Human and goblin brothers Cole and Tinn are finding their way back to normal after their journey to the heart of the Oddmire. Normal, unfortunately, wants nothing to do with them. Fable, the daughter of the Queen of the Deep Dark, has her first true friends in the brothers. The Queen allows Fable to visit Tinn and Cole as long as she promises to stay quiet and out of sight—concealing herself and her magic from the townspeople of Endsborough.
But when the trio discovers that humans are destroying the Wild Wood and the lives of its creatures for their own dark purposes, Fable cannot stay quiet. As the unspoken truce between the people of Endsborough and the inhabitants of the Wild Wood crumbles, violence escalates, threatening war and bringing Fable’s mother closer to the fulfillment of a deadly prophecy that could leave Fable a most Unready Queen.
In Book 2 of The Oddmire Series, we follow Fable as she learns how to control her powers while somewhat running on teen angst.
If you've read The Changeling, The Unready Queen picks up right where this left off. The Burtons are once again adjusting now that they know Tinn is a goblin. This makes certain aspects of their lives a challenge. Annie starts a new job, and Tinn has been spending time with his goblin family to learn his background and learn how to control his magic. Fable, on the other hand, is such a wild spirit. She's so glad she has friends from town to hang out with. I especially love how she calls everything outside of the Wild Wood: people-this, people-that. It's a different take on what we humans have, which also constantly reminds us that Fable is different from the rest of us.
This story also minimally touches on Tinn and Fable's attitude regarding their magical abilities. Due to being raised by humans, Tinn longs for time spent in the goblin horde. It allows him to learn more about his powers, hone his abilities, and learn more about his goblin heritage. Despite being born with incredible magic, it doesn't come naturally to him. He had to work with it, understand how to make it work with him, and constantly practice. He takes in all of his lessons with the understanding that he needed this; he needed to learn how to control it. This determination is clear when he pleaded he needs all the help he can get when his hand turned the color of the ink he accidentally got on his finger and he couldn't transform it back to normal. Fable's magic, however, comes naturally to her to a point where the Queen deemed magic lessons necessary and mandatory - something Fable isn't a fan of.
I found this story to heavily lean on Fable being "The Unready Queen" because she's about 13 or 14 years old, with basic magic knowledge. Imagine if something happened to her mother. It's a situation no kid should be thrown into. At the same time, the term could've easily defined the Queen of the Deep Dark. The prophecy showed Fable, blood, and a gunshot / bullet. Imagine if something happened to Fable. It's a situation no mother, no parent, should be thrown into. Until that prophecy is fulfilled, they're both unready queens.
The Unready Queen is a story of friendship, family, and bravery. It's understanding why things needed to get done a certain way. If The Changeling is Tinn and Cole's story, Fable's is The Unready Queen.
About the Author:
WILLIAM RITTER is an Oregon educator and author of the New York Times bestselling Jackaby series. He is the proud father of the two bravest boys in the Wild Wood, and husband to the indomitable Queen of the Deep Dark.
Thank you to Algonquin Books & Algonquin Young Readers, and Netgalley for providing a copy of The Unready Queen for review.