The Queen's Advantage by Jessie Mihalik science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsThe Queen’s Advantage by Jessie Mihalik

The Queen's Advantage by Jessie Mihalik science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsThe Queen’s Advantage (2019) is the second story in Jessie Mihalik’s ROGUE QUEEN series. These are short and entertaining science fiction novellas. I enjoyed the first one, The Queen’s Gambit, because it’s fast-paced, has a strong female protagonist, an appealing love interest, and a nice sense of humor. You’ll want to read it before picking up The Queen’s Advantage.

I listened to Tantor Audio’s edition which is narrated by Rachel Dulude. The cover art of the audiobook is horrendous, and Dulude could use a bit of coaching for her prosody, but don’t let this scare you away. It’s a good format for this story.

Because of the events that took place in The Queen’s Gambit, Samara, the Rogue Queen, is now a close ally to Valentin, the smart, sexy, and benevolent emperor of Kos. Young Valentin is surrounded by advisors that have been in power a lot longer than he has, and he knows that at least one of them can’t be trusted. He asks Samara to visit his court to help ferret out the traitor.The Queen's Gambit by Jessie Mihalik

When she gets there, she finds out that it’s even more dangerous than she imagined and she needs to use all her wits to guarantee Valentin’s, and her own, survival.

Readers who enjoyed The Queen’s Gambit are likely to feel similarly about The Queen’s Advantage. There’s not quite as much action this time because there’s so much political intrigue, and there’s very little time spent on spaceships because most of the story takes place in Valentin’s court. Again, Samara’s badassery is not all that believable (she needs to learn some diplomacy), and some of the dialogue is a bit clumsy, but the story is fun and that’s what we’re expecting in this short, jaunty space opera.

I expect that we’ll be seeing more of Samara and Valentin in the future. Jessie Mihalik serialized The Queen’s Advantage on her blog before it was published in book and audiobook form. Perhaps she’ll do the same with the next story.

Published in 2019. When Queen Samara Rani fulfills the promise she made to Emperor Valentin Kos to visit his court and meet with his advisors, she knows they won’t welcome her with open arms, especially when she’s been tasked with discovering the traitors within their ranks—traitors she tricked out of five million credits. As soon as Samara begins her investigation it becomes clear that Valentin’s advisors want her gone and they aren’t picky about how. After their tactics turn violent, Samara and Valentin race to unravel the web of treachery and lies before the next attack ends in tragedy. When the conflict escalates in ferocity and rumors start blaming Samara, she is forced to continue her hunt alone. Uncovering traitors is difficult when courtiers learn to lie before they learn to walk, and one misstep could cost her life. However, Rogue Queens aren’t easy to kill and Samara has more than a few tricks of her own.


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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