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Posted August 1, 2013
Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite
The Fourth Queen by Mark Miller weaves fairy tales, magic, and the innocent faith of two young girls together as they are forced to abandon their home and set off in search of the heart of the kingdom of Empyrean. An ancient evil has brought about tremendous destruction in the eastern part of the kingdom. With the death of the Queen of the Eastern Sky, the remaining three Queens of Empyrean can no longer hold back the threat. They need the fourth queen, still just a girl, to complete their circle of strength and save the castle and the kingdom. Zandria and Olena flee from werewolves intent on capturing them and meet with many different obstacles and helpers along the way to Empyrean. The combined forces of the four parts of the kingdom and a great deal of magic help the girls achieve their goal, just in time for the final showdown between good and evil.
Mark Miller has written an engaging, interesting, and exciting tale about love, courage, and innocence in The Fourth Queen, the first of the Empyrical Tales series. With a great combination of existing fairy tale elements and characters, and creative additions, the plot moves along quickly. The book captures the reader’s imagination as magic and heroic deeds protect the two young sisters trying to reach the castle at the heart of the Kingdom of Empyrean. Sibling rivalry and natural childish emotions are only some of the many obstacles the girls must overcome so that one of them can take her place as the Fourth Queen of Empyrean and complete the circle of power that will save the kingdom.
Posted July 31, 2011
In this wonderful story, for children and adults alike, we are introduced to a captivating set of characters and a unique kingdom called Empyrean.
The story is crafted carefully, with lots of suspense and build-up of different storylines, creating a web of plots that must have taken careful planning to achieve. There are enough surprises along the way, like unicorns and tigers, to keep even the most jaded of readers captivated and turning the pages.
The characters are all very amusing, from the three queens at the very beginning, to the two main characters: Zandria and Olena, two sisters of royal blood. Their relationship is well-developed and complex, with all the mixture of love and competition that siblings experience, but with a healthy dose of fantasy to make it just a touch different. The reader falls in love with the two of them as we follow them through their adventures. The landscape itself is, in my opinion, a character all its own. It is intricately made, with a multitude of details to keep the reader amused and with a smile on his or her face. It's one of those stories that is hard to put down once it really gets started.
This is a book perfect for a quick, fun, fantasy-filled read. Every lover of fantasy and fairytales would love to dive into Empyrean., and I for one, will be picking up the second in the series.
Posted April 9, 2011
What can two young girls do to stem the evil that is threatening the land in which they live? The fairy-tale world of Empyrean is ruled over by four queens who protect Empyrean from evil. Snow White is the Queen of the Northern Wood. Cinderella is the Queen of the Western Sun. Isis is the Queen of the Southern Valley. However, the Queen of the Eastern Sky, who is never named, is suddenly killed by a strange monster, thus putting Empyrean in danger because all four queens are needed. Zandria, age ten, and her younger sister Olena, age six, live with their father in a village near the Queen of the Eastern Sky's castle. Their mother disappeared shortly after Olena was born.
Empyrean is being attacked by an army of magical Rockhorn soldiers led by a snail named General Gusk, a renegade dwarf named Lord Vanril, and a gypsy witch named Sasha. Zandria and Olena receive a summons to come to the Castle Empyrean. Zandria believes that as the older of the two she will become the next Queen of the Eastern Sky. Their father is killed by one of Sasha's werewolves as the enemy tries to stop the girls. Along the way they pass through many dangers but receive help from a monkey-like quzzak named Kez, a boy named Adam who had escaped from the enemy, the Prismata fairies, a prince named William, a horse named Fury, a unicorn named Sayonya, the white tiger Virgata from the town of Bremen, a couple of ghost princesses, a toy soldier named Sylvan, and a pirate named Mildoo Vol. But can they make it in time? Or will they even survive the journey?
Author Mark Miller says that the book was written for and inspired by his two daughters. His aim is to create strong, positive female characters to serve as role models for his own daughters and girls everywhere. It is certainly an exciting story based on the eternal struggle between good and evil that will definitely appeal to young girls. However, it also has enough intrigue along the way, episodes with monsters from time to time, and battle action especially toward the end, that even my fifteen-year-old son enjoyed it. Furthermore, there is a beneficial moral element to the plot. Because of enmity that she has had towards her sister, Zandria is occasionally tempted by the darkness of evil inside her heart, but in the end her love for Olena helps her to overcome it. The next saga in the Empyrical Tales, The Lost Queen, picks up right where the first one leaves off and concerns Zandria and Olena's missing mother. Anyone who likes a good fairy tale will surely appreciate The Fourth Queen. I did.
Posted March 15, 2010
When the fairytale kingdom of Empyrean suddenly finds itself threatened by the return of a long-forgotten evil, it's up to the sister team of Zandria and Olena to come to its rescue. Determined to save her beloved kingdom, Zandria is forced to undergo a series of increasingly difficult challenges in her quest to claim her birthright as queen - knowing full well that if she falters, not will she leave Empyrean in peril, but she may also lose her sister forever...
Imaginatively well crafted, The Fourth Queen is an engaging fantasy tale. In it, author Mark Miller introduces the reader to a host of unique characters, each of which fits quite well within the overall scope of his expansive storyline. Furthermore, Miller does an impressive job of sustaining the suspense of his narrative, ensuring that the reader remains rapt at attention through each new development in the unfolding of Zandria's daunting journey. With such a combination of engrossing elements, The Fourth Queen shines as a standout example of the best that quality fantasy fiction has to offer.
An entertaining - and ultimately rewarding - read, The Fourth Queen is strongly recommended for readers of all ages.
Posted December 26, 2010
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