The Dead Queens Club
Author: Hannah Capin
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: January 29, 2019
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Mean Girls meets The Tudors in Hannah Capin’s The Dead Queens Club, a clever contemporary YA retelling of Henry VIII and his wives (or, in this case, his high school girlfriends). Told from the perspective of Annie Marck (“Cleves”), a 17-year-old aspiring journalist from Cleveland who meets Henry at summer camp, The Dead Queens Club is a fun, snarky read that provides great historical detail in an accessible way for teens while giving the infamous tale of Henry VIII its own unique spin.
What do a future ambassador, an overly ambitious Francophile, a hospital-volunteering Girl Scout, the new girl from Cleveland, the junior cheer captain, and the vice president of the debate club have in common? It sounds like the ridiculously long lead-up to an astoundingly absurd punchline, right? Except it’s not. Well, unless my life is the joke, which is kind of starting to look like a possibility given how beyond soap opera it’s been since I moved to Lancaster. But anyway, here’s your answer: we’ve all had the questionable privilege of going out with Lancaster High School’s de facto king. Otherwise known as my best friend. Otherwise known as the reason I’ve already helped steal a car, a jet ski, and one hundred spray-painted water bottles when it’s not even Christmas break yet. Otherwise known as Henry. Jersey number 8.
Meet Cleves. Girlfriend number four and the narrator of The Dead Queens Club, a young adult retelling of Henry VIII and his six wives. Cleves is the only girlfriend to come out of her relationship with Henry unscathed—but most breakups are messy, right? And sometimes tragic accidents happen…twice…
The Dead Queens Club was easily one of my most anticipated books of the year. A modern, YA take on King Henry VIII and ALL of his wives (not just Anne Boleyn)?! So sold! I was thrilled when I got an early copy and started it pretty early. Read the first few pages and set it aside. This isn’t unusual. Books rarely grab me right away, and I tend to feel a bit guilty about starting books super early. At the end of December, I decided to give it another try…and it has taken me the last three/four weeks to get through it.
The Dead Queens Club starts with Henry dating his fifth of the six girlfriends (wives), “Katie Howard” friendly cheerleader extraordinaire. The novel is narrated by the fourth girlfriend, “Cleves” (Anna of Cleves–nicknamed because she is from Cleveland). Their relationship didn’t word out, but Cleves and Henry are still best friends. His first girlfriend has left town for college, Anne has died in a tragic firework accident, and Jane…is also at college (I can’t remember and it really doesn’t matter).
I don’t usually do reviews this way, but I’m so on the fence about this one…
What I liked:
Cleves — I really enjoyed Cleves as a narrator. Her sense of humor is close to my own. I felt bad for her as she obviously isn’t completely over the blink and it was over relationship between herself and Henry. I liked that she loved Katie even though she started dating Henry almost immediately after the break-up instead of hating the “other” girl.
The chapter headings — are hilarious.
The premise — is awesome (even if it doesn’t necessarily work as well as I wanted it to).
What I didn’t:
This book is soooooo long. As much as I was enjoying the writing style, the book started to wear on me after awhile simply because it wouldn’t just end.
The ending just goes completely off the rails and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I put this book aside for a week to read something else when I only had about 50 pages left because I was so over it. I finished this last night so I could get out a review on time for once in my life and I could barely even read the last page. The timeline. The book skips around from the summer camp where Cleves and Henry met, to Anna being alive, to after Cleves’ and Henry’s relationship. I personally enjoy stories that jump around a bit, but this one was a bit of a mess (which might be cleaned up a bit in the finished copies).
What didn’t bother me but could have worked better:
The timeline. The book skips around from the summer camp where Cleves and Henry met, to Anna being alive, to after Cleves’ and Henry’s relationship. I personally enjoy stories that jump around a bit, but this one was a bit of a mess (which might be cleaned up a bit in the finished copies).
So would I recommend?
Ehh…If you like history and YA retellings and don’t have the attention span of a gnat, yeah. Again, the humor was my kind and the premise and writing style were fun.