The Queen’s Gambit by Jessie Mihalik
I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed The Queen’s Gambit (2017), the first novella in Jessie Mihalik’s ROGUE QUEEN series. It’s about Samara, the queen of a nation that stayed independent in a war between two powerful galactic empires. But, without allies to trade with, the people of Queen Samara’s Rogue Coalition are practically starving.
To earn some money for her country, Samara decides to attempt to rescue emperor Valentin Kos from the Quint mercenaries who are holding him captive, and then to collect a reward from the Kos Empire for his safe return. Things are going as planned until Samara is sold out by her partner. Now she’s in just as much trouble as the emperor is…
The Queen’s Gambit is short, fast, fun, and sexy. Tantor Audio’s edition is only 4.25 hours long but in that time Mihalik manages to make me understand and care for her characters. Queen Samara is smart, strong, funny, courageous, and ruthless when necessary. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. Mihalik maybe goes a little overboard with Queen Samara’s badassery, but I was entertained enough that I didn’t care. Emperor Valentin is a worthy love interest and it will be interesting to see where that goes.
The Queen’s Gambit is entertaining all the way through. I listened to Tantor Audio’s edition which is performed by Rachel Dulude. She has a nice voice, but not the most suitable prosody. She often emphasizes the wrong words in sentences. This was not a deal-breaker for me, though. I am willing to read the sequel, The Queen’s Advantage, in audio format. In fact, I’m looking forward to it.
This looks like good fun!
What I’ve read of Mihalik’s work has been a lot of fun, and I’m glad you think so, too, Kat!