A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
It's a fantasy meant to entertain. Shows corrupting influence of political power.
You should tell the truth, even in difficult situations. Political power can be a corrupting influence.
Violence & Scariness
As title suggests, it does contain violence, including a throat-slitting, a drowning, and a poisoning. These scenes convey the victims' surprise and fear but don't dwell on gruesome details.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Though their interactions are prickly at first, Varin and Keralie develop a romantic relationship that entails a few passionate embraces.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Four Dead Queens is a fantasy mystery by Astrid Scholte. A professional thief and a messenger boy team up to save the royalty of four different regions after they learn that an assassination plot is afoot. The level of violence is fairly low but includes a drowning, a poisoning, and a throat-cutting. The two main characters are attracted to each other but have a prickly relationship that precludes romance until the end of the book. Other couples are more direct in acknowledging their romantic relationships, without going into detail. No swearing or substance use.
Is It Any Good?
Some fantasy authors get bogged down in the details of world-building, but the creator of this unusual whodunnit sets the scene gracefully while keeping the narrative moving at a steady clip. Debut novelist Astrid Scholte mixes fantasy and mystery elements in Four Dead Queens, and the result is a clever, suspenseful adventure, with plenty of surprises. Keralie and Varin prove to be an appealing couple, and Scholte provides a satisfying resolution while leaving the door open for future installments. Teen readers should find this novel extremely likable and promising.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.