FORMAT/INFO: The Queen of Days was published on October 24th, 2024 by Harper Voyager. It is 384 pages long and is told from Balthazar and Tass’s point of view. It is available in hardcover, ebook and audiobook formats.
OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Balthazar may be an accomplished thief, but that wasn’t the life his path was on originally. But years ago, a violent mob that blamed his father (the governor) for the city’s misfortunes attacked and killed most of his family, with only Balthazar and a few others able to escape into the night. Now this family has grown into a family of thieves, and they’ve just been hired to do their biggest score yet. Even better, it targets the man who instigated the mob in the first place – and then became governor himself. All Balthazar has to do is steal an idol during a consecration ceremony of a new temple. The catch? Balthazar’s patron demands that he hire the Queen of Days, a mysterious figure known for daring escapades. With her in their back pocket, this job should be a piece of cake. It soon becomes clear, however, the ceremony wasn’t just for show, and now a deadly force has entered the human realm…and it wants its idol back.
The Queen of Days is a quick and breezy adventure with a spectacular finale, though full of largely forgettable characters. As a standalone story, it wastes no time getting to the heart of the action, picking up on the eve of this daring heist. The result, however, is that we don’t really get a chance to meet the crew or see them developed in any meaningful fashion. For instance, I could tell you very little about Zee beyond the fact that she’s a tinkerer and a scientist, makes bombs, and is married to another crew member. Kai is Balthazar’s half-brother…and…I think the brawn? You get my point.
The plot itself is decent, definitely saving its best for last in a show-stopping final confrontation that I thoroughly enjoyed. The middle of the book, however, definitely lost momentum, as the crew spends most of its time either trying to find a way to avoid having to deal with the consequences of their heist, or learning the backstory of what was unleashed in the first place. But with most of the trust shattered between the crew in the fallout of the heist, it really takes until the finale before we see any kind of daring and well-executed plan, the very element that usually draws one to a heist story to begin with.
CONCLUSION: In short, The Queen of Days is a serviceable enough fantasy adventure, one that I personally think would have benefited from additional length to flesh out the crew and its dynamics. If you’re here for the fantasy shenanigans and can accept the premise at face value, it’s a quick read that delivers a solid ending. But as someone who prizes characters above all else, this one didn’t click with me as much as I was hoping.