From the Shadows of the Owl Queen’s Court (Yarnsworld #4) by Benedict Patrick
ARC provided by the author for an honest review.
I have been fortunate enough for the last two Yarnsworld books to have been included in Bendict’s ARC group and I couldn’t be more thankful. After picking up the first two books in this series a couple of years ago, I instantly fell in love with this world and its dark fairy tale atmosphere. These books have such a grim and almost spooky feel to them but at the same time are charming and whimsical. They not only follow a “current” storyline, but each book alternates to chapters of tales and folklore that corresponds with each book and its setting. This one was different from the first three because we actually have returned to the Magpie King’s forest from the first novel, They Mostly Come Out at Night. While the rest of the books each take place in a different part of this magical world that Benedict has so wonderfully created.
In this book we follow two different character arcs. One being a slave girl Nascha, and the other being the son of the current Magpie King, Bradan. Nascha has grown up in the Owl Queen’s Court, hiding her white hair and poisoning herself to keep her visions at bay all in the sake of keeping her life. For if the royalty were to find out that she carried some of the true Owl Queen’s characteristics they would kill her on sight. So instead she just dreams of running away all the while befriending the princess in hopes to gain her freedom in any way she can. Meanwhile, Bradan is living a hard life as well trying his best to do his sick father’s job of protecting the people who dwell among the Magpie King’s forest but still somehow always getting the blame for everything that goes wrong. Just when he thinks that all is lost though he comes across an opportunity that might lead to greatness but at what cost?
The setting in these books is filled with so much magic, creatures straight out of nightmares and folk of all sorts. There are giant crows with skeletal heads, girls made from the bark of trees, foxfolk who travel in caravans and perform where a penny can be made. The lands range from the sea to the forest, and everything in between. There is so much imagery and its so particularly described that the images seem to form effortlessly. Reading these books is a treat in that aspect. I love the way that it almost transports you to this dark and mysterious wood, where you jump at every crack of a twig or rustle of leaves. I can almost smell the moldy leaves of the forest floor when I’m so into these books that I can’t tell whats reality anymore.
There’s not a dull moment either. From the moment this began with giant beavers attacking poor farmers, to running away with a traveling caravan. There’s romance, fighting, magic, and more. I don’t think that there was ever a moment where I was bored while on this journey through Yarnsworld. I love that it all balances out so well, you never get sick of the plot because its constantly changing. And then on top of that there are the perfectly integrated folk tales that keep you intrigued with the history of this world and all the things happening in this book.
Benedict Patrick is a gem of an author that has written these wonderful books that are so unique and different from anything else I have read. Yarnsworld is truly one of a kind and you have to experience it for yourself to really understand. These are like the real fairy tales that you weren’t told as a child for they can definitely make you jump at a bump in the night. But at the same time they are almost so whimsical and romantic that you want to get swept away in the love story hidden in there as well. This book is definitely a perfect addition to the Yarnsworld series and I can’t wait to see what Benedict comes up with next!
If You Liked This Book
This is a rare instance where I am going to recommend a book you might want to read BEFORE the book I’ve written this review about. While they are both stand-alones, reading They Mostly Come Out at Night also by Benedict Patrick will give you more of the backstory and depth to From the Shadows of the Owl Queen’s Court. Both are set in the same world and bring some of the same characters into play. But either way, they are both fantastic books that you should definitely give a try!
I absolutely love this series and its crazy to me that they aren’t more widely known. That doesn’t take away from their amazingness though, or my tendency to push them on everyone who asks for a good book suggestion! Do you have a favorite series that you feel deserves more love? I’m curious to know!