Firstly, a huge thank you to Titan Books for sending me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date: 22/02/2022
Length: 464 pages
Genre: Fantasy | High Fantasy | LGBTQ+
Five hundred years of peace between queendoms shatters when girls inexplicably stop being born. As the Drought of Girls stretches across a generation, it sets off a cascade of political and personal consequences across all five queendoms of the known world, throwing long-standing alliances into disarray as each queendom begins to turn on each other—and new threats to each nation rise from within.GoodReads
Uniting the stories of women from across the queendoms, this propulsive, gripping epic fantasy follows a warrior queen who must rise from childbirth bed to fight for her life and her throne, a healer in hiding desperate to protect the secret of her daughter’s explosive power, a queen whose desperation to retain control leads her to risk using the darkest magic, a near-immortal sorcerer demigod powerful enough to remake the world for her own ends—and the generation of lastborn girls, the ones born just before the Drought, who must bear the hopes and traditions of their nations if the queendoms are to survive.
As a lover of the fantasy genre, I’ve really been enjoying how many refreshing takes are being taken in recent years, especially in the aspects of the role reversal of male and female characters. However, Scorpica, takes this to a whole new level with its darkly complex characters, intricate politics and world-building as well as the brilliance of how each thread of plot weaves together in ways you don’t always anticipate.
I could, quite easily, spend paragraphs upon paragraphs talking about all of the different characters in this book as they all had something so interesting about them that I really enjoyed. However, there were a couple in particular who I was always excited to go back to: Tamura and Eminel. Without going into specifics, as I don’t want to spoil the stories of these characters, Tamura was very much a character who I didn’t like at first. Although she is a fierce warrior I didn’t like the way she presented herself or handled herself compared to other warriors like Queen Khara. Yet, as we spend more time with her the more we see how complex she is and I was surprised that I came to understand where she was coming from. I didn’t always agree, but I could understand and I found that I started to like her too.
Eminel, on the other hand, is the complete opposite to Tamura. I was endeared to her from the beginning with her mother doing everything she could to protect her from the dangerous Arcan Queen. However, I became even more endeared to her when she meets the Rovers (all of whom are also brilliant!) and saw how she interacted with them. As this novel spans many years (we see both Tamura and Eminel grow up, for example) there were some times where it was difficult to fully understand how much time had passed, as the way time is explained is all in relation to events significant to the queendoms. Although this was a nice touch, I did have the occasional moment where I was unsure how these related to actual months and years. This confusion was usually cleared up in some way as the novel progressed and didn’t stop me from enjoying the novel or the pacing of the story.
Overall, Scorpica was a brilliant opening to a series. It’s amazing how much was included in this novel including what we got some sort of closure on and what we have left to explore in later novels. I am incredibly excited to see what happens in the next novel following the events of Scorpica and I envision this being a series that many people will be talking about for a long time to come! You should definitely get on this train early as it promises to be a thrilling ride.