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Initial Thoughts: “I have been relatively vocal on social media lately about how I am channeling all of my anger and frustration – about work, about the government, etc. – into my reading. The bloodier the story and the angrier the hero, the more I am enjoying the story. Before this, I was somewhat cautious in the types of novels towards which I was gravitating. However, with a title like Kill the Queen, there is no circumspection. The title says it all, and I loved every page of it. There is rage – cold, bright rage fueled by years of torment and petty tortures. There is violence; we are talking about a society founded by a gladiator in which the gladiatorial battles still are the highest form of entertainment. Magic, political backstabbing (in the literal sense), a fantastic training montage, and great characters round out this entertaining story. It fit what I need in novels right now and is, in general, an excellent story. I am excited to see where the series goes next.”

Now: Kill the Queen satisfies on so many levels, and I find myself thinking about that feeling of empowerment and righteousness I had while reading it. Evie’s past, in particular, struck a chord with me, and the fact that she gets to confront her childhood torturer and nemesis is something about which I can only dream. Evie’s growth from self-effacing royal to mighty gladiator is inspiring because she does it all through hard work. She may have a network of the best trainers, but the progress she makes is due to her grit and determination. You can have the best trainers in the world, but they won’t do any good if you are not willing to put forth the time and effort. Evie is more than willing to do so, and I love her for it.

One of the reasons why I find novels such as Kill the Queen comforting these days is the fact that they tend to follow a David and Goliath type plot. I take great comfort in seeing the underdog win at any time, but these days such stories take on greater importance. At a time when it feels like the country’s slide towards fascism and a puppet dictatorship is happening with ever-increasing speed, they remind me of what is possible with the right amount of determination and support. It does not matter that the hero uses magic. It does not matter if the hero is fabulously wealthy or without a penny to his or her name. All that matters is that they act in good conscience and bring down the big bad. When that happens, I feel hopeful that the citizens of the United States can turn the tide and take power away from the old, wealthy, white boys club that makes up the legislative and executive branches of the government.

The violence in such stories is satisfying much in the same way that screaming or throwing something in frustration is satisfying. It provides an ideal outlet through which I can channel my ever-increasing anger at the headlines and soothes an urge – however irrational – I have to see every last Republican strung up by their toes and flogged. If reading allows you to visit new worlds and explore other countries, reading also provides a cheaper alternative to therapy and prevents any jail time.

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