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Cadaver & Queen

Review

Cadaver & Queen

Alisa Kwitney’s latest novel, CADAVER AND QUEEN, is a romantic-thriller that reinvents Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN. Kwitney is a prolific writer who is well known for her romantic appeal, such as in her novel, DOES SHE OR DOESN'T SHE. Kwitney’s familiar tones of romance remain in CADAVER AND QUEEN and are interwoven with strands of mystery, science fiction, and political turmoil.

"CADAVER AND QUEEN is fraught with a complex plot....Kwitney has a wonderfully developed writing style...."

Elizabeth Lavenza is determined to prove herself. As the first female to enter as a medical student at the prestigious Ingold University, Elizabeth, nicknamed Lizzy, finds that learning how to fit in proves harder than she expected. However, her greatest challenge may not be tests, the uniform or even the sexism she faces from her peers and teachers. In another part of the castle, Victor Frankenstein awakes, his last memories burning in his mind --- he was murdered. But why he was killed, and what secrets he may have been killed to protect, Victor cannot find out by himself. The strangely prophetic phrase, “dare to know,” at first only whispered in a ghost story, foretells the imminent danger Lizzy finds herself in for her curiosity. Like the Greek mythological Pandora, or maybe as a doctor, Lizzy cannot resist dissecting the mystery of Victor Frankenstein’s death. Meanwhile, tension is brewing outside of Ingold; the superstitious local town becomes tense and rash as Ingold fails to come up with answers for their missing patients; as the health of Queen Victoria is failing, the empire prepares for a new kind of war, a war that involves an army of undead. In the remote, cold landscape of Ingold, Lizzy and her band of misfits decide to, “dare to know,” digging deeper into the mystery the school and it’s faculty are desperately trying to hide. If Lizzy, Victor and their friends are not careful, they could reveal ambitious secrets that threaten to unravel everything they know.

CADAVER AND QUEEN is fraught with a complex plot; Kwitney builds an alternative reality where technology and biology have combined to create Bio-Mechanicals, dead bodies that are reanimated to become warriors. Instead of leaving it at that, Kwitney explores the political and social strains this new discovery has on both the British Empire and the community of Ingold itself. However, near the end of the novel, Kwitney focuses more on the development of the relationship between Victor and Lizzy. Though some details remain unexplained and a few questions unanswered, CADAVER AND QUEEN was certainly a captivating novel, keeping up the tension by revealing just enough information to keep the reader on their toes. By sharing the points of view with Victor and Lizzy, the dramatic irony escalates as Lizzy searches to find the pieces of the puzzle that Victor has.

All the characters in CADAVER AND QUEEN are fully fleshed-out humans, with weaknesses and strengths. Lizzy’s character in particular evolves throughout the novel because of the people who she interacts with. While every character is developed, some of the characters tend to drop off by the end of the novel and the plot escalates. Motives may not be fully explained, but the obvious conflicting emotions in every character provide insight to the character’s true goals.

The castle of Ingold is chilling and spooky, complete with candlelit hallways and secret tunnels that set the eerie mood right from the beginning. Kwitney has a wonderfully developed writing style that allows the reader to picture the beautiful landscape, to feel the freezing winter air and get goosebumps as the plot unfolds. With mystery, science fiction and romance, I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an equally thrilling and emotionally gripping read.

Reviewed by Lauren C., Teen Board Member on February 27, 2018

Cadaver & Queen
by Alisa Kwitney