Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran

Rebel QueenI won't describe for you the bloodshed and cruelty I saw that day. I don't wish to remember it, and I don't like to accept that I am capable of the acts I committed.

This is a novel about Manu, the last queen of India. I've read about her before...and I cannot remember a thing from the novel I read before, meaning it left no impact on me at all. This one, I will remember.

Something I've noticed with Moran's books....they are appropriate for the young reader as well as the adult. I'm not sure if this is intentional or not, but thought I'd mention it for those of you who may want to know or have teenagers in the household.

This novel is well written and enlightened me on the war between the British and India. I knew the East India Company was naughty whilst there, but I didn't realize the British actually passed a law demanding Indian woman becoming their prostitutes and stuff like that. Nor did I realize how very worthless the queen was in all this, Queen Victoria.

And what a brutal war was this...brutal. Sad. Very sad.

I walked away from this book with a lot more knowledge than I had before.

But if you think it's about war, it's not. As a matter of fact, I feel the blurb is a bit misleading. It says, "Queen Lakshmi raises two armies—one male, one female—and rides into battle like Joan of Arc. "

And she does...but not until about 90% into it. The war actually begins at 83% and the heroine of the tale gets really into it at 89%. The queen becomes "Joan of Arc" at like 95%.

So that's a bit misleading. Until that point it's about Sita and the queen's guard, consisting of ten highly trained women. And this was unusual at the time as India was mostly women confined to their homes. Sita leaves a difficult household in hopes of making enough money to get her sister a dowry. And there's an evil lady guard as the villain and court intrigue and drama as Sita learns to watch her back among jealous, vindictive women. And there's the British trying to take over. It's actually really fascinating and riveting; I just wish there'd been more fighting and warrior stuff on Sita's part, but once she trains, that's pretty much it until that sentence I posted at the beginning of this review. Her fighting bit in the war is told in a paragraph or two.

She does make an entertaining trip to England though as well.

I enjoyed this novel and really liked its heroine. I loved learning about the all-female guard and the customs, the palace, the gods. I felt completely transported and a part of the tale.


  1. I always get something great to remember from Michelle Moran, and I agree that her books are appropriate for interested young people. I know as a teen I would have eaten these up.

  2. Thank you! My twelve year old wanted to read it and your review and Elizabeth's comment helped a lot.