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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the born queen
After the slow pace of the proceeding book, events take off here. The author continues to deal with the separate stories and trajectories of each character in turn, as was his pattern in previous books. However the plot gets distinctly darker: the fanes, including those used by Anne and by Stephen Darige, are powers of darkness, whose use can only corrupt the user - a...
Published on 18 Sept. 2009 by maureen n

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It went nowhere...
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...
Published on 16 Mar. 2009 by B. D. Wilson


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It went nowhere..., 16 Mar. 2009
By 
B. D. Wilson (UK) - See all my reviews
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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.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Messy and Unsatisfying, 29 May 2008
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M. Glen (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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After the first three books in the series I had very high hopes for the final volume. Unfortunately they were not met.

The book starts promisingly enough, but then proceeds to jump forward from set-piece to set-piece without giving a chance for any one to develop fully. Mr Keyes appears to lose his previous fine control of the trajectories of each character, along with his firm grip on the overall dramatic arc of the plot. Some characters are transformed (and readers of the previous books may have seen this coming), but it seems to happen between the 'meanwhiles'. The disjointed approach robs us of any opportunity to take the changes on board gradually, and feels, frankly, perfunctory. It's as if he ended up with two books worth of story left to tackle in the final volume, and couldn't quite pull it off.

Writing itself is good, just the content that is lacking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A seriously disappointing ending to a fine series., 6 April 2009
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A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Born Queen (Kingdoms of Thorn & Bone 4) (Paperback)
The fourth and final volume in the Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series opens with war about to consume the kingdom of Crotheny. Anne has taken the throne of the kingdom, but has been declared a heretic and a witch by the Church, who have amassed an army to the south whilst their ally, the King of Hansa, mounts an assault from the north. Meanwhile, the death of the Briar King and the rise of the prophesied Blood Knight both seem to portend a time of great suffering, and Stephen, Neil, Aspar and Cazio face different struggles in different parts of the land to ensure the survival of the kingdom and the world itself.

Right from the off, something feels 'wrong' with The Born Queen. Despite having read the first three books in short order six months ago, I found it very hard to get into this book initially. Characters seemed to have suddenly changed or moved a long way from where they had been at the end of the third book, and were behaving inconsistently with their prior selves (particularly Anne, although that at least is partially deliberate). The plot suddenly felt a lot more mechanical. In the first three books the characters had good reasons for doing what they were doing, but in this final book the characters feel like chess pieces being moved around merely at the author's whim. People do things because visions tell them to, or because they are under a curse, or because certain characters can suddenly see into the future with pinpoint accuracy. Tonally, the book feels a mismatch with the first three, with the more Song of Ice and Fire-like realism of the earlier books suddenly lost in favour of dark twists more akin to those of The Prince of Nothing trilogy or vision and prophecy-based storylines that feel more akin to Dune. Unfortunately, Keyes is a lot less adept at these forms of storytelling.

In short, The Born Queen really feels like a book the author had to write rather than one they wanted to write. Character arcs are truncated and dealt with perfunctorily at best. The end-points for many of the characters are highly dissatisfying. The grand finale is a complete failure, with the story fizzling out without any real sense of menace or tension. We go from the build-up to the final confrontation to the "Where are they now?" epilogue in the space of two or three pages. Major characters' motivations (particularly Hespero and Fend) are left as a confused mess.

The book isn't a total waste of time. Cazio is still written superbly and his storyline can still be fun (everywhere else the good humour and sense of fun that permeated the early books has vanished without trace, leaving the other storylines as a grim slog), and the events of the book are a reasonable conclusion to the story, but the actual depiction of them is severely mishandled.

The Born Queen (**) is a startlingly disappointing and weak conclusion to what had been a very solid series. The book is available now in the UK from Tor in the USA from Del Rey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the born queen, 18 Sept. 2009
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This review is from: The Born Queen (Kingdoms of Thorn & Bone 4) (Paperback)
After the slow pace of the proceeding book, events take off here. The author continues to deal with the separate stories and trajectories of each character in turn, as was his pattern in previous books. However the plot gets distinctly darker: the fanes, including those used by Anne and by Stephen Darige, are powers of darkness, whose use can only corrupt the user - a fact apparent to the reader long before it is apparent to the individual fane-power user.
This book 'grips' in the way the first two did: it keeps the attention, and keeps one's concern for the characters as they themselves are unaware of how they are changing.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Real let down, 16 Oct. 2008
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Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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If I'm going to be blunt here I do feel that the last part in Greg's series was a let down. After building up the series over the past three books, this final instalment was not only rushed but seemed to try and tie itself up with a nice big bow and as such it really didn't work for me. I'd have rather heard that the series was going to carry on for another couple of instalments and had the tale eek itself out a bit further to allow for character growth along with allowing the plot to develop further rather than the rushed version we seem to have here. It's a great shame as to be honest it's a series I've enjoyed but to lose it all after such careful painstaking world left me feeling that either the author had grown bored with the world or was just hurrying to fulfil his contract.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Very Poor Offering, 19 Mar. 2011
This review is from: The Born Queen (Kingdoms of Thorn & Bone 4) (Paperback)
Like many of the other reviewers, I felt this book to be a great disappointment, and a sloppy ending to what had been up to this point, a very good series. I had settled in my mind, who were the heroes and who were the villains. Then everything became a confusing mess, and I couldn't bring myself to care very much about any of them, since they all seemed to turn into selfish, power hungry and rather insipid characters. The final confrontation between the protagonist was lack-lustre and uninspired. Left a great many questions unanswered, but couldn't bring myself to care. Don't think I'll bother reading anymore of Mr Keyes books, since he lifts you high only to kick your feet out from under you with lazy endings.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The not so triumphant conclusion, 14 April 2008
By 
Timbertwig (UK) - See all my reviews
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Greg Keyes writes this concluding part of The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone in the same fluid, fast paced style that made me enjoy the previous three volumes. Like its predecessors, The Born Queen is filled with likable characters and end-of-chapter cliffhangers that make you want to read on, but ultimately it provides an ending that is flawed and disappointing.

Three quarters through the book, the plot gets very convoluted as the protagonists find themselves in ridiculous situations. Characters you got to care about suddenly develop wildly different personalities, making you wonder if you're reading a different book. Even the long-awaited comeuppance of the main antagonist fails to deliver: Robert's downfall is a low key event rather than the cheer-worthy demise it should be.

I read a lot of fantasy series and until this disappointing ending, I considered The Kingdom of Thorn and Bone as one of my favourites. If only Keyes would write a fifth volume making out that the events in The Born Queen are nothing more than a bad dream and present us with the fantastic ending that this series deserves!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good series, but the ending was a little off., 20 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The Born Queen (Kingdoms of Thorn & Bone 4) (Paperback)
The first three books in the series were good, decent fantasy with some attractive and engaging world building. Having come so far, I couldn't halt now.

But . . . the ending of the series I felt let me down a bit. Things happened to familiar characters that were puzzling and, I felt, jarring.

It's a bit of a shame, as the first books were good, but the story becomes too convoluted - just when you are getting to a reveal, a character reveals he's working for the other side all along and too many of these just threw me I'm afraid.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff, 8 Mar. 2014
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Good stuff, with plenty of surprises, politics, character development, action, adventure, romance, magic - what more could one want in a book?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars i thought it was ok actually..., 20 Oct. 2008
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I approached this final installment with some trepidation having seen the overall rating here - but I didn't read the reviews until after I had finished the book as I wanted to read it without prejudice.

...and I thought it was pretty much of the same calibre as the previous 3. Having read the other reviews, I can see their point - some of the characters do change a lot and yes they manage to dispatch Robert fairly easily. However, I enjoyed the book as much as the other 3, so will stick with my 4 stars for the series overall and as I said in my review of the previous book - this is a good series not a great one.

As to the criticism about the change in characters - well that was one of the things I found interesting, I think Keyes was trying to illustrate how the delineation between good and evil is fairly arbitrary depending on whether you are 'inside' or 'outside' the group and that the quest for power is messy and changes people dramatically. The briar king, the sefry, the church all had ambuguity and worked for their own motivations and that is how the world really is - very rarely is it simply good vs evil. A lot of fantasy books are way to simplistic on this front, and maybe Keyes was too ambitious, however his main characters made the right choices in the end.

The other criticism - that this book was rushed or needed to be more volumes or longer - again i was quite happy with it and felt like it tied up its loose ends satisfactorily - like the 4 faiths for example.

Two minor criticisms from me - the kept appeared to be completly different physical form to the others of his kind - not sure why or how that that was the case. And the 3 thrones - I found them a bit confusing as to which was which and I think there could have been more background to that.
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The Born Queen (Kingdoms of Thorn & Bone 4)
The Born Queen (Kingdoms of Thorn & Bone 4) by Greg Keyes (Paperback - 3 April 2009)
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