Book Review – Quests and Quandaries by Alda Yuan


Goodreads Synopsis:

The Floating Isles were created millions of years ago when a beetle the size of a continent churned up mud from the seabed for a perch. And things have only gotten weirder since. This is a tongue in cheek account of a princess forced to go on a quest, very much against her will. With the proverbial band of sidekicks at her side, Rahni leaves the familiar comforts of home for the mysterious Eigen States, a place where, of course, nothing is as it seems. Or else it wouldn’t be much of a quest. Rahni is determined not to let the laws of the land dictate anything, least of all how seriously she has to take the whole matter. Her dearest wish is to get through the quest with as few near scrapes and mortal enemies as possible. If she has to go on a quest, she wants it to be bland, with no nonsense about holding the fate of the world in her hands. Naturally, nothing goes quite as she plans. But what else is new?


After finally logging into my e-mail it turned out that despite my hiatus from blogging, I’d still been receiving plenty of review requests. This one caught my eye because I loved the title and it sounded like a lot of fun. Also, after expressing interest not only did the author send me the review copy, but she also sent me a photo of her cat so naturally, I moved it right to the top of my to-read list.

So, this is a book that you definitely don’t want to judge by its cover. As it’s self-published it doesn’t have a super fancy cover but it’s a nice clean minimalist design and I love the addition of the seal in the bottom right representing the author’s surname. This is the first in a serious of books set in the Floating Isles and is a great start.

The worldbuilding in this is very interesting, although we don’t see much of the floating isles themselves as the majority of the story takes place in the Eigen States which conform to the stereotypical fairytale lands. All the familiar tropes appear, but don’t conform to the stereotypes. The quest itself for the magic elixir is even shown to be just for “the sake of the story” as Rahni’s parents even mention having a room full of them back home. I’d have enjoyed learning more about the Floating Isles themselves but I imagine that’s something we’ll see more of in future books.

One of the things that I loved best about this book was the relationship between Rahni and her best friend, Jak. There is absolutely no romantic subplot between them, just a strong healthy friendship which is something I really enjoyed. Rahni herself reminds me a lot of myself as a young teen and for that reason, I both loved her and found her annoying. I definitely feel that if I’d read this book back when I was around 13, I would absolutely adore her.

One final thing that I liked was that there are footnotes, I’m a huge fan of footnotes. Now, since I was reading on my Kindle I actually skipped most of them as mine isn’t touchscreen and the buttons are kinda broken so it’s a hassle to do anything other than turn the pages, however, I did enjoy the few that I read.

The plot itself is your standard “journey to recover magical item” story with adventures along the way. If you’re looking for a book with a great story then this isn’t for you, but if you want to enjoy fun characters in an interesting world then I’d definitely recommend this.