#YAFantasy #BookReview | The Once and Future Queen: Curse of the Celts by Clara O’Connor

ou are accused of crimes against the Code. How do you plead?
After failing to escape the Roman metropolis of Londinium with Devyn, her lover, and Marcus, her betrothed, Cassandra wakes in inky darkness to find the ground giving way to sand beneath her feet.
All three of them have been carted back to the notorious arena at the heart of the city to stand trial by public vote. Cass knows they must escape at any cost: to warn the Celts of the mysterious blood curse ravaging their kin, to foil the schemes of the imperial council…
To find the fabled Lady of the Lake, the one who could save them all.
But even as the jaws of death close in around her, another threat looms in the shadows, a danger she never could have foreseen, a betrayal that could burn down her entire world.

Goodreads’ Rating: ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️

I wanted to love book one of this trilogy, but I did not. There were aspects of the plot that piqued my curiosity, and it ended on a cliff-hanger – which both led me to pick up book two. And, I am so glad I did! I loved this story from beginning to end, and the issues I had with the first book are entirely non-existent in book 2.

What I Loved

The plot and setting are rich, vibrant, and full of magic and wonder of a by-gone mystical era. I love that King Arthur’s time is maintained in this story even though, technically, the setting is a much more recent period. That time in history spurs my imagination, and Curse of the Celts hits on all the reasons why it does; from the vastness of the forest and the beauty of the water to the Samhain celebration, the magic, and the castles – my imagination could wander and explore.

The story is plot-driven, and the characters take a back seat to the plot, but I did not notice that until reflecting on the story in anticipation of writing this review. Even though lacking depth, the characters still must overcome so much that I was able to lose myself in their struggles and connect on that level. I expect to see Cassandra’s significant growth in the third and final book as the plot choices dictate that the story development will head in that direction.

The tone, which was a problem for me in the first novel, is more appropriate in this part of the story. The characters face much tragedy, and I loved that the story took me to some very tough places, as death impacted the characters more than once. The last death, even though sad, made the story much more potent and gave it an unexpected depth that still resonates with me.

To Read or Not to Read

This is a fantasy I can now recommend highly. I’m still not a fan of book one, but I am a fan of book two – the direction it took, the vibrancy of the story, and the theme that is now firmly in place, make me want to sing its praises to anyone and everyone.

13 Replies to “#YAFantasy #BookReview | The Once and Future Queen: Curse of the Celts by Clara O’Connor”

    1. I was so glad that the cliff hanger in the first novel gave me the push I needed to read the second. It was everything I wanted to see in this story and more.

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  1. I’m glad you enjoyed book two. The middle book of a trilogy is usually the one that slogs a little. Sounds like this one really delivered!

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    1. I know, right? But hands down, this one was the opposite of what you normally see. I think I would have rather this be a dulogy with the second and third novel, but that’s just my humble opinion.


    1. It is very rare. I hoped it would be a bit better, but I never expected this degree of improvement. I’m so glad because I could see where the premise had a lot of potential.

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  2. Every time I read about Arthur, Camelot, and the Lady of the Lake I am reminded of the School for Good and Evil. I loved that book so much I literally fell into a pit of despair because I was so sad that I was not born in that world lol. Lovely post!

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    1. Lol. I feel that way about some fantasy worlds too. They just seem so beautiful and cool.


  3. I’m glad to hear that book 2 was a hit, Tessa. I usually have some difficulty connecting with plot-driven books, but it sounds that wasn’t a problem in this case. Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂 Adding to my wishlist.

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