Shadow Queen, by Deborah Kalin

I put out a hand to steady myself as the vision took me. The parquetry floor washed to black…As if sparked by the hard glare, a fire burst and waged through the room, the flames hot enough to crisp bones and raise the smell of marrow burning to cinders. And me in the middle, wrapped in the black shroud of the dead.

Matilde has been groomed to take over as Queen of the Turasi, but two years past her coming of age, she is still waiting for her grandmother to hand over the reins. Now, though, a threat to her future – the return of her long-exiled Aunt Helena – whose sudden return hints at a plot to overthrow. When Matilde has a vision of impending doom, she feels powerless to stop it from happening, and when the court is attacked, is thrown into a struggle for life, and to reclaim the throne she knows should be hers.

Shadow Queen is a brilliant fantasy novel from a first time author. Matilde is at times feisty, at others extremely vulnerable and even naive, and is supported by a range of characters both opponents and allies, though at times it is difficult to tell which are which. The reader is drawn into her battle and cares what happens to her and her friends, willing her to win against seemingly insurmountable odds. The first instalment in new series The Binding, Shadow Queen will have readers eagerly awaiting the next instalment.

Shadow Queen (Binding)

Shadow Queen, by Deborah Kalin
Allen & Unwin, 2009

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.