I was not intending this to be my first finished book of the year, but a funny thing happened while I was reading it. I ended up becoming so immersed in the story that I could not stop reading it, and before I knew it, I was done. Nameless Queen by Rebecca McLaughlin is a fascinating story that one could argue pertains to the current leadership and today’s political climate as much as it does about the imaginary world of haves and have-nots in which it is set. It definitely sheds light on the unnamed and unacknowledged class system that currently exists in the United States as well as all over the Western world. In particular, it explores the twin question of “What is power?” and “What does it mean to rule versus lead?” — two very prescient questions for today’s climate.
Fast-paced with a good blend of action and exposition, Ms. McLaughlin does a decent job of answering all questions without forcing readers to suspend disbelief. The magical elements exist but never overshadow the story. The characters are a bit one-dimensional, however. Their growth consists of becoming more aware of one’s strengths, weaknesses, and values. The story thrives in spite of this, or maybe even because of it since so much of the story revolves around who should make decisions on behalf of others.
As a debut novel, Nameless Queen is a strong showing but not without room for improvement. Again, it kept me reading until the wee hours of the morning and made me forsake the one book I wanted to finish above everything else. I enjoyed the polite but pointed messages within the story and appreciate the reminder that with privilege comes the duty to protect and care for the less fortunate. Given what is occurring all over Australia and the continuing immigration sagas around the world, it is a message worth repeating.