Review: The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

The Queen of the NightTitle: The Queen of the Night

Author: Alexander Chee

Pages: 561

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

From a writer praised by Junot Díaz as ‘the fire, in my opinion, and the light’, a mesmerizing novel that follows one woman’s rise from circus rider to courtesan to world-renowned star Paris, 1882.

Lilliet Berne is a sensation, a legendary soprano with every accolade except an original role. When one is finally offered to her, she realizes with alarm that the libretto is based on a hidden piece of her past. Only four could have betrayed her: one is dead, one loves her still, one wants only to own her. And one, she hopes, never thinks of her at all. As Lilliet mines her memories for clues, she recalls her life as an orphan who left the American frontier for Europe and was swept up into the glitzy, gritty world of Second Empire Paris.

In order to survive, she transformed herself from circus rider to courtesan, from empress’s maid to stage ingénue,all the while weaving a web of passion and intrigue. Will the truth secure Lillet’s fate – or destroy her with the secrets it reveals?

The Review

I was really looking forward to reading The Queen of the Night. I love epic historical fiction. However, for me, The Queen of the Night was just too epic.

I know that sounds completely contrary but I found the minutia of Lilliet, our protagonist’s, life altogether tedious. I feel like you were guided every which way and were unable to form your own opinions as you were led to where the writer wanted you.

For me, The Queen of the Night was the literary equivalent of a work meeting that could have been an email. Far too long.

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee is available now.

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1 star

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