Arca is the second book in G.R. Macallister’s Five Queendoms series. It follows the main characters of her first book in the series, Scorpica, which was one of my 2022 favorites. These women are grappling with the changes happening in the queendoms. As rulers and women of power, they must hold their realms together despite uncertainties. And they each have their own style of completing these tasks.
The primary queendoms Macallister follows are Arca, Scorpica, and Paxim. Within each is a ruler—Eminel, Tamura, and Heliane. In addition, we meet each woman’s companions, allies, and rivals. Macallister humanizes all the characters despite the novel’s considerable political wrangling. She jumps from battles to strategizing and from succession troubles to the challenges of maintaining control. Along the way, we learn more about each queendom’s history.
I always enjoy Macallister’s writing style and have read several of her books. She knows how to engage her readers, as well as how to build descriptive worlds. Like Scorpica, Arca turns hetero, cisgender, and patriarchal norms to a more feminist, nonbinary, and matriarchal perspective. This is only one aspect of the epic, but I absolutely love envisioning the unique perspectives.
This is definitely not a standalone novel, as it begins where Scorpica finished. So pick up both books and immerse yourself in the worlds of Arca and her rival queendoms. They’re a perfect pair. I heartily recommend them both.
Thanks to NetGalley, Gallery Books, Gallery / Saga Press, and the author for a digital advanced reader’s copy in exchange for this honest review. The expected publication date for this book is March 7, 2023.