I read Metallic Red (2020) by Jennifer Ann Shore back in October, and I absolutely adored it. When the sequel, Yes, Your Majesty, became available for pre-order, I didn’t hesitate; I was eager to get back to Mina’s world. Mina, a half-human / half-vampire, had just become Queen of Appalachia at the close of Metallic Red and how that would impact relationships with humans, her parents, and the royals was something I couldn’t stop thinking about.
The novel opens with Mina watching Charlie and Eloise graduate. She is far removed from the festivities, watching from behind a fence with two bodyguards. It immediately sets the tone for the novel; Mina, hardened by the actions of her parents and the death of her uncle, has become more of a vampire than she’s ever appeared before. She’s closed off, overwhelmed, and guarded. Much like Metallic Red was written in a style that reflected the split existence Mina was living, Yes, Your Majesty shivers with a coldness of responsibility that has settled over Mina.
I wanted more. I wanted Mina to embrace the human-side a bit more and give the reader a glimpse into her thought process over the criminal actions of her father and the subsequent banishment of both her parents. I wanted more of the struggle within Mina between the human world and the vampire world, more importantly between Charlie and Theo. The book steamrolls quickly into the choice having been made without really appearing on the pages. I think that was a missed opportunity. I would have enjoyed seeing Yes, Your Majesty focus on the unveiling of vampires to humans, Mina’s early stumbles as a royal and with other royals, the choice between Charlie and Theo, and an introduction to the debt owed to the witches. The hunt for the 300-year-old vampire could have been fleshed into a third book that I would have read with glee. (That’s partly because I’m not ready to say goodbye to Mina and her mixed group of friends.)
That said, I still loved this novel. Shore has given her readers a female teenager whose life and actions aren’t determined by a desire to win the affections of a man. In fact, Mina alienates the men in her life as she rises to the challenge of being queen. That balance is something Mina struggles with throughout the novel, and I was ecstatic to see that she finds a way to balance her personal relationships with her business endeavors without forsaking herself. The social commentary is strong within this novel. Shore touches on gender roles, US healthcare, discrimination, and privilege by using the voices of her young and bold characters. It’s an excellent way to avoid “preachiness” while building memorable characters.
I hope this isn’t the last I see of Mina and Eloise, but if it is, this was a really fun ride.