The Queen of Bloody Everything by Joanna Nadin
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
DNF @ 30%
I really forced myself to read to 30% on The Queen of Bloody Everything (Queen). This book appears as though it might be cute, fairly light and fun; which is why I picked it up after some intense reading that had resulted in a book hangover for me. While I realize a hangover may be part of why I didn't get into Queen; I have my doubts. Weeks since putting it down, I still have zero desire to try picking it up again and so I'm calling it as just not for me, and determining that Joanna Nadin just missed the mark for me on this one.
We are brought into Queen via the narrative of a woman telling her life story to her mother. The cadence is a bit odd at times as the narrative (our leading girl/lady) will say things like "you" and she's not referring to you as the reader; but "you" as in her Mother that she is talking to. This is, of course, because her Mother was a main character in her life story. However, because Mom doesn't respond back, or have any interaction with our leading gal, it was awkward for me (until about 20% in) to keep straight who was talking at times.
While telling a story may seem like enough for a novel; that story really needs to have plot. Besides the 'life and times' narrative of our lead gal's experiences I could not figure out what the plot of the story was. While Mom is a total headcase and very narcissistic, this fact isn't plot to me. As I always say, existing in life is not plot; otherwise we all have very plot filled (even if boring, lol) lives everyday. Plot should drive the need or reason for the story to be told (ie: destroying a ring, obtaining a crown, establishing a business, finding a killer, etc.). I couldn't find a single reason why I was being told this story.
As mentioned, Mom is a complete narcissist. Let me be more specific she is a: selfish, bitchy, loser of a mother who believes she is clearly more important than anyone else. I really hate these people (in fiction and real life). No one person is 'more important' than anyone else. And while I realize we are supposed to dislike Mom I literally couldn't bring myself to find any redeeming factors about her in 30% of the book. I can't imagine any scenario in which she has some magical turnaround (and is worthy of the time her daughter is putting into telling the story of her awfulness) that could result in me liking her for more than a fleeting moment. In fact I'm not sure why the daughter/narrator is even bothering to revisit these awful memories she has. This ties back to the issue with a lack of plot. Why are hearing this story?
The title is actually very telling in this instance. Our narrator calls herself "The Queen of Bloody Everything" after her mother says it one day. But instead of realizing (at least as a child in first 30%) that this is not a compliment; our narrative seems to interpret it as a good thing. If you like pompous, awful characters that bulldoze their way through life, surviving on the charity of others, you might enjoy Nadin's story.
While I did not get far enough in to hear our narrator tell any part of her story as an adult; I feel like after 30% of the book I know what this is about. A rambling, narcissistic excuse for why useless people who hurt others should be forgiven. There is no doubt to me that eventually Mom makes some amazing turnaround to help or save the daughter, our narrator. If this is not the case in the end I'd be very surprised...
Ultimately, regardless of the ending, it came to the fact that I just didn't care about ANY of the characters in Queen and didn't miss them for even a moment when I put this one down and didn't finish it.
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
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