In my reviews for the previous book in the "Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone" series, I have essentially stated that this is a good fantasy series, but not a great one. Perhaps a thrilling conclusion would have elevated its status in my eyes, but that was not to be.
"The Born Queen" is like queuing up to ride on a roller-coaster which then just crawls ten feet along the track and lets you off. It really doesn't take the series to the heights that it needs, and comes across as extremely rushed.
The first half is largely the same as the previous volumes - fast-paced; good chapter cliffhangers, etc - but doesn't really go anywhere. And then in the second half, many of the characters suddenly completely change personalities (Keyes employs various mechanisms to facilitate this change, some of which work better than others), and remarkably we're where we have to be. It all reads very conveniently.
Several times, important events seemed to happen in the "in between" moments. A chapter would finish with a character facing a mini-cliffhanger, and when we next return to that character, something major has happened and we missed it. I just do not understand what Keyes was playing at here.
Then there is a "war" promised on the back cover. Don't bother going looking for it - it isn't there. We don't see a proper battle in the whole book.
The story of Leoff the musical genius turned out - as I had expected - to be completely pointless to the overall story and a waste of the time it took me to follow it.
Finally, the novel is also pretty badly written in places, as well, showing classic signs of being written in a hurry.
Overall, this is a weak effort by an author whose reputation would suggest that he is better than this. In a way, then, I suppose it is a fitting ending to what was always, in my view, a mediocre series.