3 out of 4 stars
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The Undying Queen of Ur, by Abraham Kawa, follows the story of Arkhalla, the first of the Undying. As the strongest of her kind, she becomes ruler of Ur, but after ruling for 200 years and with the introduction of the human Shamath into her life, she begins to question the bloody manner of her ruling. Seeing these transitions taking place in Arkhalla’s personality, those closest to her begin to doubt her leadership, and fearing the changes that might occur if she continues to develop her plans for peace, they begin to plot against her.
I loved the descriptions throughout the story, as it made the settings and the characters come to life and easy to picture. I also loved the cultural and religious inclusions for the Undying. These provided depth and history for this race, tying in the past while providing the motivations and reasoning behind their actions in the present day. The writing was overall beautiful and eloquent, fitting the feel of the story, but at times it became a bit overbearing and difficult to understand.
The main things I had issues with while reading were the characters and their inconsistencies. Arkhalla is continuously described to us as being bloodthirsty and constantly seeking war and battle, but I don’t believe we saw that much of that at all throughout this book. Most of what we saw was her trying to be decent to humans and treating her slave far better than slaves are usually treated. Her general, Bel, is described as being completely in love with her (although it’s more of an obsession, not love), but then has no problem or hesitation in turning against her when others mention treason.
One thing that confused me was the motivation of her council for turning against her, since their reasoning seemed to change as the story progressed. Sometimes they no longer wanted her to rule because she was changing and no longer as bloodthirsty as they desired her to be. This motivation I understood. But at other times they claimed that they no longer wanted her on the throne because she was a woman. I wasn’t sure why they waited 200 years to complain and be unhappy that she was a female, when she’s been a female the entire time and they didn’t seem to have any issues previously. They also did not like the fact that she treated her slave well, as they view humans as far beneath them, yet the one who got the group together to dethrone Arkhalla also treats his slave well and is in love with him.
Overall, I did rate The Undying Queen of Ur three out of four stars. The book was relatively well-edited, and while the characters did annoy me a good portion of the story, I enjoyed the overall premise of the book and looked forward to picking it up again every time I had to set it down. I was intrigued and curious to see how everything developed and where the story was going. This book is definitely not intended for a younger audience due to extreme violence and explicit sexual content, but for a more mature audience and those that are fans of vampires, this would be a good pick.
The Undying Queen of Ur
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