How To Catch A Queen by Alyssa Cole
An arranged marriage leads to unexpected desire, in the first book of Alyssa Cole’s Runaway Royals series…
When Shanti Mohapi weds the king of Njaza, her dream of becoming a queen finally comes true. But it’s nothing like she imagined. Shanti and her husband may share an immediate and powerful attraction, but her subjects see her as an outsider, and everything she was taught about being the perfect wife goes disastrously wrong.
A king must rule with an iron fist, and newly crowned King Sanyu was born perfectly fitted for the gauntlet, even if he wishes he weren’t. He agrees to take a wife as is required of him, though he doesn’t expect to actually fall in love. Even more vexing? His beguiling new queen seems to have the answers to his country’s problems—except no one will listen to her.
By day, they lead separate lives. By night, she wears the crown, and he bows to her demands in matters of politics and passion. When turmoil erupts in their kingdom and their marriage, Shanti goes on the run, and Sanyu must learn whether he has what it takes both to lead his people and to catch his queen.
I received an advanced readers copy from Avon via Edelweiss. This does not change my opinion of the book.
Alyssa Cole’s books have become my break in case of an emergency. And I am grateful. I’m talking on my knees.
Books were dropping from my hands like flies. I was reaching everywhere, and anywhere, for some calm while the election dragged on and on. Finally, something stuck. I was entranced. Of course. I should have known an Alyssa Cole book would work against all odds.
Reader, I had fun.
King Grump King of Njaza, does what is expected of him. His father, Sanyu I, retook the monarchy from their Liechtienbourger colonizers along with his advisor, Musoke. Musoke is a giant in Sanyu’s world. After his father dies, he is matched with Shanti. Musoke makes him feel like he’s supposed to be devoid of emotion and feeling. So he acts as such. He is told that he’s weak so he remains silent. He is told to be a man and so he is consumed by other’s expectations about masculinity. This becomes his entire life, and he has internalized all of it.
My His wife seems submissive and shrunken when you meet her. Don’t blame her. She has to take down an entire monarchy of misogynists. She very promptly controls his ass. Married via RoyalMatch.com (yes this is a arranged marriage contemporary style thank you for asking), Shanti must put on her queenful pants and teach a king a lesson. Or several.
And she does it so very well.
At night she teaches him lessons. How to rule his country, as is her royal right. How to kiss her against a vase. How to take the misogynists that advise him down. She teaches him how to be a feminist. And his take down is fucking fantastic. I am a simple person. All I ask is to have cathartic feminist romances that allow me to escape the very real misogyny that never ends up healing. I want to make it clear that Sanyu is not like Musoke, very much a man that is set in his ways. Sanyu has internalized some hyper masculinity and Shanti is there to tug at that. There is healing in this book. I’m one for nuance. I want to see the cathatic take downs. I want to see a heroine rip into a hero. This book worked for me in every way.
More than that, Alyssa Cole really digs beautifully at what was lost when the colonizers wrecked havoc in African nations, and does so by using imaginary monarchies to see similar such situations in the real world. Seeing Shanti strive to be a queen and succeed at it is what I want to read every Monday and Friday. Not only that but have a fulfilling love life? Reader, this is *good book sigh*
Side note: Johan mentions a fantasy romance of chickenshifters and Madam Cole? Please tell me all the things.
Pick up How To Catch A Queen for feminist take downs, a spear wielding queen, anti-tyrannical plotting, dry humor, and a gay investigator.
- Do you love Alyssa Cole’s books?
- What books do you read when you’re stressed?