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Astrid Scholte Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Four Dead Queens (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Vanishing Deep (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Astrid Scholte is a Singaporean author living in Melbourne Australia. Her area of specilitazation in writing books is science fiction, young adult and fantasy genres. She is best known for her 2019 debut novel Four Dead Queens which received positive critics from readers around the world.

Raised on a diet of Lucas, Disney and Spielberg, Miss Scholte knew well that she wanted to be surrounded by all things fantastical right from a young age. She has been fascinated by all things fantasy ever since her parent took her to Disneyland. She spent more over ten years working in animation, film and television as an artist and a manager. She has worked on James Cameron’s all times best movie, The Avatar, Happy Feet 2 by George Miller and Steven Spielberg’s film The Adventures of Tin Tin. A visual writer, Astrid aims to capture stories that play like films in her head vividly. When not writing, you will find her helping her furry overloads Mickey and Lilo and painting her fictional characters.

Four Dead Queens

Imagine of Red Queen world with factions from Divergent or districts from The Hunger Games, but a queen ruled each of these districts/factions. Astrid’s debut novel Four Dead Queens is a young adult book influenced by these predecessors.

Under each division is a queen and each division has its ideas and ways of living. For example, the faction of Archia ruled by Iris favors hard work like farming and isn’t concerned with anything related to technology or advancement. It the hardworking of the four divisions and its people have no sense of attitude. They are strong-willed, humbled and love both nature and the old ways. They view technology as more destructive as it is helpful.

On the other hand, the quadrant of Eonia can be compared to the Erudite faction from the Divergent series since they value to medicine and technology. They live in the coldest and barren part of the land. They are the most disciplined of the four factions. To overcome their harsh climate and lack of natural resources they focus more on technology. But this only results in a society with people characterized by disconnected emotions never connecting to anything or anyone.

What happens when a king dies without an heir? This is the problems that Quadara, a country divided into four factions with four queens on the throne faces. While Eonia is known for its advances in technology, science and medicine, Ludia is considered a cultural hub where the residents are mainly focused on literature, fashion, and music. The only shortcoming Ludian’s have is that they are more naïve than the other divisions. So their young generations and some adults are unprepared to face the harsh reality of life. Toria serves as the Quadara’s capital, and its residents are seekers of knowledge, merchants and artisans who built boats and sailed to explore the world, and as a result, they discovered the fourth quadrant known as Archia. But despite all these, the Torians are also greedy and demanding.

In the initial years of the founding of this great country, the ruler of Quadara was a king. The king married four women, each queen from each quadrant- to taste what each quadrant had to offer.

When the king died, leaving no heir behind, the four queens decided that they’d rule the country together. Each queen was to represent the faction she was from thus giving them equal voice and power ever since the four queens rule the country.

The four queens have set what’s known as Queenly Laws, a set of rules that state how the country shall be ruled. These laws have helped keep the country instability and also helped shaped the country by providing the rules of succession and structure of the government. The laws also outline what’s expected of each queen. But rules are provisioned to be broken, and all the current Queens have a lot of skeletons in their closets. All the skeletons are purged from their confinement one by one as each queen is murdered.

Four Dead Queens is both a young adult novel and a murder mystery as well. Right from the start, the story draws you in, and drama unfolds swiftly making for a fast read. The narrative alternates between the queen’s stories and the main characters, Keralie, a professional thief who’s hired by the main villain Mackiel and Varin a messenger.

The author does a fantastic job in character development. One of the characters you’d love to hate in the story is Keralee, the heroine. She is a liar, thief, and a manipulator whose self-serving and selfish behavior resulted in her father left in a coma after crashing the family boat to teach him a lesson. She is filled with angst and guilt and her actions since the day she almost killed her beloved father show that she’s learned some lessons.

Varin is a young, innocent and adorable like a little puppy. He’s also smart, sneaky, wise and strong especially given the fact how life has been cruel for him in the past. Then there’s Mackiel, the type of person who takes your weakness and tweaks it for their self-gain with the scheming mind.

Astrid also did a wonderful job of crafting the relationships that exist between the different characters in the story. The relationships of friendships and enmities, the complex relationship between Kera, her best friend and her family and the bonds the sister queens are all three dimensional something that most authors find impossible to achieve especially in a standalone novel with a plot this big.

Overall, Astrid Scholte’s debut novel Four Dead Queens explores the ups and downs and the treasures and dangers of love. In a world full of secrets, there is always a price to pay for everything we desire. In the end, the big questions are who we are? Is it possible to be ourselves if we are not free to love? Who lies inside the darkness that lurks deep within us?

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