Review: Queen & Commander by Janine A. Southard + Excerpt

queen & banner

Queen & Commander by Janine A. Southard

Publish Date: March 10th 2013


Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 3.0/5.0

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | KoBo | iTunes

queen & coverBook Description:

On a world where high school test scores determine your future, six students rebel. They’ll outrun society as fast as their questionably obtained spaceship will take them.

Rhiannon doesn’t technically cheat the Test. She’s smarter than the computers that administer it, and she uses that to her advantage. She emerges from Test Day with the most prestigious future career possible: Hive Queen.

Gwyn & Victor are madly in love, but their Test results will tear them apart. Good thing Rhiannon is Gwyn’s best friend. Rhiannon can fix this. Queens can do anything.

Gavin is the wild card. Raised off-planet, he can’t wait to leave again… and he’s heard of an empty ship in orbit. The Ceridwen’s Cauldron.

Both Luciano and Alan fit in the system. They don’t need to leave. Only their devotion to Rhiannon spurs them to join the Cauldron’s crew.

Spaceships. Blackmail. Anywhere but here.

My Review:

To be honest, I thought that Queen and Commander was extremely random and quirky. But it worked! This is a dystopian read that includes romance and space travel! Let’s get on with the review!

So, Rhiannon has just been tested and her results are Queen and Commander. [Kinda like in Divergent.] Queens are very precious. There are many queens at one point, not just one. Queens need a crew. They need support from people to build a Hive. This is where Rhiannon’s story starts. [It’s a little confusing so I’ll make it choppy and quick.]

She has a best friend called Gwyn. She is in love with his boy called Victor. Victor has been tested and he is a Devoted. A Devoted means he has to choose a queen and Devote to her. He protects her in battle, even breeds with her. (I think? That’s the impression I got, even though it never really went into detail.)

But obviously, that’s the problem because Victor doesn’t want to devote to a Queen when he has a girlfriend. So Rhiannon cares for her best friend and doesn’t want her to betray her, so she goes along with Victor’s plan to run away in a space – ship and create their own Hive along with some more people who make up the crew.

Plus, it’s Welsh space, which was an added twist. I haven’t read that many books that contain Welsh Space, (errr…none.) so that was original.

There wasn’t really that much romance to speak of in Queen and Commander. Obviously, there was Gwyn and Victor but the novel didn’t really centre around them. One of the crew members, Luciano had a bit of a crush on Rhiannon, and was really protective of her to the point of driving me up the wall.

There might have been a thing between Rhiannon and Alan. Maybe that’ll be explored in the second book.

But I might just be imagining it!

Overall, a quirky read with a Star Trek feel to it, a great dystopian! I might read the second book, it’s defiantly a possibility 😛


Winning a ship means surpassing the competition.

The three competing Queens swiveled their heads, hare-quick, to home in on new prey. They’d ignored her until she’d made that noise. Now they had the scent of fresh insecurity and would peck away until they laid her meager confidence bare for the massacre.

“What a sweet little girl,” gushed the one in red. “Where’s your mother?”

Dead, actually. Well, if this Queen planned to come after her for her age, she’d show her appreciation in the way only a younger person could. She raised her eye­brows and furrowed them down the middle, then pulled her head back onto her neck as though repulsed or doing a proper sit-up.

From the way the older woman cringed back, Rhiannon knew she’d succeeded in making the derisive Did you seriously just say that to me? face that she’d seen on her more critical peers.

A teenager can out bitch-face you any time, Queenie. Don’t try that tactic with me.

The eldest cocked her head, more curious than cruel. Perhaps she found it as difficult to gauge Rhian­non’s age as the other way around. As far as Rhiannon knew, this woman had been one of Dyfed’s first Queens, self-made and just as untrained as herself. “Why do you think you deserve Ceridwen’s Cauldro?”

About Author:


Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Janine A. Southard writes and edits speculative fiction in between working on videogame projects. She’s attended more than the average number of universities, which she claims is a FEATURE not a bug. (“Oxford educated, but Californian at heart;” she’s also lived and traveled in Europe, the United States, and Japan.)

Currently, she lives in Seattle with a husband and a cat. The cat pretends to care about this.


One thought on “Review: Queen & Commander by Janine A. Southard + Excerpt

  1. Pingback: Stacking the Shelves [15] and The Sunday Post [13] | ReadingToTheStarsAndBack

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