Title: Queen of the Sea
Author: Dylan Meconis
Release Date: May 7 2019
Publisher: Walker Books US / Candlewick Press
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy, & Historical Fiction
Goodreads Rating: 3.62 (of 21 ratings)
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Cult graphic novelist Dylan Meconis offers a rich reimagining of history in this hybrid novel loosely based on the exile of Queen Elizabeth I by her sister, Queen Mary.
When her sister seizes the throne, Queen Eleanor of Albion is banished to a tiny island off the coast of her kingdom, where the nuns of the convent spend their days peacefully praying, sewing, and gardening. But the island is also home to Margaret, a mysterious young orphan girl whose life is upturned when the cold, regal stranger arrives. As Margaret grows closer to Eleanor, she grapples with the revelation of the island’s sinister true purpose as well as the truth of her own past. When Eleanor’s life is threatened, Margaret is faced with a perilous choice between helping Eleanor and protecting herself.
Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of Candlewick Press. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book.
It took me like 1/4 of the book to finally figure it out that this was LOOSELY based on Elizabeth and Mary, and not ACTUALLY about Elizabeth and Mary. That was not the book’s fault – totally my brain who had become fixated on the premise of them. I just kind of stared at it going…but isn’t it Elizabeth and not Eleanor??? Yes, brain, it IS, but this author is taking real events and creating fantasy worlds which is all explained in the summary you probably should have reread before doing this.
Once I figured that out, it was a lot of fun to pick up the real history and how Meconis would slip it in with just a subtle change. Eleanor = Elizabeth, Edmund = Edward, Franics = most likely Francis Drake, Albion = England. I have to give so much credit to Meconis for making these fun little changes that was had me going OMG, that is creative.
The art was really good, too. The book that I had wasn’t in color, so I can imagine that it’s going to look great with color since it was looking pretty great in greytone and just some brushstrokes. Meconis definitely has a talent for drawing, and looking at the art was definitely my favorite part of the book.
The writing was a bit interesting. I don’t think I’ve read a graphic novel with as much writing as there was in this one. I mean, there were a few pages that were just a whole lot of text and like one image. A lot of it was world building too and giving a lot of descriptions. I found myself getting bored with these, and they happened more often than not. Some of them did have cool facts or brought a little bit of cute/funny bits, but others were just kind of snoozy.
There were parts that were interesting, but I did feel like a good deal of it was pretty underwhelming. I never really felt the tension, and it did seem like we were just rowing in a boat in circles. I wanted a little more excitement instead of another lesson on something? There was a twist that brought a little more excitement, but then it kind of just dwindled, and I started flipping through pages far faster than I needed to. It ending leads to a possible continuation of the story, but the cute art wasn’t enough to make me want to be excited/want to pick up.
Overall, the story was a bit more meh than I wanted it to be. There were some fun parts, but they kind of just slipped back into being snoozy. The art was great, though, and Meconis is definitely a great artist. However, it wasn’t enough to bring me the full excitement. 2 crowns and a Cinderella rating!
What do you think? Have you ever read a graphic novel with lots of text? Let’s discuss in the comments below!