The Exiled Queen: A Roman Era Historical Fantasy

Roxana Arama

Publisher: Dhawosia Pages: 376 Price: (paperback) $14.99 ISBN: 9798989873104 Reviewed: March, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

In this historical fantasy set in the era of the Roman Empire, Andrada, Princess of Kerta, seeks to prove she is a worthy heir to her father’s kingdom.

Andrada is the only child of King Cothelas, ruler of Kerta, one of four Dhawosian Kingdoms with a history of infighting and distrust between them, even though all live in the mighty Roman Empire’s shadow. Andrada is introduced at age ten as a girl whose mother died in childbirth and who has yet to meet with her own father. To give her the chance of becoming his heir, her father orders her to dress and learn as a boy as she prepares for the King’s Challenge she must pass at age 18. But when Andara makes a mistake, a more traditional future awaits her in an arranged marriage with the king of neighboring Valdavia. Trapped in a loveless marriage, how can she fulfil her destiny to be the next queen of Kerta?

This is an immersive read with a complex but well-described world. Dramatic action is well balanced with introspection in tightly executed scenes. Arama moves expertly through Andrada’s teenage years, presenting an engaging heroine who answers challenges with action and intention, although her decisions sometimes create as many problems as they solve.

The first six chapters are confined to Andrada’s point of view, but the structure changes when she becomes an adult, and the story proceeds with the additional perspectives of her husband, Nicetas; her husband’s brother Daxys; Nicetas’ mistress Una (a potential love interest for Andrada); and neighboring king, Scorilus. These changes are clearly signalled, but the narrative becomes choppy, for example in Chapter 20 where the viewpoint changes six times. Backstory between Nicetas and Scorilus slows the forward momentum of Andrada’s journey. With so much going on, her character arc suffers.

Overall, however, this a strongly written fantasy. Readers will especially appreciate the solid worldbuilding and convincing battle scenes Arama delivers throughout.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

Author's Current Residence
Seattle, Washington
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