Book Review

Book Review: Bow Before the Elf Queen (The Elf Queen #1) by J.M. Kearl

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 598 pages
Author: J.M. Kearl
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: April 26th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


In hiding all her life, Layala prepares for the day the wicked High Elf King Thane will come to steal her— his powerful mate. She trains to take her revenge for the wrongful execution of her parents, who died for her freedom.
Now that day has come, forcing her to come face-to-face with what she’s hidden from: a dangerous, dark-haired, warrior king determined to marry her.
After she’s shoved into a black carriage pulled by six ominous steeds, Layala makes plans to take her captors’ lives and free herself….but Thane has a secret that makes it impossible for Layala to slay him. She has an even darker truth that makes loving her forbidden, no matter how much Thane wants to touch.

Dare to dive into this whimsical and deeply romantic story inspired by Hades & Persephone, The Lord of the Rings, and a sprinkle of Norse mythology. A tale that will grip you from the first page and stay with you long after the last.


I have sat on this one in my kindle unlimited library for a long time, and upon finding an audio version I flew through this!! I’m so glad I gave it a chance.

The romance set-up was everything I love about arranged marriage/enemies to lovers. There’s great banter, knife to the throat moments and all the swoon from Thane. I loved his persistent nature to show Layala exactly the kind of elf he is. It was also nice to see Layala show the ability to change her mind as new facts were laid before her. Too stubborn of a nature always bugs me and I love that this wasn’t the case here. I really liked her strength and resilience amidst a whole heap of drama.

What brought this to a four star for me was the third act conflict. I just couldn’t believe that Layala believed that about herself. It didn’t track well and made for unnecessary drama that rolled my eyes a bit.

I did like the surrounding plot and story. It keeps the pace moving well and there’s a heavy dose of action to keep you on your toes. I look forward to seeing where this book will go to next!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: a vague to fade to black
  • Violence: med-high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: torture, murder, kidnapping, battle scenes

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s