My rating: 4 of 5 stars
David Wolverton (better known by his pseudonym, David Farland) is a master of utilizing resonance in writing, a fact that is starkly evident in the Golden Queen. The book resonates strongly with the Star Wars mythos, which makes sense as Wolverton has written a number of Star Wars expanded universe novels during his long career as an author.
The Golden Queen, begins like a typical fantasy story, with a young warrior (Gallen O’day) seeking his next adventure in a tavern. The setting seems to be an alternate Ireland, complete with talking bears, ogres and Sidhe haunting the forest. But that illusion is soon cast aside with the entrance of old warrior and his alluring charge. The newcomers are actually genetically engineered aliens from another world. Gallen takes a commission from the old warrior to help protect his charge, the last of a people known as the Tharrin, genetically made to be perfect and a natural leader, to a gateway between worlds (kind of like a Stargate) activated by a portal key technology. Unwittingly, Gallen and his companions, a young bar maid called Maggie and his bear friend, Orick (Wookie anyone?)follow the aliens through the gateway and discover that there is a bigger universe beyond their own existence. The universe however has fallen sway to a race of insectoid empire-buildings, with a heirarchy based on the beauty of a tribal/clan “golden queen” and the strength of her “lord protector”.
What follows is a rather intelligent science-fiction novel, blended with romance and sword-play (you could call it a space opera) that reaches for the epic scale of Frank Herbert’s Dune but falls short. There are some original concepts in here that have appeared in later Hugo winning short-stories, which show Wolverton’s pedigree as a writer of Sf.
The book is extremely well-written, the characters interesting and provocative. The plot and concepts challenge social norms like any good sf/fantasy book, and as well as the carefully constructed resonances with other narratives, there are original concepts that leave your mind spinning in wonderment.
This is a masterclass for any writer wanting to study the use of resonance in writing and a rather epic tale of sword and science fiction that will delight readers of Frank Herbert and Robert Jordan.
P.S. If you are new to the concept of resonance or are a writer who wants to polish their craft more, I strongly advise that you download a copy of David Farland’s Drawing on the Power of Resonance in Writing, for your Kindle (links to Amazon UK). Its relatively cheap for £1.92, considering what you will gain from it.