Review: Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran

rebel queenTitle: Rebel Queen

Author: Michelle Moran

Source: Netgalley (eBook)

Publisher: Touchstone

Pages: 274

Published: March 3, 2015

Rating: 5/5

When the British Empire sets its sights on India in the mid-nineteenth century, it expects a quick and easy conquest. India is fractured and divided into kingdoms, each independent and wary of one another, seemingly no match for the might of the English. But when they arrive in the Kingdom of Jhansi, the British army is met with a surprising challenge.

Instead of surrendering, Queen Lakshmi raises two armies—one male and one female—and rides into battle, determined to protect her country and her people. Although her soldiers may not appear at first to be formidable against superior British weaponry and training, Lakshmi refuses to back down from the empire determined to take away the land she loves.

Told from the unexpected perspective of Sita—Queen Lakshmi’s most favored companion and most trusted soldier in the all-female army—Rebel Queen shines a light on a time and place rarely explored in historical fiction. In the tradition of her bestselling novel, Nefertiti, and through her strong, independent heroines fighting to make their way in a male dominated world, Michelle Moran brings nineteenth-century India to rich, vibrant life.


When I saw that this was available on Netgalley I was so excited. I had just finished reading The Heretic Queen and I fell in love with Morans storytelling.I couldn’t wait to read more about India and how she will transform that country into beautiful flowing words.

This story follows the life of Sita, a young girl who’s only job is to not be seen by any man outside her family and to marry at an early age (something called purdah). She lives with her loveing father, cruel grandmother, and young sister when her father decides that she will train to become a Durgavasi. A Durgavasi is a member of the Durga Dal which is an elite group of female guards trained to protect the Rani (queen). There is a competition to get into the Durga Dal and only happens when one of the Durgavasi retires. It is years before there is an opening but Sita excels and gains admittance. Once arrived in the city, she has to learn who her friends and enemies are in the Durga Dal while also protecting the Rani from the British invasion and betrayal from the inside.

Michelle Morans storytelling is amazing! I couldn’t put the book down and when I did I was impressed and wanted to read more. She brought India to my own room and with such descriptive words and history I could picture it in my head. This was a story of love, betrayal, family, and invasion.Sita is a girl who can read and loves Shakespeare and questions everything. Her father wants the best but realizes that being married off isn’t for her so he trains her. Sita wants to join the Durga Dal so that her younger sister can have a good dowry and be married to a nice man. She tries to do her best for her family and herself but betrayal from the Durga Dal harms her family and it was hard to read. I couldn’t believe all that happened to Sita and she still was able to move forward. She felt like a real person in this historical fiction novel though I wouldn’t have minded reading about the Rani’s POV.

This is a historical fiction book that made me wish I could knock some sense into the British/Queen Victoria. It was the era of the East Indian Company and the British takeover. This book made you open your eyes to another part of the world where invasion and uprooting traditions and culture took place. I haven’t read much about the British takeover or how they regained their independence in India so this was enlightening even though most of it is made up. It makes me want to read more about his time period.

The flow is great and I just really enjoyed this book. Sita was a refreshing character and you hurt when she did and you were happy when she was. I had to know what happened in the next chapter and didn’t want to put the book down. I would recommend this book to anyone who has read Michelle Moran before or Phillipa Gregory(who is my favorite all-time author).

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