Contest of Queens by Jordan H. Bartlett
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publishing Date: January 18, 2022
In a Queendom divided, can one girl unite the realms?
Jacs, an inventor’s apprentice from the Lower Realm, has only ever dreamed of the land among the clouds. That is until she finds a letter from Connor, an Upperite boy who sends a wooden boat into the abyss, hoping to learn more about the land below. Little does Jacs know, Connor is actually Prince Cornelius of the Queendom of Frea. With wooden boats and hot air balloons, the two begin a secret correspondence. But their friendship is impeded by a heavily-guarded bridge and an inescapable prejudice.
Their bond transcends distance and time, but when the royal family visits Jacs’ town of Bridgeport, the illusion of peace between the Realms dissolves, and the old feud is reignited.
Now, to save her people, Jacs must infiltrate the Upper Realm and earn her place to compete in the Contest of Queens. She must learn how to survive against the contests’ grueling tasks and within a political web she could not have imagined. In a story about friendship, love, bravery, and defying gravity, Jacs will strive to prove that a Queendom is strongest when united.
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The author had an idea to turn gender stereotypes on its head by creating a world where women instead of men were in power. Although this could be looked at as feminism, she didn't paint it as all rainbows and unicorns but included flaws in that arrised in a society where women are the head rulers,leaders and military. It was interesting seeing the world building in this story filled with prejudices and people who want change while others want to keep to traditions even if it brings harm to others. The heroine was strong and intelligent, a person willing to explore outside the confines society has put her in because of where she was born. I'm desperately waiting for book 2 as we're left with some unanswered questions and an ending that may just be the beginning of a society impacted by the struggle between tradition and change. I have a feeling our heroine won't give in so easily!
About the Author:
Jordan H. Bartlett is a New Zealand-born, Canadian Citizen with a love for children’s literature and female empowerment. She grew up reading books about boys for boys and found it hard to find a strong female heroine she could relate to. Bartlett wrote Contest of Queens to give young readers that character she so longed for in a world where gender norms are reversed. Bartlett currently resides in Banff, Alberta where she works as a Speech Language Pathologist and is a certified yoga instructor.