in the nation of Quadara or not … even though I’m hoping for more Quadara)!


Raised on a diet of Spielberg, Lucas and Disney, Astrid Scholte knew she wanted to be surrounded by all things fantastical from a young age. She’s spent the last 10 years working in film, animation and television as both an artist and manager. Career highlights include working on James Cameron’s AVATAR, Steven Spielberg’s THE ADVENTURES OF TIN TIN and HAPPY FEET 2 by George Miller. She’s a visual writer and aims to capture the vivid stories that play like movies in her head. When she’s not writing, she’s painting her favorite fictional characters and obliging her furry overlords, Lilo and Mickey. FOUR DEAD QUEENS (Putnam, Spring 2019) is her debut novel.

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The Field Guide to the North American Teenager
was the Indigo Teen Staff Pick of the Month for March!


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