Nameless Queen

Nameless Queen

by Rebecca McLaughlin

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Overview

One girl must make a name for herself--or die trying--in this royal fantasy where an unknown peasant becomes the ultimate ruler. But how long can she keep the crown if everyone wants her dead? Perfect for fans of Furyborn, Red Queen, and Everless.

Everyone expected the king's daughter would inherit the throne. No one expected me.

It shouldn't be possible. I'm Nameless, a class of citizens so disrespected, we don't even get names. Dozens of us have been going missing for months and no one seems to care.

But there's no denying the tattoo emblazoned on my arm. I am to be queen. In a palace where the corridors are more dangerous than the streets, though, how could I possibly rule? And what will become of the Nameless if I don't?

"A thrilling tale of identity and found family wrapped up in epic, politically-charged worldbuilding. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop...on the list of my favorite fantasies, Nameless Queen has won its way to the top!" - Crystal Smith, author of Bloodleaf

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781524700270
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 01/07/2020
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 80,042
Lexile: HL730L (what's this?)
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Rebecca McLaughlin is a Michigan nerd who appreciates sweet coffee, kindness, and the scientific method. She got her degrees in chemistry and English creative writing in 2014. Since that time, she's worked as a technical writer in Michigan. When not working or crafting stories, Rebecca can be found practicing her knife-throwing skills or seeking out the perfect cup of coffee. She wrote Nameless Queen because she grew up lower class (which sucked), went to a private college (which was weird), and made good friends along the way (which was wonderful). She realized that exploring the social and economic divide is difficult, but magic makes it easier--or at least more entertaining.

makawalli.wordpress.com
@McRebecky

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

I wake up the same way I fell asleep: knife in hand, boots for a pillow, and Nameless.

When I push away the heavy wood pallet, a shiver runs up my arms. My shoulder aches from sleeping on my side, but the best way to stay warm is a small space and a good coat. I pull on my boots, wiggling the numbness from my toes.

Curling my fingers into my threadbare sleeves, I leave behind the pungent puddles and uneven alley brickwork for the smoother cobblestone street bearing the morning foot traffic. Passersby shrug off yawns as vendors shout their prices. Two iron rings for a jar of dried apples, three copper coins for a cut of a morning pastry.

The city of Seriden is waking up.

Hat waits for me at the corner. Usually she’s leaning against the dark bricks and staring out at the morning crowds, her shoulders even and strong, a small smile on her lips that she doesn’t notice. She’ll trade our stolen coins for a breakfast of stale cornbread or day-­old fish and oats while I pick out bump-­grab marks. The easiest are pudgy-­faced Legals with leather purses flaunted at their waists or flashy gems dangling past their stiff, starched collars.

Today she’s fidgeting: shoulders pinched, fingers twitching. Never a good sign.

“Bad news?” I ask. Fresh air, sharp with ocean salt, chases away the last of my morning lethargy.

She grabs my hand and pulls me back down the alley. So much for fresh air.

“Bad, then.” I wrinkle my nose, but she doesn’t seem to notice the smell. She’s surprisingly resilient for being twelve or thirteen years old. “Did the bread caravan break down again? Last time that happened, the markets were a mess. Legals can’t survive without their sugar rolls, can they?” I laugh, but Hat shakes her head.

Her bright red hair frizzes in an energetic halo around her face, and a rare frown curls her features. Somehow Hat easily manages what I can only strive for: optimism. On days when we see a little kid starving in an alley, my stomach twists. Hat  always hands over her breakfast with a smile. If Hat’s frowning, it’s serious.

“Two more Nameless kids went missing last night,” she says. “It was Judge and Spinner. And you know Anchor, that kid who went missing two weeks ago? He turned up this morning. Dead. It was . . . I don’t like it, Coin.”

I give her a soft pat on the arm. “It’ll be okay, Hat. You just have to come straight here in the mornings from now on, okay? And keep your knife handy.”

Hat scans the edges of the rooftops, distracted.

“What else is wrong?” I ask.

“I didn’t see Devil this morning,” she says.

Devil is a Nameless girl a bit older than me who always has the latest gossip. Want to know which guards are good for bribing? Looking to hire a thief? Ask Devil. She’s posted in the same place every morning, and she’ll trade news for food or trinkets. That’s how she makes her living as a Nameless. Instead of thriving on thefts and cons, she thrives with information. That and a smuggler’s business.

Hat visits Devil early in the mornings, staying in her good favor by sharing any gossip. If Devil’s missing, she knows something we don’t, something bad. Or . . .

I ask the question I don’t want to ask. “Do you think she’s gone, like the others?”

Hat’s frown deepens. “She’s older than most of the ones who’ve gone missing.”

“Devil’s strong, though. Smart. A fighter. She once robbed a Legal’s house of all its doors and windows for cheating her out of a deal.” I try to keep the mood light. “She’s probably off sweet-­talking the new Royal Guard recruits.”

“I doubt that.” She struggles to keep the frown.

I rub my sore shoulder. “I can see that from the excellent unibrow you’re working on.”

She breaks into a grin. “Is this better?” She furrows her brow even more, and a few strands of hair come loose from behind her ear.

“Almost perfect.” I place a finger on each eyebrow and scrunch inward, completing the bridge.

She laughs, her forehead smoothing back to normal. Her small shoulders descend from a pinch into their sloping, natural curves.

“Okay,” Hat says. “We’ll grab breakfast and look for Devil.”

*

As we near West Market, the bustle of morning vendors grows louder. The crowds are starting to gather on the streets. The air is layered with cardamom and cinnamon, vanilla and rose perfumes, and the subtler scents of ash, dirt, and salt. As Legals arrange their wares and unpack shipping crates, Hat and I linger between a stall selling early spring harvests from local farms and a shop selling imported and strenuously taxed goods from inland cities.

Hat says, “It’s pretty scary, right? These Nameless going missing, I mean.”

She doesn’t sound scared. She sounds as if she wants something. I groan, already knowing what it is.

“It’s not safe for you or me to be walking out here alone all the time,” she says. “You should let me live with you.” I trudge a bit faster as if to escape the conversation, but she keeps pace nimbly.

“We’ve talked about this,” I say. “I can’t look after you all the time. It’s better that you stay with Marcher. I move around a lot. I get into a lot of trouble. I create a lot of trouble.”

“Do you really believe that?” Hat says. “You think I’m better off in Marcher’s crew? You should know that’s not true. You used to be one of us. You left when you were my age. The way Marcher tells it, you were the best grifter he ever trained. And yeah, I’ll miss the kids and having my own spot to sleep—­not to mention I have all my keepsakes—­but I want to be on my own with you. I’m sick of going back there. Giving him everything I steal. I’m sick of him. Isn’t that why you left?”

I roll my shoulders uncomfortably. I hate this conversation every time we have it.

“Marcher may be a spetzing bastard,” I say, “but he knows how to keep you safe. Most of you, anyway.”

Hat frowns at me, confused.

“You’re getting good,” I say, redirecting the conversation. “Really good. Won’t be long before you can strike out on your own. Just like I did.” I try for a reassuring smile, and she offers a half-­hearted shrug in response, but I know better than she does how hard it can be to leave Marcher’s crew and how difficult it can be to go it alone. I can’t spend every night and morning with the weight of her life in my hands.

I spy a heavily guarded shipment of jewelry from the mountainous city of Tuvo, but most Legals can’t afford pricey gems like that, not as they’re losing their jobs every time the paper mill cuts its workforce. There’s been a rising tension in the air, and I’ve been getting more dirty looks than usual—­it’s not my fault that being a thief and grifter is steady work. They’re jealous, I’m sure.

Most of the foot traffic is Legals, who linger between stalls, with a few Royals mixed in, identifiable by their bright, colorful coats of blue, gold, and violet. Legals wear softer, pale colors, mostly grays and pastels. The Legals are the loudest, shouting discounts and goods for sale, while the Royals strut calmly among the stalls with the silence of those who don’t need to haggle over prices. The Nameless are on the outskirts, dressed in castaway clothing scavenged from the trash.

That’s the easiest way to find the Nameless. We live on the streets, and we look it.

“Got your eye on a mark yet?” Hat asks, casting her light brown eyes around the stalls.

On a typical day, it’s my job to pick the mark and decide whether we’ll con them or pickpocket them. It’s all about finding people with enough coins and rings to make the grab worthwhile, but not someone so rich that they’ll have us executed immediately if we’re caught.

I send her after a Legal who is browsing a jewelry stall. The man is debating between a brooch with a quartz frame and one with gold, so I know he—­unlike most Legals—­has decent money in his pockets. As Hat moves through the crowd, a dark cap hiding her bright hair, my instincts prickle. I scan farther down the street, and that’s when I see him. Marcher. Black hair hangs past his chin, gray stubble shadows his face, and pale skin crinkles around his emotionless green eyes.

He’s the worst of the street runners, with a crew of Nameless orphans trained to pickpocket Legals and pull small-­time cons. He knows how to keep them safe, but when a big enough score comes along, he doesn’t care if they get caught or killed. I should know; I used to be one of them. And, technically, Hat still works for him. I tell her to only volunteer for small jobs. Nothing dangerous. But if he sees her pulling a grab, he’ll come after her for the rings and coins she gets. If he knows she’s doing it with me, he might go so far as to get her caught.

In a fluid motion, I rip off my dark maroon coat and start a quick pace out into the crowd. I snatch a beige coat from a Legal stall. As I move, I bump into a distracted Nameless man, causing him to topple a large bag of red beans.

“Nameless cur!” the vendor shouts at him, bending to recover the beans. “Look what you’ve done, alley trash! Gather them up before I call a Royal guard.”

No one notices as I pull on the Legal coat.

I move swiftly as I fasten the top few buttons—­enough to cover my dirty green shirt. I roll my shoulders and straighten my posture, pulling my long dark brown hair behind my shoulders to hide the uneven, frayed edges.

Snatching a few segments of cinnamon bark from a spice stall, I take a few running steps to catch up. I cut in front of Hat, just in time to bump into a well-­dressed Royal.

I plaster an apology on my face and speak in a fake sweet voice. “Oh, pardon me!”

The Royal stumbles and meets my eye as I hold his elbow to keep him from falling. He’s mostly bald, and the wispy hair clinging to the sides of his head is pulled back with an elastic band.

I force an even exhale. Wearing Legal clothes is enough to get me thrown in prison, or if the patrolling Royal guards are in a bad mood, I’ll get a quick trip to the gallows. Times like this, I’m glad for the hungry hollow of my cheeks and the strong tilt of my jaw. No food or parents to speak of, but they give me the appearance he would expect of a Legal girl.

“Quite all right,” the Royal says.

I brush invisible dirt off his bright violet waistcoat. With deft fingers, I probe the lining but don’t find his purse. I give him a second glance. This Royal smiled. Blushed, even. His gaze lingered. Time for a different tactic.

I steer him to a spices stall, where the vendor is off arguing with a neighboring seller.

“Please,” I say, gesturing at the array of fragrant flower petals, sliced herb roots, and pouches filled with ground spices. “Take anything you want. A token of my apology.” I angle myself around the corner so he can’t see the patched holes in my pants.

The Royal skims over the spices as I sort the cinnamon. When his gaze lands on me, a bit too far south from my face, I grab a spice pouch and offer it to him.

“Here.” I fix a guilty expression on my face. “A collection of our most expensive spices.”

He gives a coy smile, his head burning red. “I couldn’t possibly.” He reaches into his coat and fetches a soft blue velvet purse from a deep pocket. No wonder I couldn’t reach it. He pours out a few gold rings and silver coins, and before he can count them, I lean forward.

“I heard there’s bad news floating around today,” I say. His blush and curiosity feel like a real heat coming off him, and I take a moment to focus.

His fingers hover above the coins. His coy smile turns mischievous, as if he’s letting me in on a secret. “I suppose Legal whispers don’t travel as quickly as those of the Royals. My dear, our beloved King Fallow passed away last night. Dreadfully sad, I know.”

He is absolutely not sad. His face is alight with the drama of it all. He grins and adds, “The next heir could be anyone, whoever has the crown tattoo!” He winks at me, as if I could be that lucky Legal, and he leans close to savor my surprise.

Don’t scowl. Don’t scowl. I place the spice pouch over the gold coins, slipping all three from his hand. Despite the sweat glistening at his temples, his hand is cold like a shock, and suddenly, instead of staring out at the market and the bustling Legals, I’m staring down a long corridor with a narrow band of red carpet stretching out beneath my feet. I’m standing on my toes, peering into a room as a Royal guard shoos me away. I almost catch a glimpse of the dying king inside, but I bustle off down the corridor in disappointment. I run a dry hand through the white hair on the side of my head as my sharp black shoes pad quietly on the carpet.

I let go of the Royal’s hand, and my vision snaps to the market. The sounds of arguing vendors and customers return to my ears, and the Royal before me looks dazed.

“I saw him, you know,” the Royal says. “Caught a glimpse of him on his deathbed just last night. Quite tragic, in its own way.” The man shakes his head to clear his thoughts.

I regain my composure and realize I’m still holding the gold coins. I palm them and cross my arms in concern, dropping them into my pocket.

I struggle for words, trying—­for the sake of the con—­to ignore what just happened. “When do you think the heir will step forward?”

He shrugs and idly slides his coin purse into his jacket. He runs a sweaty thumb over the spice pouch. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

I give a gracious curtsy and thank him again. He rejoins the crowd as I duck out of the stall. Hat still stands where I cut her off, arms raised in a sustained shrug. As I approach her, she pulls the black hat off her head and replaces it with a blue one from her pocket.

“Why did you cut me off? I thought my approach was solid.” Hat grumbles as we move to the edge of the crowd.

I show her the three coins, scratched and worn but still shining. Then I point over her shoulder at Marcher. When she sees him, her face pales and she moves closer to me.

“You know he’ll still try to take it,” Hat says. Marcher stands on the corner, glaring at us.

“Run along, Hat,” I say. “I’ve got an argument to get to.”

She scampers behind me, moving closer to the alley, but she doesn’t quite leave. Marcher storms up to me.

“That’s my grab,” Marcher says.

I pinch the gold coins between my fingers, fuming. “No. She was going to pick the pocket of a sprightly Legal, and I decided to pickpocket a Royal. This is mine. You know it is. She couldn’t have grabbed anything from a Royal.”

“You did when you were her age,” Marcher says slyly. “You always had a gift for improvisation.”

“That makes you stupid and a bastard,” I say. Even though I’m taller than him now, he’s still looking down on me.

“Even so,” he says, and he leans forward and snatches the coins from me. As he strolls away, a brazen tilt in his steps, heat rises in my chest. The heavy presence of the market crowd flattens into the background.

I stomp after him, and I know I shouldn’t make a scene.

I kick the back of his knee, sending him down. I definitely shouldn’t make a scene.

I pretend to reach down to help him up, but I push him hard onto the ground instead. A flare of dark satisfaction burns through my chest, but it freezes when I see the coiling smirk still on his lips. I slam my knuckles against his left eye. So much for subtle.

The market has created a bubble of space around us, with most people passing by and ignoring what they think is a Legal beating on a Nameless, and a few of them idling with mild interest. If it gets too far, they’ll start placing bets. If it goes even further, they’ll call the Royal guards.

Hat catches up to us, and she pulls me by the hand as if she’s leading a child, guiding me down the nearest alley. Marcher knows better than to bring any more attention to us, but he throws a withering glare from his good eye. At least he’s not smiling anymore.

“I know, I know,” I mutter. “Not good.” Hat hands me my dark, ratty coat, which she rescued from the barrel I left it on, and I pull it on over the beige coat. I don’t want to ditch something nice just because wearing it could get me killed.

Hat tries and fails to hide an approving grin. “You guys were getting along so well, too.”

Marcher and I have a solid history of mutual hatred. I throw his dock stash in the harbor; he raids my winter stocks. He foils my long con with a wealthy Legal; I send a couple of Royal guards to his latest hideout. He sees me as a competitor. He always has, even when I was a child. I see him—­as I always have—­as a spetzing bastard.

I can handle the Legals and Royals, their condescending snarls and the pitiless angle of their chins. I can suffer their ignorance, their disrespect, and their blatant disgust. It’s normal from them. But I won’t take it from the Nameless. I can’t. Especially not from Marcher.

“So, the Royal shared an interesting rumor,” I say, and Hat’s frown makes a spectacular recovery. “King Fallow died, and none of the Royals have the tattoo.”

“No one’s stepped forward? What Legal wouldn’t want to be king?” She leans close enough for me to see the uneven, patchy weave of the hat on her head. “Seriden hasn’t had an empty throne before. Not in our lifetime, anyway. You know how people get when there’s no one to tell them no. They always want something or someone to be angry at.” She gestures between the two of us.

She’s right. Most Royals and Legals hate us. Not only are we thieves and grifters, but we hate them right back. With gusto. It isn’t illegal to kill us, but it also isn’t illegal for us to commit crimes. Except that if we’re caught, it’s a toss-­up whether we’re imprisoned or executed. There is no petitioning of the judiciary for us.

“That’s just what we need.” A pang of something like fear tightens in my stomach. “But here’s the thing. That Royal I talked to. I think he did something to me—I think he has the crown tattoo, maybe? Because when he touched my hand, he showed me his memory. I think.”

“Do you want to track him down and find out?”

I shake my head. I want to be as far away from Royalty as possible right now.

“We still have time before the morning rush ends,” Hat says. “Let’s go to East Market.”

“East Market,” I mumble unhappily. “It always smells like fish.” I take a deep sniff of the cinnamon and pepper clinging to the Legal coat.

“Well, fish happens when you make a scene.” She laughs and playfully nudges my left shoulder.

Pain shoots from my shoulder to my arm, down to the pads of my fingers, and I cry out, grimacing and curling over.

“Are you all right?” Hat immediately retreats, as if she’s accidentally kicked a puppy.

“Yeah.” I pull down the two layers of coats and my long-­sleeved green shirt. It feels like a wasp sting, but it’s too early in the season for that. “Slept wrong last night. Must’ve bruised my shoulder. I did just sort of get in a fight, too.”

Hat laughs. “Better you than me. I’m not old enough to kick him down like that yet. But give it time.” She’s about to say something else, when her eyes widen. From her face, I think it must be a nasty bruise. I twist to get a good look, but there’s no bruise. Instead, a black ink tattoo surrounds my upper arm like jewelry.

We both know what it is, but neither of us can speak. The bustle of the market rises to fill the silence, and I’m suddenly very aware of the throngs of people not too far away.

But it’s unmistakable: the sloping angles of the design, the crisp edges, the sharp points.

It’s a crown.

Impossible. The king couldn’t speak my name, because it doesn’t exist. I am not a Legal. I am not a Royal. I am Nameless. Yet the crown on my arm means that King Fallow named me his heir. It is impossible, yet somehow true.

I am Nameless.

I am queen.

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Nameless Queen 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous 3 days ago
I did enjoy this book though it did lag in some areas for me. The characters were interesting and was what honestly kept my interest. I did like the overall plot though!!
Sailon 7 days ago
NAMELESS QUEEN was a slow building tale but by then end I found myself utter hooked! Highly original, wonderfully executed and it kept me guessing until the end. I received this ARC copy of Nameless Queen from Random House Children's - Crown Books for Young Readers.
Streetbook 20 days ago
I loved every thing about this book and I wish I could give it a 5 plus. The characters are interesting and have depth, the plot is riveting and it is a fresh new story-line. I wish I had been able to immediately read the next in this series. I will be following this author closely and can't wait to see what happens next. I highly recommend this book.
SevenAcreBooks 24 days ago
The Nameless Queen is one of those books that has such an interesting premise but unfortunately falls flat on execution. Coin, one of the many unfortunate Nameless, becomes the new Queen after a magical tattoo appears on her skin. Battling generations of classism and societal expectations, Coin uses her new magical powers to try and help the Nameless break free of their lower class bonds. I ended the book with more questions about the worldbuilding than were answered but perhaps future books in the series could provide more information. The relationship between Coin and Hat was the most interesting and complex part of the story and their loyalty to each other was touching. While there was plenty of action in the story, many of Coin's powers solved all her problems without a whole lot of thought or study on her part which detracted from the story. Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this title. All opinions and mistakes are my own.
Mediadrome 26 days ago
This book was a pretty quick read. At about 350 pages, not abnormally short by any means, but the storytelling progressed at a fairly brisk pace, which I appreciated. At no point did I feel super invested in any of the characters, but I didn’t hate them either. In fact, I can even name several despite having finished the book a few days ago. So, I think I can safely say that I felt McLaughlin did a good job creating some memorable characters. As for the story itself, I do appreciate the general storyline, but there are some specifics I wasn’t wild about. For example, there is a rather large plot-point that I wish had been a tad less predictable – how the Nameless Queen came to possess the crown tattoo. I wish it had been something different. A breaking down or perhaps evolution of old magics or some-such would have felt a little less disappointing for me personally. That being said, this is Rebecca McLaughlin’s debut novel, and with that in mind, I think she did a good job of it! I hope that her second (which she is already working on, according to her website) holds more surprises than this one did, but again, all in all, this one was pretty good. I also keep trying to remind myself that I’m not technically her intended audience here. I have to imagine that young readers are more into those tried and true story tropes, and that perhaps readers of YA lit also find some comfort in them, so maybe the ground I wanted to be broken isn’t really part of the YA landscape anyway. I don’t know. I now officially feel like I’m looking too far into this. All I’m saying is that I wish this story had been a little more ambitious in its specifics.
ErraticElle 3 months ago
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 3.5 stars. I liked this one, but it lacked a little luster. The premise was good and interesting, but the plot and the narrative just didn't pack the punch I was looking for. Similarly, Coin was a decent character who certainly wasn't a flat construction, but she could have used a little more depth and complexity. The overall story was good and I enjoyed the moments of conflict created throughout the narrative--there was obvious creativity to the plot and some good entertainment factor. It would have likely been a more compelling story with more fleshing out of the characters and more detailed world-building. I certainly could have used a bit more backstory to the world, including a better explanation and understanding of the caste system. This would have enhanced the experience and made me a bit more invested in the plot. Regardless, this was a good read and a respectable freshman novel.
Amy Smith Carman 3 months ago
Title: Nameless Queen Author: Rebecca McLaughlin Pages: 352 Release: January 7, 2020 Genre: Fantasy, YA Fantasy Series or Stand-Alone: N/A Character Rating: 5/5 Story Rating: 4/5 Writing: 4/5 Total Stars: 4/5 Persons of Color?: N/A LGBTQ?: No Pass the Bechdel Test? (Depiction of Women): Yes Triggers: Economic exploitation that hurts a lot of people, especially children I received a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Story: This fantasy follows the story of a young Nameless who calls herself Coin. She belongs to the lowest class of the city, where she has no rights or privileges because of her class. She survives on the street doing anything necessary to survive. The one person she cares about is a younger Nameless called Hat. She wakes one day to find the impossible has happened – her shoulder is tattooed with a crown signifying her as the next ruler. She begins the fight of her life to stay alive and care for Hat. Likes: This story did a great job highlighting the different economic privileges many have and the difficulty in changing the system. I really loved what ends up being the four main characters and how they look out for each other. Recommendations: I would recommend this book for teens and up. Nothing that would make it too problematic for younger audiences. Great for readers who like YA fantasy especially!
jdowell 3 months ago
Congratulations on a great debut novel Rebecca McLaughlin! A fun, fantasy read. In the land of Seriden there is a caste system with three levels: The Royals (rule the land - the wealthy); The Legals (the workers - middle class); and The Nameless (scrounge, beg and steal for a living). Coin (what the Nameless main character is called) is a strong and practiced thief who is minding her own business when out of nowhere a crown tattoo appears on her arm. It is the custom in Seriden that power is passed by a dying King by the King speaking the name of his successor and the crown tattoo appearing on that person's arm. But Coin doesn't have a name, so how did the King speak her name? This tattoo is only going to get her killed - the Royals would never have a Nameless for their ruler. Enjoyed the adventure and I liked Coin's spunk, sarcasm and compassion as a main character. I felt the ending was a little too nice and easy though. Congratulations on a great debut novel Rebecca McLaughlin! Thanks to Random House Children's through Netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
dlvandruff 3 months ago
Coin is a Nameless. That means she was born as poor as poor can be and doesn't have a name. She lives in a time of magic and fantasy. A time where who you are is the equivalent of life or death. When the reigning king is dying he names a name and that person becomes the next ruler of that region. The sign you have been named is the appearance of a black tattoo of a crown on your arm. The tattoo has appeared on Coin's arm. That is hard to understand how that happened. It has to either be stolen or fake. The gifts she inherits with the tattoo proves it is real. The journey she must take is a decision of whether she keeps the tattoo or gives it away. Her main objective has always been to help the other Nameless to get food and shelter. Now as the reigning sovereign she has that power. As always with power comes many tests and challenges. Will she be brave and strong enough to hold on to her heritage.
LU 3 months ago
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. In Seriden people are divided into castes: The Royals, the Legals and the Nameless. Coin is a Nameless, people that don't have any rights, legal or whatoever, no jobs or homes and no names, except what they give to themselves. According to the law, they don't exist, they are not citizens. All her life she struggled to survive, becoming a thief, a grifter, deciding to leave Marcher,( the man took care of her in the past and who run a crew of Nameless orphans, training them to pickpocket, to do cons), behind and to survive on her own. The only person she cares about (even though she's not able to show it) is another younger Nameless, Hat. When king Fallow died and named her the heir, Coin's life is turn upside down. Accepting to agree with the Council her cooperation in exchange of her friend's Hat's safety, Coin has to learn how to survive in the palace, how to discover her real identity, how to stop a complex plot involving missing Nameless and if accepting her role as queen is her destiny or not. She will learn who to trust and how she will become. Nameless Queen is a quick and interesting read, that addresses important issues like the social and economical divide, prejudices and the importance of names and family. I liked reading about Coin, because she's a strong character, able to adapt to different situations and to prosper. Her relationship with Hat, Glenquartz and Esther is really beautiful and moving. I liked how social issues like the discrimination against the Nameless are written and how the magic played an important role in the book and in the characters' life.
LU 3 months ago
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. In Seriden people are divided into castes: The Royals, the Legals and the Nameless. Coin is a Nameless, people that don't have any rights, legal or whatoever, no jobs or homes and no names, except what they give to themselves. According to the law, they don't exist, they are not citizens. All her life she struggled to survive, becoming a thief, a grifter, deciding to leave Marcher,( the man took care of her in the past and who run a crew of Nameless orphans, training them to pickpocket, to do cons), behind and to survive on her own. The only person she cares about (even though she's not able to show it) is another younger Nameless, Hat. When king Fallow died and named her the heir, Coin's life is turn upside down. Accepting to agree with the Council her cooperation in exchange of her friend's Hat's safety, Coin has to learn how to survive in the palace, how to discover her real identity, how to stop a complex plot involving missing Nameless and if accepting her role as queen is her destiny or not. She will learn who to trust and how she will become. Nameless Queen is a quick and interesting read, that addresses important issues like the social and economical divide, prejudices and the importance of names and family. I liked reading about Coin, because she's a strong character, able to adapt to different situations and to prosper. Her relationship with Hat, Glenquartz and Esther is really beautiful and moving. I liked how social issues like the discrimination against the Nameless are written and how the magic played an important role in the book and in the characters' life.
Yolanda Margolin 3 months ago
**3.5 STARS** Thank you to Crown Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC. What I Liked: *I liked Coin a lot. She is a thief and a grifter, using her stealth to steal and survive but that’s not only why I like her. She’s snarky and never lets things really get to her. Even being thrown in a dungeon or finding out the truth about her name never truly dampened her spirits. She knows how to hide her fears, treating this “gift” of the tattoo as a con and noting all the players in the game. I always had this feeling while reading the story that Coin would be able to get out of any jam or situation that she encounters. She tackles the problem head on. *Coin and her relationship with Esther, the heir apparent, was something I liked because Coin doesn’t have friends except Hat. So seeing Coin have another young woman helping her and eventually in her corner was nice to see. This story has a mostly female cast which was nice. * Interesting world building about the classes of people and how the Nameless are denied rights. I kept reading to try and figure out how Coin fit into the story and how she was going to be able to help the Nameless. It was interesting enough to hold my attention and want to learn more. Obviously the Royals and Legals make out better than the Nameless but I was left with some questions. * There wasn’t a romance in this story and it didn’t need one. Coin seemed engaged enough in making connections with other people that it was okay not to have a romance. Not going to lie, was I looking for one? Always. But this story was good without one. *The story explores themes in this book about family, who you are if you don’t have a family or a name given to you-the importance of a name and belonging. Things That Made Me Go Hmm: *Needs more world building because there is mention of neighboring kingdoms and treaties. I kept kind of waiting for some ambassador form the neighboring kingdom to show up or something, isn’t there always some ambassador at court? But relations between Seriden and the other kingdoms aren’t strong…but why? *Esther explains the history of magic in one chapter and I get magic was bound to the one who will rule Seriden but I think I wanted to know what kind of magic did people have. It sounded like a magical world until the kingdoms bound the magic into ink. Do the other kingdoms find their heirs the same way? With magic tattoos? So in Seriden only the crown tattoo bearer can use magic. Also, the Nameless aren’t affected by magic…so Coin is raised Nameless but clearly is not, since she’s Queen now, so she did have a name – it’s a little bit confusing because apparently she’s not affected by magic. ‍♀️ And speaking of magic, I want to see this Seriden with magic unleashed! *The ending leaves it open to a sequel so we shall see what happens there. Final Thoughts: If there is a sequel I hope it explains and expand on some things in the book that left me with questions. I really enjoyed Coin and her perseverance. She took what life handed her and rolled with it. Also it’s rare to find a young adult fantasy without a romance, and here we have one that is a pretty good story without one. Overall this is a promising debut!
McKenzie-Allyshia 3 months ago
Nameless Queen kept me rather intrigued throughout the entire book. While the idea of a caste system is not new, nor is a low caste character suddenly coming into power, I felt it was decently done. The story line moved at a really good pace and kept my attention the entire time. There was quite a bit of action and some great twists and turns. Plus, as a main character Coin brought something slightly new to the table. Not having a name and having to be a thief to survive was different. However, what really set this book apart was how magic did not affect those who were Nameless. Coin's ability to read people due to being such a great thief was my favorite part about her character. The supporting characters also were great and really helped move the story along. I think the only thing about some of the characters that I was not the biggest fan of, were some seemed to be a little too "soft". All in all, this was a pretty good book that I would definitely love to know what happens next.
geni91782 3 months ago
Before I get into this review, I want to thank Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for access to a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. You. All. THIS. BOOK. It’s been a long time since a fantasy novel pulled me in to it’s world within the first few pages and had me rooting for the main character from page one! In Nameless Queen, we’re following the story of Coin, a thief and a grifter living in the city of Seriden among the lowest of the low… the Nameless. Nameless have, as the title would imply, no names and, thus, no rights within the law. They are, by and large, the criminal element of the city. Legals and Royals either ignore their existence or find any reason to throw them in prison or send them to the gallows. But then Coin wakes up with a crown tattoo and magic powers. The crown tattoo is passed down by name from whomever is the current sitting ruler and with it comes the right to rule. Except Coin doesn’t have a name. So how does she have the tattoo? From there, Coin’s life is thrown into chaos, which is saying something for a girl who has survived on the streets. No one is happy about her having this tattoo, least of all her, and now she needs to figure out what to do with this power that she didn’t ask for. The action of this story grips you from page one and does not let go til you get to the acknowledgements! Coin’s life wasn’t easy on the streets, but it becomes infinitely more deadly once she’s inside the palace. I love me a book with good political intrigue and this one delivers. I probably would have liked a little more of the intrigue, but what we got was *chef’s kiss* And just Coin’s day-to-day life is tense enough to keep you ripping through the pages to find out what happens to her. Of course, I was sold on Coin herself as soon as we meet her in a back alley of Seriden. She’s got so much fight in her and you can tell why she’s been able to survive as Nameless for so long. She has a backbone of absolute steel and a softer heart than she would ever admit. She’s smart, she’s accomplished, and she is a genuinely good person. Ya know… beyond the constant thievery. Watching her try to adapt to a lifestyle that her years as Nameless have most definitely not prepared her for is one of the more compelling aspects of this book. I loved watching her grow and watching her make people stop and take notice. I also loved the relationships between Coin and the people around her. Even the completely awful people. Her struggles not only overcoming people’s prejudices, but learning to actually care about people, was so interesting to read. And can we talk about how easily this author made me invested in all Coin’s struggles and emotions?! I thoroughly enjoyed the writing in this book. It was captivating, it didn’t drag, it made me feel A LOT of feelings… It was incredible. The humor in this book also just clicked with me. I found myself chuckling quite a few times, which is probably why my heart survived this ride. I think the one teeny *tiny* thing that threw me off was that the language the characters used sometimes felt a bit… off? Like one of them saying something was “cool”. It just felt weird to me, but that is probably just my dumb fantasy brain always assuming that fantasies with royalty are always set in ye olde times, where people didn’t call things “cool”… Final thoughts: If you enjoy a little politics in your fantasy and a look at social issues along with your action, I think you’ll like this one!
trollman 3 months ago
One morning, Coin - our heroine, wakes up with a strange tattoo and nothing in her life is ever the same. The tattoo is something that marks her as the next chosen royal to rule over Sheridan. She lives in a land that has three class which are the Royals, The Legals, and the Nameless. The Nameless is the class that Coin belongs to and they have no rights, no property, and no money. So to have someone from the lowest class rise up to rule from the highest class is quite the shock for everyone, including Coin. Why was Coin chosen? Will the other Royals eventually accept her? Is someone out to kill her and why? There are mysteries to be solved and this book seems to be open to a series (but can be read on its own). I would recommend this book for children and young adults. I enjoyed the book and thought it was fun~ perhaps the editing should be tightened up just a bit as far as the plot so that it is more organized. Thank you to NetGalley, author Rebecca McLaughlin, and Random House Children's Publisher for an advance digital reader copy for me to read and enjoy. As always, my opinions are my own!
rentinjen 3 months ago
I enjoyed reading this one. I'm so glad it wasn't a love story thrown in there where the main character is wanted by two enviable choices. Those are getting kind of overdone in the fantasy realm. Thank you #NetGalley for an early copy of #NamelessQueen to review!
jayfwms 3 months ago
This book creates a new universe with distinct classes of people: Royals, Legals, and Nameless. The city is ruled by magic in the hands of the monarch. The story covers the result of the power of the crown passing to one of the nameless. The descriptions provide great images of the city and its residents. The people are quite real and their interactions fall into human activity as we know it. All of human desires and nature reflect in the various characters, and the action builds to an astounding ending, which includes a number of surprises along the way. Growth in all the major characters is demonstrated as the tension builds to the end. The style of writing is clear and direct, providing just enough description to keep the images flowing. I wasn't sure I was going to like this book as I began reading, but as I kept reading it totally captured my attention and kept me up to finish it.
QuirkyCat 3 months ago
Nameless Queen is the debut novel of Rebecca McLaughlin, and it has been getting a lot of attention in the last few months. It’s been favorably compared to novels like Red Queen, Everless, and Furyborn. Having read the novel, I can certainly understand why those comparisons were made. Nameless Queen is set in a world where magic exists but only serves to strengthen the differences between classes. There are the Royals, the Legals, and the Nameless. That’s where Coin comes into play – that’s the name she chose for herself, since she was never given any other. The Nameless are the lowest class in the city, and are treated worse than dirt. The only good thing they have going for them is that magic doesn’t seem to affect them. A small grace, given the odds of being killed by lack of food, hygiene, or being in the good graces of a guard. But all of that is set to change on the morning of the King’s death. For Coin herself has inherited that magical and coveted crown tattoo. The one that marks her as the new queen of the city. “Wearing Legal clothes is enough to get me thrown into prison, or if the patrolling Royal guards are in a bad mood, I’ll get a quick trip to the gallows.” Nameless Queen was an interesting and emotionally compelling read. This was a tale that wove politics with magic, and it was such an interesting combination. I would gladly read more about this world, given half the chance. It’s impossible to read this book and not feel sympathy for Coin and her Nameless friends. McLaughlin did an excellent job of portraying all of the hardships that come along with living in squalor and being treated so poorly. Seeing the magical flair was a nice touch, of course. This was a fast-paced read, one that had us rushing alongside Coin as she struggled with politics, betrayals, and magical battles. To say that there was a lot going on here would be the understatement of the year. My one regret is that we didn’t get more time to know more of the characters on a personal level. We saw a lot of Coin and what made her tick, but I still felt like there was this barrier to getting to know her. I think that had to do with how frequently she was focused on other dilemmas, but I’m not certain. Likewise, I would have loved to see a stronger connection made with the secondary characters as well. I did really enjoy this world, and was enthralled by the magical system that McLaughlin created. I’m not sure if her next book will be a standalone, or if it will be a sequel. But if it is a sequel, I look forward to seeing more of this world – and the politics within it.
Persephonereads 3 months ago
3 out of 5 stars Thank you to Random Books and Netgalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. In the world Coin lives there are Royals, Legals and the Nameless.. The Royals are well, Royals so I think you know what they are then there are the Legals. Legals can live in the city and have a home. They however cannot get above a certain status and then last but not least there are the Nameless. The Nameless are exactly that, they have no names and since they do not have a name they cannot work or have a home. They wear clothes that have been discarded by the higher classes. Clothes that have black marks on them so everyone will know that they are "worthless". They give themselves names. When the King dies everyone waits to see who will be the next King or Queen though most assume that Esther, the Kings daughter will be the next Queen. When the King or Queen die they must pick their successor by saying their name. Only someone with an actual name can be picked. Once they say the name and pass away a magical tattoo moves from their arm to the chosen. When the tattoo appears on Coin's arm she tries to hide it until she must reveal herself to save her friend's life. This has to be one of the most interesting ideas for a fantasy novel that I have read in some time. I love the way the class warfare plays out in the novel and I was really moved by certain parts of this book. I truly did enjoy this book a lot and I would like to see this written as a series. I have to admit that I shed a few tears while reading this. I can tell that Rebecca McLaughlin has a real talent and I look forward to reading more by her.
Joycerl 3 months ago
Coin belongs to the Nameless tier in her society.It is the lowest and no one in it is thought to be worthy enough to even have a name so they make up their own names.She discovers a tattoo on her arm one day and her life changes from that point on. I absolutely loved this story. It had a big suprise at the end that I thoroughly enjoyed. Story was fast paced and witty with heart. Thankyou Netgalley for this ARC
Mermer 3 months ago
A YA Fantasy about Coin a girl with no name that was thrown into a different world to her. Lots of drama,twists,angst suspense and a mysterious tattoo. Good characters like Coin,Hat Esther. a slow moving plot but good. Voluntarily reviewed.
Danie32 3 months ago
I received this book in exchange for an honest review from netgalley.. In this Kingdom you have three classes of people: the royals, the legals, and the nameless.. The main character is a nameless girl who call herself Coin. She has grown up on the streets, stealing and grifting. When one morning she wakes up with a tattoo of a crown on her arm. This means that she is meant to be the next ruler of the Kingdom. Now she knows that not one of the Royals wants a nameless to be on the throne and if she comes forward their is a good chance she will be killed. When Coin is discovered she is taken to the palace and put in the dungeon until the other rulers decide what to do with her.. I struggled a little bit in the beginning to connect with Coin and the other characters, but by the middle that had changed.. We find out some royal secrets, and there is a mystery to be solved, and Coin has to figure out a way to keep her throne.. Then at the end this thing happens.. and i was like "oh no this can't happen"" then I held my breath........ Spoiler alert and it all ended well. what i was hoping to happen did.. I don't know if this is supposed to be a standalone or if we will be seeing more of Coin and her friends but I would read more by Rebecca McLaughlin especially if we can see this world again..
ruthsic 4 months ago
The Nameless Queen takes class divides that are routine in fantasy, and explores the situation with a modern lens. The story of someone from the disenfranchised class rising to power is given its due in Coin, a Nameless. When she is 'named' to be the next Queen by the deceased King, it throws their kingdom into chaos. She isn't supported by the nobility because of her status, and they only want her to stick around long enough to pass on the mantle to someone they deem worthy. Meanwhile, she isn't interested in the crown and views it as a threat to her life, but while she is the heir, she has some things to be done to ensure the safety of her own. Coin, like many of her class, survive by thieving and conning the other folk, which is why they are reviled, but they are also actively prevented from being a part of society. The Nameless is a stand-in for homelessness and the author takes us through Coin's journey as she figures out what family would mean for a person who is only used to thinking about her survival. Along with Hat, who is a friend that she doesn't realize is family yet, and the Lieutenant who helps her out, she has the support of the King's daughter, Esther, who was thought to be the crown heir. The relationships between them are explored so well, giving us a nice found family trope. Coin herself was a delight to read through, with her snark and wits, both of which help her navigate the shifty Royals, as well as the newfound powers that mark her as heir. The plot is good, but not too complicated (there should have been more scheming!) - who was behind the attacks was obvious enough, though there are a couple of good twists thrown in towards the end that did impress. The lack of a romance subplot is a definite plus for this book. The one problem I had while reading the book is that it didn't help me picture it. The world-building often feels shaky, and a lot of information is the reader filling in the blanks while being in the dark about what it actually means to be Nameless. The magic isn't explained until much later, and even then there were a lot of non-relevant (to this book's plot) stuff, like the other kingdoms. Another thing is that physical descriptions were lacking - I can't even tell you what Coin looks like, and as for other characters, it is quite a fuzzy image - and the culture, the clothes, everything that fills up your image of the world of a fantasy book, were just not there. Some things like how Coin knew certain stuff just weren't explained - like being a con artist wouldn't have her know about obscure poisons unless she was an assassin or a herbalist too. Basically, it has a good plot and some fantastic characters, but it doesn't entirely immerse you in the book.
moonfox1234 4 months ago
This book was basically a 50/50 split for me. To start I will say that I did that that the basis of this book had a lot of intriguing potential. Sadly, I felt this potential was never realized. Would have loved to see more depth, drama and strife added to the story. I found it extremely implausible that Coin slid so easily into her role and that everything that was new to her she excelled at. In my opinion, this took a character you should have been able to root for and easily connect with and made her too one dimensional and in my opinion, boring. Still, I didn't think this was an awful book, just an OK one.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Not exactly your typical YA Fantasy, and I have to say I appreciated that about it. Nameless Queen is the story of a Nameless girl, Coin, in the city of Seriden who becomes its heir overnight. With magic, mischief, cons, and true friendship, this story is truly a sight to behold. Although there were spots where I believe things happened rather quickly or didn't completely make sense, as far as a debut fantasy goes, this one definitely hits the mark. I enjoyed the characters and how they were each uniquely them. I loved the wittiness of Coin, the stubbornness of Esther, the friendship of Coin, and the solidness of Glenbeard. The cast of characters is what made this book stand out to me, and slightly reminded me of the ensemble cast of Throne of Glass. I truly can't wait for what McLaughlin creates next, especially if it's a continuation of this world!