The Cobra Queen, Tara Moss’ fourth Pandora English novel, is a fabulously fun supernatural new adult romance oozing female empowerment and open-mindedness.
The Cobra Queen Synopsis
You don’t know the New York fashion world, until you know its haunts…
In the months since Pandora English left the small town of Gretchenville to live with her mysterious great aunt in a supernatural Manhattan suburb, her whole world has been turned upside down.
Pandora has discovered she is the chosen one, the Seventh Daughter of a Seventh Daughter, and during the impending Revolution of the Dead, she alone will have the power to save all life as we know it. The Agitation is unfolding, building towards the Revolution, and Pandora can no longer deny the truth in these incredible prophecies. But what will she do when the moment comes? How can she stand against the army of the dead?
Pandora’s relationship to her spirit guide, Lieutenant Luke, is intensifying. She’s had to grapple with ghosts, vampires and necromancers. Now, with the Blue Moon approaching and a new exhibition opening at The Met, which celebrates an ancient female pharaoh done wrong in antiquity, powerful forces threaten to upend the balance of life and death. Pandora is given the chance to find out what happened to her parents all those years ago, but first she must put her own supernatural gifts to the test.
(Echo Publishing $29.99, March 2020)
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The Cobra Queen is a supernatural new adult romance… and yes, this is not a genre I commonly read. But, since I was a huge fan of Tara Moss’ adult action thriller Makedde Vanderwall Crime Series and cannot wait for the next title in her brilliant new historical crime series featuring smart and sassy PI Billie Walker (Dead Man Switch, aka The War Widow) I decided to dip my toe into her Pandora English Series.
Am so glad I did – what a fabulously fun read! I flew through The Cobra Queen in a single day. Joining this series at Book 4 proved no problem at all; Moss quickly providing all the back story I needed to acclimate to the curiously quirky supernatural influences in Pandora’s Manhattan lifestyle.
The Cobra Queen certainly features gothic and even dark horror themes, but the scare factor is tempered by the charmingly level-headed and practical way that Pandora and her allies approach impending doom, and of course the romantic elements in play. Moss’ engaging sly humour simmers just below the surface of this deceptively simple narrative.
Like its endearingly fallible characters, this novel does have moments of weakness in pacing and plot. Nonetheless, it is effortlessly readable.
Oozing female empowerment
It is clear that Moss has invested much of her own personal experience and passions into The Cobra Queen — from Pandora’s loss of her mother at a very young age to her appreciation for 1940s styling. But most pleasingly, the recurring themes within this novel are open-mindedness, respect for all and female empowerment. Everything from Aunt Celia debunking patriarchal historical interpretations of mythology,
‘Good goddess, no. Pandora, you are not named for the bringer of all evil — some silly woman who couldn’t help but open a box brimming with everything awful, thereby cursing the entire world. I mean really. Does such a tale seem realistic to you? This is not her true origin story, which dates back much further than Hesiod’s telling. Pandora was a figure of feminine power, not a cursed and weak girl in some cautionary tale about the need for male control. That’s just propaganda for later Athens, when the balance of the sexes shifted and we plunged deep into patriarchy. Think about it. It’s absurd. Her name literarally means “all gifted” and “giver of gifts”.
to what we learn about the Cobra Queen herself, all the way through to Pandora’s choice of plus one for The Met event, reinforces these messages.
While very much a stepping stone in the continuing Pandora English Series, Tara Moss’ The Cobra Queen is a highly entertaining and emotionally satisfying escape from the real world. Sign me up for the next one!
BOOK RATING: The Story 3.5 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5 — Overall 3.75
Get your copy of The Cobra Queen (A Pandora English Novel) from:
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, ChickLit
I’ve since had the great pleasure of reading Book 2 in her Billie Walker series, The Ghosts of Paris.
About the Author, Tara Moss
Tara Moss is an author, novelist, documentary maker and presenter, speaker and human rights advocate. Since 1999 she has written 11 bestselling books, published in 19 countries and 13 languages, including the acclaimed Mak Vanderwall crime fiction series and the Pandora English paranormal series. Her first non-fiction book, the critically acclaimed The Fictional Woman, was published in 2014 and became a number one national non-fiction bestseller, and her iconic cover design, featuring her face labelled with ‘fictions’ or stereotypes about women won Best Non-Fiction Book Design. She is a PhD Candidate at the University of Sydney and has earned her private investigator credentials (Cert III) from the Australian Security Academy.
* My receiving a copy from the publisher for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions.