Review of Queen Moxie, by Hank Quense

I won a signed paperback of Queen Moxie, by Hank Quense, through Library Thing.

Description from Goodreads:

Moxie’s adventures continue. This time she’s the Queen and her reign is threatened. A tribe of savage Picts have migrated from up north and settled outside her borders. Then there are the forests fairies. Their king, Oberon, claims a vast chunk of her land. In addition, Moxie’s ten-year-old daughter, decides she doesn’t want to be the next Queen. How’s a Queen to deal with all these problems? 

Review:

This is utterly ridiculous and anachronistic, but endearingly so. Think Terry Pratchett.

Unfortunately, it really suffers from amateurish writing and not knowing what it wants to be. The writing feels suited for lower YA audiences, maybe even Middle Grade. But the book includes cursing and references to sex, which I have no problem with in principle but have no place in a Middle Grade book. I suspect that the issue is the author wanted to write and adult book, but only has the skill to craft middle grade complexity in his stories.

Plus, I sense that Quense meant for the book to be gender positive, but it really wasn’t. There are several problematic gender norms that go largely un-critiqued. Pedro and his insistence that he can control Kate simply by virtue of being a man. (None of which contributed to the plot in any way.) And the fact that I don’t think Moxie makes a single decision in the whole book that she doesn’t ask a man about first.

The whole thing was just too clumbsy for me to enjoy. Honestly, I skimmed the last 50 or so pages trying to force myself to finish it. And I wouldn’t even have done that if it didn’t fulfill the Q for my yearly alphabet soup challenge (where I read an author for each letter of the alphabet).

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