Queen of Coin and Whispers has two narrators: Lia, the young, recently crowned Queen of Edar and Xania. Lia is determined to right the wrongs of her dissolute Uncle’s reign, and Xania, a fiercely intelligent young woman who works in the treasury, is determined to investigate her father’s suspicious death, she becomes Lia’s spymaster. As the two of them try to get to the bottom of the corruption in Edar, and a romance sparks between them.
The chapters switch back and forth between the two protagonists, in the first person. It’s a testament to how strong both voices are that I didn’t ever lose track of whose chapter it was. This is a YA novel which aims to be contemporary but also high fantasy which leans into a naturally historical feel. When they fall for each other, their feelings collide with their expected paths in life: duty and vengeance. The political intrigue is well integrated into the romance narrative and neither feels unreal. Counterplotsand hidden enemies make life difficult for our two leading ladies. There is a good range of gay and bi characters as well as herosexual.
Unlike many YA fantasy for teens this has fabulous portrayals of parents and the way the remain parts of their children’s stories Even if the children are out uncovering murder and ruling a country. Additionally, this has a wonderful, healthy representation of a stepparent too, which is a nice refreshing theme.