The Cerulean Queen is the final book in the fantasy series, The Nine Realms by Sarah Kozloff. What a journey! It’s been fifteen years since the Nargis queen fled from Cascada when she makes her way back. She’s traversed hostile and dangerous territories and escaped numerous enemies and mercenaries who wanted to harm. Yet, when she gets back home, there are more battles to fight. She has many enemies at home and needs to cultivate the trust of her subjects. After taking on many different identifies on her journey, can she find the strength and conviction to rule Weirandale?
The Cerulean Queen is a satisfying ending to the series. Cerúlia’s character has developed from book to book. She had to play a variety of roles and has grown into her power. Back at home, she embraces her power, showing consideration for her role as sovereign, a responsible leader but also multifaceted as a woman, daughter, sister.
Ascent to the Throne
Upon her return to Cascada, Cerúlia works with Nana and her shields to enter the Throne room and retake the throne. Matwyck rushes to the balcony and tries to get his followers to shoot her with an arrow. However, Cerúlia’s shields manage to disarm his archer and shoot him. Cerúlia takes control, commanding that the fighting cease, starting with the words, “Though I have gone by many names, I herewith claim back my true identity” and then “I am your queen.” This announcement is met with questions from the onlookers, such as where she had been all this time. Matwyck contests that she is a fake. Cerúlia eventually uses her talent to try to convince everyone.
All had a sense of the tremendous army of creatures — an army capable of destroying every person in the Throne Room, every person in the palace — controlled by the slim woman with her eyes closed and her arms raised. If any still harbored doubts that this woman wielded a Talent granted by Nargis, such doubts fled.
Then, someone pushes Matwyck over the balcony. He is injured but confined to his chambers. Despite the interruption, Cerúlia continues with her dedication ceremony but is injured when someone strikes her with an arrow. Then Ciello shows up to be a bodyguard once more while the palace dogs help round up 50 prisoners that worked with Matwyck and lock them up in the stable.
A fire started in the palace and efforts to fight it were failing. Then Nana uses fresh water from the fountain and salted water to simulate sea water while a stranger contributes air to create three spirits.
Three Spirits. To conquer any One, you must have Three.
Random fires were breaking out all over the realm, without explanation.
Establishing a New Queen
Cerúlia’s first task is to appoint a new Council. She chooses people that she knows are thoughtful and trustworthy, caring of the residents of Weirandale. She also finds the Truth Stone, which helps her find out how trustworthy her closest servants are and is used for questioning some of the prisoners.
Cerúlia selects six dogs to be part of the Queen’s Canine Corps to provide extra security. She also uses them to determine who to trust, weeding out people loyal to Matwyck or his cronies, such as General Yurgn. Marcot, who she called back from his honeymoon along with Percia, is anxious to serve and undo his father’s wrongs.
Cerúlia goes out to meet people as a way of getting them to support her. She tells them her story and asks for their help, and she also demonstrates her talent. By the end of it, people are reciting a poem that ends with “As the long-lost heir becomes queen”.
Finding Out the Truth
The Rorthers want their Truth Stone back and so finding it is high priority for Cerúlia. Searching through Matwyck’s rooms, Nana is able to find the stone. Although Matwyck has escaped, he was very injured and did not take the stone with him.
Cerúlia makes arrangements to return the stone the the Rothers, while getting permission to use it in their presence. The stone proves extremely helpful in finding out about her enemies and about Matwyck’s machinations, including details about his prisons.
When soldiers visit the prisons, they find many dead people and some who arealive. Lemhle and Master Ryton are rescued, although Master Ryton is in bad shape.
Jutterdam and the Raiders
The Oros have all left but there is lots to be done to rebuild the city. Destra and Quinith have dinner together and stroll to their homes after that, arm in arm. Destra wonders if he is flirting with her at dinner but figures that she is 10-15 older than him.
General Yurgn lives in a fortress and allows Matwyck to stay confined in one of the rooms as he heals. He has no intention of accepting Cerúlia as queen. However, Cerúlia will not leave him alone. She is intent on using her talents and fighting back against all enemies.
First, Cerúlia sends Yurgn an ultimatum to surrender. When he refuses, she uses an owl to poison him. The owl cuts his flesh with a poisoned metal hook after perching on his shoulder.
When Cerúlia rides over to Yurgn’s home, his cavalry submits to Queen Cerúlia. Then, she enters the grounds and finds it deserted except for one of his daughters and her two sons. Cerúlia agrees that they can stay and take care of the house while she decides what to do with it.
Inside the house, Cerúlia finds Matwyck. He still acts like he has the upper hand, showing no remorse. Consequently, Cerúlia finds him guilty of multiple crimes and shows no mercy, leaving him with no comfort. She pours out the water that the healer had started to serve him from a pitcher, bars the door and leaves him to die.
Hake gets the pottery business back up and it is doing well. Then one day, his ex girlfriend shows up, expressing interest in him. Although they are both a bit apprehensive about being together again after the ravages of the war, the both decide they want a family.
Hake was reluctant to invite Thalen because he didn’t want to be in Thalen’s shadow on his wedding day. However, he reconsiders and ends up inviting Thalen. One week after they met again, Hake and Pallia get married even though he isn’t sure about his feelings for her.
We lived. We’re damaged, but we’ll start life over. We will make it all right.Pallia, to Hake on their wedding night
With the Weir Queen enthroned, Gunnit depart from Cascada. Tilim, Lemle and Stahlia move out of the palace to their own home, which Marcot had leased for them.
With Master Ryton now recovered, he starts to tutor Tilim, and Lemle gets a job at an engraving company. While Tilim initially hates the idea of studying, he gets excited to go to the castle because it gives him a chance to spend time with the Shields and learn about military tactics. One of the Shields, Yanath, helps him develop a schedule that balances his time between his studies, soldier training, and spending time with his mother.
Percia and Marcot live at the palace, and Percia waits for Cerúlia each evening to help her. One evening, Cerúlia tells Percia about how they first chose each other and did not want to be separated the first time thye met, which was an enchanted memory. Percia responds with, “We’re better than blood sisters, because actually I found you, and you found me.”
Cerúlia wants to have a celebration and came up with the idea of a harvest day festival where she will also honor allies and give people a chance to celebrate the return of the Weir queen.
Eight raiders remained with Thalen after the fight with the Oros, arguing that they have no other home to go to. So they all went by horse form Jutterdam to the Scolairium. There, they get busy helping the local community, finding two Oro deserters and questioning them, and serving in the Scolairium. However, when they receive an invitation to the Weir Harvest Fest, and hearing rumors about the talent of the queen, Thalen wonders if it is Skylark but rejects that idea.
Gunnit and Peddler
Peddler is waiting when Gunnit lands in Alpetar. They decide to fight against the Oros occupying their city using bees. When the bees swarm the Oro camp, the Oros race north as Peddler designed by making sure other routes were blocked.
Back in Lorther, Mikil tries to build a life and realizes that Lautan comes. This lead to dissatisfaction for Arlettie as she wants him to put her needs first sometimes.
When the Lorthers receive the invitation to the Harvest Fest, Mikil and his father are anxious to attend the celebration. The make their preparations and head off by ship.
Mikil and Nithanil were making good time until they get caught in a terrible storm that takes them off track. After the storm, the Lorthers notice about twenty Pellish ships headed for Cascada. Their power of Anticipation help them realize that Lautan caused their delay. They are able to take control of one of the Pellish ships that seemed to have been planning to poison the water in Cascada with hemlock oil.
The Harvest Fest
On the first day of the Harvest Fest, Cerúlia recognizes and pays tribute to everyone who helped her mother and fought the Pellish, and their family members. At the celebration that night, Cerúlia realizes that Ciello is in love with her and possessive of her. In response, she fires him the next day.
On the second day of the festival, Cerúlia meets with Filio Kemeron, heir to the Rother throne, who’s interested in marrying her. She notices that he does all the talking and that he’s assumed that they will split their time between their two realms if they wed. However, Cerúlia is adamant that she would not leave Weirandale and that she wants a husband who will stay beside her. It is also common for Nargis Queens to only have one child, a daughter, which raises the question of succession for the two realms.
Cerulika had given the Chamberlan,Vilkit, a letter for Thalen explaining her journey back to Weirandale. However, Vilkit forgot about the letter as he was busy preparing for the harvest fest. So when Thalen and the rest of the Raiders enter the throne room, they are shocked to see Skylark sitting on the throne. The raiders all erupt into questions for Cerúlia and she has to explain her connection with them before continuing the ceremony. Afterwards, Cerúlia and the Raiders get a chance to chat in the gardens before all attending the evening events. There, it became clear that Destra knew who Skylark was and Percia wonders “Does she hold everyone’s Fate in her hands”?
At the party that night, Thalen and the queen sing together. Later, he lifts her in the air and kisses her. This surprises everyone who see it but they recovere quickly.
The day after the Harvest Fest, Cerúlia receives an urgent message asking her to visit a former councilor to Queen Cressa, Belcazar, who is gravely ill. In the morning, she heads to visit him. However, her dog, Cici, did not like the messenger, which made one of the Shields suspicious. Later, a hawk let Cerúlia know about black sailed ships headed towards Cascada. Quietly, she agres to head back to Cascada without letting the messenger know.
When the party arrive at Belcazar’s, one of the dogs shows distrust for the men that appear to work there. This alertsare Thalen and the Shields that the men are likely the special army, Matwyck’s Marauders. Further, Belcazar does not look like he was about to die.
When drink are offered to the guests, worried about poison, Destra says it was a custom of the Free States to exchange drinks at the table. When Belcazar refuses to drink, that confirms the suspicion. A fight ensures with the mauraders. During this, Thalen finds out that Belcazar turned when Matwyck killed his older son and spoiled his daughter’s match, and Belcazar thinks that Cerúlia should pay for his misfortune. This change was helped by visits from Yurgn. The Mauraders and Raiders fighr and although both sides suffer injuries, the mauraders are defeated.
The Last Battle
Before the battle with the Pellish and Oros, Queen Cerúlia is attacked by a woman with a poison blowdart. The woman wanted retribution for her husband’s death, which she blamed on Queen Cressa. Ciello manages to throw a dagger at the woman and kill her.
Ciello had heard about the invaders and decided to come to help. Cerúlia also has help from the mammals that lived in the ocean, whom she recruited to help attack the Pellish ships. When Thalen and the Raiders return from Belcazar’s, Cerúlia put Thalen in command of the forces.
Sumroth led an army of over 3000 invading soldiers. The Weirs’ attempt to prevent the Oros from landing was ineffective and the fight progressed to archery and then direct combat. However, the turning point occured after Mikil sent a note sigh a pelican to ask if the birds could be usd to release explosive missiles. This plan went ahead and the pelicans helped sink each of the troop ships.
Meanwhile, Thalen, Naven, and a few pikemen headed for the Oro command post and fought with the soldiers, while seagulls helped them by attacking the invaders. When Thalen asked who was in charge of the army, Sumroth stepped forward, declaring himself the new king of Oromondo. Having no weapon, Thalen thought he would die, but Ciello stabbed Sumroth in the neck before that could happen.
All at once, the Oros lost their desire to fight. The explosions, the seagulls and the Weirs were all too much; they surrendered. However, Ciello had many wounds from the fight and could not be saved. His last words were:
Tell her … I wish her … never to be lonely. And you, Commander … May the wind always be at your back.
After the Battle
While many Weirs evacuated in preparation for the invaders, Cerúlia’s family refused to leave. After the battle, her Lorther family and the family from Wyndton all collected at Stahlia’s home to eat together and to honor their dead.
When Prince Nithanil demanded to know when Cerúlia and Thalen would be married, Cerúlia joked the next day. After that, Mikil went outside as Stahlia watched. When she rushed outside after seeing him falter, he was already dead.
A (Possible) Peace Agreement
A Moot table is called by Destra. There is a new Sailor, a new Water Bearer, and a new Gardener. As an agent of Mingyun, Destra has a message. She explains that the Weirs are not responsible for the blights that the Oros suffered and that they polluted their own water by mining. Then she presents a solution to the long-time conflict.
The new Water Bearer, a young boy, offers a gift from Nargis to the people of Pozhar. It is a compound that can be used to clean contaminated water when used with a filter. They ask for peace in return and that the Oros renounce killing Nargis Queens. Smithy agrees to try the gift from Nargis without making any promises.
The Ending of The Cerulean Queen
Thalen and Cerúlia have a daughter, Catalina who’s three. She has the gift of healing, which Tilim discovered after a wound of his healed immediately with her touch. She also healed a burn that he suffered.
The Oros and Weirs are at peace. Thalen now works at a local branch of the Scoláiríum
A grippe ocassionally spread in Weir, and this year, babies are dying. Percia’s two sons fell ill and one of them almost died before Catalina healed him. In excitement, Cerúlia ordered that Chronicler Sewell be called for her daughter’s definition. Tilim rushed off to do that singing:
When danger through the real may reach,
The Nargis Nymph allots to each,
A Talent for the Times.
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