Book Review

Book Review: The Forgotten Kingdom (The Lost Queen Trilogy #2) by Signe Pike

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Fiction + Fantasy
Length: 496 pages
Author: Signe Pike
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: September 15th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The story continues in The Forgotten Kingdom, the second book in the astonishing Lost Queen trilogy, already hailed as “Outlander meets Camelot” (Kirsty Logan) and “The Mists of Avalon for a new generation” (Linnea Hartsuyker).

AD 573. Imprisoned in her chamber, Languoreth awaits news in torment. Her husband and son have ridden off to wage war against her brother, Lailoken. She doesn’t yet know that her young daughter, Angharad, who was training with Lailoken to become a Wisdom Keeper, has been lost in the chaos. As one of the bloodiest battles of early medieval Scottish history scatters its survivors to the wind, Lailoken and his men must flee to exile in the mountains of the Lowlands, while nine-year-old Angharad must summon all Lailoken has taught her and follow her own destiny through the mysterious, mystical land of the Picts.

In the aftermath of the battle, old political alliances unravel, opening the way for the ambitious adherents of the new religion: Christianity. Lailoken is half-mad with battle sickness, and Languoreth must hide her allegiance to the Old Way to survive her marriage to the next Christian king of Strathclyde. Worst yet, the new King of the Angles is bent on expanding his kingdom at any cost. Now the exiled Lailoken, with the help of a young warrior named Artur, may be the only man who can bring the Christians and the pagans together to defeat the encroaching Angles. But to do so, he must claim the role that will forever transform him. He must become the man known to history as “Myrddin.”

Bitter rivalries are ignited, lost loves are found, new loves are born, and old enemies come face-to-face with their reckoning in this compellingly fresh look at one of the most enduring legends of all time.

LONG AWAITED [WORTH IT] SEQUEL.

This is such a hidden gem of a series. If it’s even remotely your niche I definitely recommend picking them up! The Lost Queen is the first for this trilogy and I was once again entranced by book two.

This is not a fast read. It’s one of those that takes you on a slower journey through the pages, yet it doesn’t seem to bother anyone. I like how this story moves. The characters feel right out of history (a testament to the research Pike has done for these novels) and the road they go on always leaves me in shambles.

Speaking of shambles, can I get some good news in the third book? I am overly distraught over how some of my ships went about their time together and need more answers! Granted, I know this is based on history, and I don’t know the exact history, so I might be in for a wallop of a time anyways, BUT I DIGRESS. I will hopefully get some kind of soothing ending to my favorites.

This time around the story leaned towards Lailoken and the battles he travailed through in wanting to keep his kingdom as it was. I love the way this is written and the clear character changes that show up as times goes on [it’s believed he’s the basis for the character we know today as Merlin]. I loved his story line. I still love Languoreth’s plot too. She is a fierce, protective queen who gets stuff done. And we added in a new story with Languoreth’s daughter, Angharad. I thought her pieces might drag a bit, but as the chapters increased it was clear just how important she was to the overall story.

A heart-aching read with war and strife, with people from history brought to life. I adore this series and can’t wait for the conclusion.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction [with some fantasy aspects]
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses; innuendo
  • Violence: gory/bloody; war, battle scenes, murder, dismemberment and more

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Book Review

Review: The Lost Queen (The Lost Queen Trilogy #1) by Signe Pike

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: One derogatory word, Fantasy/historical fiction, lots of violence, some love scenes
Length: 527pages
Author: Signe Pike
Publisher: Touchstone
Release Date: September 4th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Mists of Avalon meets Philippa Gregory in the first book of an exciting historical trilogy that reveals the untold story of Languoreth—a powerful and, until now, tragically forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland—twin sister of the man who inspired the legendary character of Merlin.

Intelligent, passionate, rebellious, and brave, Languoreth is the unforgettable heroine of The Lost Queen, a tale of conflicted loves and survival set against the cinematic backdrop of ancient Scotland, a magical land of myths and superstition inspired by the beauty of the natural world. One of the most powerful early medieval queens in British history, Languoreth ruled at a time of enormous disruption and bloodshed, when the burgeoning forces of Christianity threatened to obliterate the ancient pagan beliefs and change her way of life forever.

Together with her twin brother Lailoken, a warrior and druid known to history as Merlin, Languoreth is catapulted into a world of danger and violence. When a war brings the hero Emrys Pendragon, to their door, Languoreth collides with the handsome warrior Maelgwn. Their passionate connection is forged by enchantment, but Languoreth is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of the High King who is sympathetic to the followers of Christianity. As Rhydderch’s wife, Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way, her kingdom, and all she holds dear.

The Lost Queen brings this remarkable woman to life—rescuing her from obscurity, and reaffirming her place at the center of the most enduring legends of all time.

GOOD FOR WHAT IT IS.

I really enjoyed devouring this book! Though, based off of the description you might believe it to be historical fiction based. While yes, the places, people, and other things are in history, the entire story is essentially fantasy.

Pike did a lot of research and wrote a great Note about the book at the end. It helped me understand her decisions in how she chose to take the book. Lets face it, there really isn’t a way for us to know if Langoureth had a lover on the side, if she truly loved her husband, what her relationship was like with her family, etc. So the author had to make a lot of choices in how to write her story. All in all, if you go into this wanting a fantasy with romance, duty, war and plenty more I think you’ll really enjoy it as I did! If you’re seeking more historical with language, and the time period you might be a little disappointed (as I have noticed in other reviews).

The book is a bit slow at first, it’s broken up into sections of Langoureth at 10, 14/15, and then in her early 30’s. The last gap was a big jump for me, but it did further the story and plot. Maelgwn and Rhydderch (though really, Maelgwn) are essentially the book boyfriends everyone is fond of. I was totally involved in their stories with Langoureth and am curious where it could lead. It’s less of a love triangle than it appears because of the push of duty as a princess she didn’t have a choice.

There’s a lot of characters (where I had to spend a chunk of time re-reading how to pronounce everyone’s names; so happy she added that) and they all had their narrative. Whether or not we know exactly what they were like, I did feel attached to these people. They must have gone through the trials depicted in one way or another. 

After the first 1/3 of the book it retains high action. A lot is happening as Christianity makes an appearance and threat on the Old Way. It was a unique perspective in watching this religious war play out (and will continue throughout this series it seems). Lailoken (the person believed to be Merlin) is rising in ranks and it ended on a cliffhanger that I’m very worried about. 

Langoureth is a work in progress as a Queen (as she is not Queen at this time). I only gathered the pieces of her growing up, so I believe further books will really let her shine. She’s strong willed and makes difficult choices to protect her family and her faith. 

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy, based off of historical people
  • No language, except for one very derogatory word used once
  • Lots of blood, gore, and death
  • A few love scenes, a little steamy and descriptive