A Broken Queen is the third book in the fantasy series, The Nine Realms, by Sarah Kozloff. At the end of The Queen of Raiders, we know that Lautan saved Cerulia after a magi threw a fireball at her. I was itching to know more.
Book three is really about Cerulia’s recovery. She’s away from the Raiders, who do not know if she’s dead or alive, and fighting for her life. She is in Healer’s realm, where she must recover before she can find her way home. Meanwhile, the Raiders continue fighting the Oros.
This book is probably the one that used the most magical realism. I still don’t understand how the spirits knew to tentatively prepare to help Cerulia.
At the beginning of A Broken Queen, we find out that Mikil survived the fight with the Pellish. Furthermore, he has been chosen as an agent of Lautan. Two others survived with him – a woman Arlettie, and a little boy, Gilboy. They lived together on a deserted island for 8 years. All their attempts to leave the island failed until Lautan allowed their departure.
When she falls into the water after being hit by a fireball, Cerulia is rescued by animals in the sea, first a terrapin before being transferred to a sea lion, and finally a dolphin. The dolphin was accompanied by whales who sang her a lullaby. When the dolphins brought her to a boat, it happened to be the boat carrying Mikil and his family from the deserted island. Next, they were rescued by a ship, Island Dreamer.
No one knew who the injured woman was but cared for her before transferring her to a boat heading to Wyeland, whose inhabitants specialize in the healing arts. Arlettie, feeling sorry for her, gave her Cressa’s dagger and some jewelry. Meanwhile, Mikil and his family headed to Slagos, where they met with Magistra Destra. It was there that Mikil became Lautan’s agent?
Tristo, Thalen, and Eli-anna managed to escape from Oromondo after the set the capital city on fire and made their way to Sutterdam (through Tar’s Basin and Slagos). In Tar’s Basin, they met Gunnit and Peddler on the ship taking them to Slagos.
From talking to Gunnit, the raiders realized that he matched many, but not all, of the stories that Skylark had shared with them. Over the weeks they spent together, Peddler revealed that he was an agent, but didn’t share any information about Skylark or the work of the agents. Gunnit enjoyed learning from the other men, especially Tristo, but they parted ways in Slagos while the Raiders continued to Sutterdam.
Back in Pilagos, the remaining Raiders all met up again. Thalen also reunited with his brother, Hake, and friend Quinith, who had been recruiting and finding resources for the raiders. After a week, everyone but Eli-anna, who decided to go back home, carried on to the Free States to continue their fight with the Oros.
Back in Sutterdam, the Raiders were lauded when they landed. When Thalen and Hake made their way home, they found their father was back home but suffering from dementia. Norling was taking care of him while also serving the Defiance.
It was Norling’s idea to box the Oros into Jutterdam and let them starve, even though that would also mean letting their hostages starve. She sent Gustie to deliver the suggestion to Mother Rellia, the lead of the Defiance.
Thalen and Quinith just missed the opportunity to meet Gustie. She’d been killed by the Oros while on a surveillance mission to prepare for the plan of trapping the Oros.
With the death of Mother Rellia, Thalen carried out the plan to trap the Oros into Jutterdam, the largest city within the Free States. Then, with Magistrar Destra’s help, he negotiated for the Oros to release their captives and leave the Free States.
Back in Wyndton
Marcot and Percia were infatuated with each other, and so Marcot made many visits to Androvale, staying with the duke and duchess, so that he could see Percia. He officially got permission from her and her mother and started courting her.
Marcot wanted to marry Percia, but his father convinced him to wait a year after his mother’s death and get to know Percia better. In the meantime, he started make plans for Percia and her family to move to Cascada.
One day, the family were attacked (as arranged by Matwyck) but with help from two of their friends who were visiting (Lemle and Rooks) they were able to defeat the attackers.
Given the devastation and loss of life in Oromondo, Sumroth took over both the military and civilian matters. His first task was to have soldiers sift through the rubble to recover the jewels of Oromondo that they could use for buying help from Pellish pirates.
Agents Meet in Real Life
Magistrar Destra hosted a dinner of important guests during Mikil’s visit to the Free States. As Mikil was invited, he met another agent, Hunter, although they didn’t recognize each other at the time.
Later, Magistrar Destra was appointed as an agent for Mingyun, the Spirit of Fate, who had previously deserted the world. This happened on a visit to Gardener, where she also met Peddler, who introduced Gunnit as his apprentice. The agents decided that since they couldn’t help Cerulia, it would be up to Gunnit to do. This would remove any conflict of interests, as agents should not get involved against each other. Nevertheless, Smithy called a moot to discuss their meeting.
Smithy called the Moot to accuse other agents of meeting in real life to plot against the spirit he served, Pozhar. However, none of the other agents sided with him, and Healer dissolved the Moot without making any judgment against any of the agents that Smithy accused.
From the Free States, Mikil and his family headed back to Lorther. As if conducted by the spirits, Moon Racer showed up in Pilagos, run by officers that had served under Mikil. He was able to take command of the ship to go home.
Matwyck continued his reign of terror. With his wife out of the way, he started dating a duchette (Lolethia) who was younger than Marcot. He wanted a partner who would work with him on his machinations, and he also wanted more children.
In serving Nargis, Nana recruited three former shields who she thought would b loyal to Cerulia upon her return. She told them to get ready for the queen’s return and had them pledge their fealty.
When Gunnit arrived in Cascada, he went to the fountain to wait. Nana found him there and took him back to the palace with her, finding him a job there.
The Queen Heals
It was weeks later before Cerulia, now called Phenix, woke up from her fever. When she tried to use her power, she felt heat in her head, which dissuaded her from trying again.
As Phenix got stronger, she was moved to another location within Salubriton, Wyeland, a house with other recovering patients where they all helped take care of each other. There she got stronger, being cared for and caring for others. In particular, she helped a lady who was suffering after her husband killed their child and died of suicide. She also grew close to Sezirō.
Sezirō and Cerulia talked at length to each other. During one conversation about honor, Sezirō explained that the Zellish are honorable and recommended one of his countrymen, Ciellō, as a bodyguard.
Trusting Healer, Cerulia explained that she couldn’t use her powers. Healer helped her realize that she was completely healed, including her powers. This opened her up to communicating with animals once more. In chatting with a catamount, the animal challenged her as to why she was still in Wyeland. This helped her realize that it was time to leave.
Once she decided to leave Wyeland, she went in search of Ciellō to hire him as her bodyguard and they came to an agreement. Ciellō would make arrangements for them to leave while Cerulia would keep a low profile since people were still searching for her.
Deciding that she needed a dog, Cerulia got a horse and went to the outskirts of town to find one. Wyes did not believe in keeping dogs as pets, so she found them caged on the outskirts of town. After releasing them, she chose a dog of her own once more. When Hunter started chasing her, she managed to hide and escape.
In Wyeland, each person has their place in the social structure. Social stature is inherited and demonstrated through the choice of pattern that each person uses for the ever present parasol. Cerulia used this to camouflage herself and escape the Hunter who was looking for her. When Ciellō sent her a message that it was time to go, she managed to evade Hunter and board the ship.
On the way, Cerulia and Ciellō slept together one day. However, he avoided any physical intimacy with her after that, without explanation.
A Grand Reunion
Finally, with Ciellō in tow, Cerulia made it to Cascada. She managed to sneak onto the palace grounds one night with help from birds, just as everyone was preparing for Percia and Marcot to wed. She waited for the daytime after Matwyck’s special guards left before using the wedding to try to gain access to the palace. But before the guards could verify her claim that she was a relative. of Percia, she ran into Percia, Marcot, Tilim and Stahlia. The family was shocked but happy to see her.
Cerulia was placed in her old room because the palace was full and there were no other rooms available to use. There, she met Nana, who immediately recognized her.
A Grand Celebration
When Lolethia came to visit Cerulia, she offered to help her with her hair. Cerulia declined, planning to wear a hair cover to hide her blue hair. However, when Lolethia barged back into the room and saw her hair, Cerulia used her dagger to slit her throat. Cerulia and Nana moved the body to the room of one of the other guests, where she would be found after the wedding. Then Cerulia got ready for the wedding, wearing a recommissioned dress of her mother’s with her hair covered to hide the blue.
Matwyck spared no expense for the wedding, pretending to approve of Percia. However, many other nobles treated Percia and her family terribly, looking down on them. Despite this, the wedding celebration went smoothly. Marcot was very welcoming of Cerulia and complied shen she asked him to keep her away from his father, saying she was frightened of Matwyck. In that way, Cerulia avoided being along with Matwyck.
Matwyck was suspicious of Cerulia and wanted to get her alone for questioning. However, when his guards went to find her that night, she was with her (adopted) mother taking a walk outside. Matwyck didn’t want Stahlia to know that he was suspicious of Wren.
Cerulia’s old friend, Lemle, had been arrested and imprisoned. There, he met Master Ryton, Cerulia’s tutor when she was a child. They two became friends.
The Ending of A Broken Queen
The catamounts in the Throne Room smell Cerulia’s scent from the garden. They yearn for her and “they purr”.
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