The Lost Queen is a novel of historical fiction, which on the surface appeals to the audience those kinds of books draw ... my adoration of the novel comes from a deep love of young adult books. The Lost Queen checks off all of my YA requirements: badass female protagonist, love story (crucial), and page-turning story filled with real life love and loss. Pike nails it ... At over 500 pages the novel covers a lot—we're talking coming of age on steroids here ... There's texture there, layers from generations of oral history to years and years of written records to today, where our modern comprehension of the past takes on its own sheen. Perhaps that's the most beautiful part of Pike's novel, the richness of the words, the feeling behind sentences that detail real life events that took place so many years ago.
The Lost Queen...is the rare historical epic that manages to be truly sweeping and yet always intense and personal—at once a romance, a story of faith, a story of war and a story of family without ever sacrificing one element to focus on another. The romance does not cancel out the palace intrigue, the faith does not cancel out the magic, and the war does not cancel out the intimate moments of discovery and history. It’s all there at once, each element as rich as any other ... Languoreth’s narration, coupled with the sense that we get to discover the intrigues and mysteries of her world along with her as she ages, is the key to the novel’s success. Pike strikes the right balance of immersive historical detail and sincere emotional resonance, and it never falters throughout the book. By the end, you feel happily lost in this mist-shrouded place in history, and you only wish you could stay there longer.
In addition to the broad cast of well-drawn characters, the book also has many quick, fine descriptions of the lush natural settings against which the stark danger of the plots unfolds. And almost all such descriptions, there’s a nod to time, to the fact that although Languoreth’s era is fifteen hundred years in the past, it contains many reminders of time stretching even further back ... The Lost Queen arrives in a beautifully-produced edition from Touchstone and Simon & Schuster, a think of heavy, ornate design that matches the dramatic and sometimes overheated indulgences of Pike’s narrative and dialogue. Although the pacing never slows below a brisk canter, there are many elements of this story that are pleasingly old-fashioned in their primary-color urgency. The Lost Queen will also draw inevitable comparisons with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, and fans of that series will find something of its earnest melodrama here, as well as a considerably more elusive quality: the feeling of a very promising start.