Blog Tour: Queen and Commander by Janine Southard (Book Thoughts)

On a world where high school test scores determine your future career, six students rebel.

A pair of star-crossed lovers plot to stay together, rather than be separated by the system’s college plans. A former off-worlder instigates: there’s a ship in orbit, he says. We could take it and run away.

But to take the ship, the three conspirators need more friends. Enter Rhiannon, the girl who set herself up for the ultimate success on this planet. She made sure her test would give the desired result: Queen. But her best friend begs her to take control of this plan to run away. So she drafts a would-be doctor who believes in following his Queen with all his heart. She finds a genius who can’t seem to make the system work for him.

And then she gets them qualified for the ship in orbit. The ship to freedom. Now what will they do with it? And was freedom what they really wanted?


My Thoughts:

All my life, I have been a die-hard sci-fi fan. It started with Star Wars and continues with Doctor Who. Funny enough though, I haven’t read that many YA books that fit under the sci-fi category. When I came across Queen & Commander, I had to try it – and I think you should too.

Like almost all of the books I read, I’m not 100% sure what I’m getting myself into when I start a new story. The summary of Queen & Commander fills you in a little bit, but I really had no idea where it was gonna go. I’m glad to say that it starts off strong. A little cliché with Rhiannon freaking out about going into the Test, but the triteness was forgiven when I was introduced to her result of Queen. A Hive Queen is an intelligent, enigmatic female that compiles together a group of males to work with her.  Now that, that is very intriguing. At first I thought it was something like bigamy, but it’s not. A Queen and her Hive work as a family and depend on each other. Although I wasn’t really sure how that would work out with one female and how-many-males, it was cool to see Rhiannon’s Hive come together as the story progressed.

This might sound weird, but I’m glad to say that I didn’t like all of the characters in the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to tolerate and enjoy the characters, but not liking a few of them makes it more realistic because I don’t like everyone in real life. Rhiannon is pretty awesome: she’s confident and outgoing and I think I would really enjoy her if she was a real person. I really, really disliked Victor in the beginning; yes, he is a sweet boyfriend, but he only pays attention to his girlfriend. He jumps into the idea of an empty ship without thinking anything through, just to be with his girlfriend…

As the story progresses, I found myself appreciating each teen, no matter how each of them acted. They mature, putting aside their differences and disputes to help each other out and become acquaintances/friends. In each of their own ways, they grow out of the I-have-no-idea-what-we’re-doing-let’s-wing-it attitude and come together. Gwyn and Victor also grow out of their little bubble of romance and are able to look at their lives from a different angle. This couple goes against the grain of most YA books by doing so, and it’s nice to see that not all characters fall into the idea of perfect romance.

On the other hand, I found this book to be confusing at parts. This story is told through third person omniscient, but switches point of views around throughout each chapter. At times it flowed smoothly, and other times it did not. There were also a few descriptions that confused me, such as the time the crew departs from the planet of Dyfed. Luciano is the one in charge of flying the plane, and yet at times he wasn’t in the pilot’s seat…Were they flying? Not flying? I honestly could not tell you.

Another thing that I’m not sure how I feel about is the length of the novel. Queen & Commander is the first in a series, and that is very obvious when you finish this book. It stops at a point where you have to read the next book if you want to know how things are going to end. This is good because it keeps a reader’s interest, but bad because this book itself could not stand on its own if someone just wanted to read the first one…

In the end though, I think Queen & Commander is a solid read. It fits the sci-fi category perfectly with its own world and sense of adventure. The characters are fun and the plot is interesting. Personally, I think you should go for it if this summary caught your eye at all.

About the Author


Janine A. Southard writes speculative fiction and videogame dialogue from her home in Seattle, WA. She sings with a Celtic band and is working on the next book in the Hive Queen universe. She’s also been known to read aloud to her cat.

The cat appreciates all of these things. Maybe.


Amazon –

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2 thoughts on “Blog Tour: Queen and Commander by Janine Southard (Book Thoughts)

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