Gratton’s latest masterpiece, unapologetically queer and brimming with vicious promise ... an epic, compulsively readable triumph that is not only an immersive addition to the canon of historical action adventure fantasy, but a reclamation of the genre and the history, a restoration: a revolution in and of itself ... Gratton doesn’t just change their genders, but uses her reimaginings of Shakespeare’s work to craft expansive lore all her own ... By consciously reframing both Shakespearean and contemporary gender dynamics, Gratton asks us to experience the complexities confronted by her women characters in positions of power, the potency of her men characters relegated to prophet or heir-giver. Her writing is not binary, all her central characters manifest ambition and desire, strive for power and justice, but gender and genre conventions are purposefully upended with this telling. A familiar story is subverted, remade vibrant and fresh. And there is tragedy here—it’s Henry IV—but it’s handled deftly, with purpose, tenderness, and clever twists ... with each perspective, Gratton builds an intricate, intoxicatingly immersive world ... Gratton created an absolute vindication. She knows the canon, she shattered it, and stitched the pieces back together with queer, feminist love to make it something even more beautiful and brilliant ... This is Shakespearean epic at its bloodiest, most haunted, most tormented, all the while brimming with earnestness and love. This is a paean to the powerful, complex women who have always existed, here given the spotlight they deserve. Lady Hotspur is a triumphant remaking, purposeful, magnificent, and wise.
... the story I always wanted. It doesn’t just fill in the exciting missing details or rehash a story already well-known. Lady Hotspur breathes fresh life into its subject matter and creates a tale both familiar and wholly new ... While the novel does largely follow the events of Henry IV, there will be no great insight gleaned from remembering the intricacies of each Shakespearean scene. What readers do need is patience. At nearly 600 pages, Lady Hotspur is a long and sometimes dense book full of beautiful prose and a labyrinthine plot. But readers who are willing to let the story slowly unravel will be magnificently rewarded by an enchanting, worthy read for lovers of Shakespeare and fantasy alike.
... a high fantasy tale of love and loss, of the big wounds of warfare and the quiet cuts of palace intrigue ... It’s a beautiful and intricate landscape across which compelling characters stride. It’s smart and sweet and occasionally savage … and a heck of a read ... Lady Hotspur is the finest kind of fantasy, a thoughtful and evocative novel that does honor to its inspiration even as it carves out a wholly new path. Fans of fantasy, Shakespeare or just plain old solid storytelling will find plenty to like here.
While this novel is not a direct sequel to Gratton’s Queens of Innis Lear, the character stories and references from the previous novel will delight the author’s longtime readers. The wondrous worldbuilding, strong female leads, and plot filled with regicide, regrets, prophecies, and magic create an intricate and layered story of honor, family, and love.
This epic fantasy will delight readers, especially those looking for LGBTQ representation in the genre. It is set over a century after the events of The Queens of Innis Lear (2018), though this story of magic and love can be read as a standalone.
... intricately layered ... Gratton’s lush world is full of magic, mischievous spirits, and otherworldly rituals. Readers won’t have to be familiar with either the previous book or the source material to appreciate this well-crafted, if over long, fantasy.