Just a few moons after escaping the tomb in Alu, Kammani and the other runaway maidens have found refuge in the city-state of Manzazu. There, Kammani has become a respected healer, especially among the warriors she’s brought back from the brink of death. Now that the nightmares of Alu are fading, she can finally decide whether or not to take Dagan’s hand in marriage.
But when an assassin murders a healer he believes is Kammani and attempts to kill the displaced queen of Alu, the maidens realize they’ve been found.
Hungry for revenge, Manzazu’s queen wants to strike back at Alu with her fiercest weapons—her scorpion warrior maidens—but Kammani knows that war harms more than it heals. To save the innocents and any chance of a future with Dagan, Kammani must take down Alu’s ruler before their lives burn up in the flames of war.
Duology: Gravemaidens (#2)
Author: Kelly Coon
Format: eBook, Hardcover
Publication Date: December 15, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Penguin Random House)
Page Count: 384
My review for this will drop tomorrow, just to keep from this being a MASSIVE post lol
Anyway, are you all ready for an amazing author to have an interview on my humble blog? * I totally did
not sob when I got a chance to have an interview post with her*
- Starting out, did you always know this was going to be a duology? [I mean if you change your mind and want to turn it into a 15 book series, I’m all there for it]
Haha, let me just get right on the next 13 books (laughs and sobs). No, I actually first imagined the books as a trilogy. I had a different second novel planned (involving a curse and plagues) and then scrapped it all when I rewrote Gravemaidens. Honestly, it’s so much better for it. The vision I initially had needed to be condensed, so I’m glad I trusted my gut on that one!
2. In Warmaidens we have such a strong and large female cast, of course that’s because you set this great foundation of them in Gravemaidens, but how was it to make this other kingdom and integrate them with your primary cast?
The Koru, the all-female band of warriors from Manzazu, Kammani’s safe haven after fleeing Alu, just showed up in my imagination. I saw their gleaming, copper scorpion helmets, their plated capes and tunics. I saw the sickleswords and battleaxes strapped to their waists. I knew I wanted a counterpoint to Kammani’s pacifism, while providing a foil to Alu’s soldiers, too. So putting the Koru together was easy for me.
But making Manzazu similar enough because of its physical location while also being different enough to be a peaceful contrast to Alu, was a challenge to be sure. I had to think about everything from their methods of commerce to their ruler!
3. If all the characters from the Gravemaidens duology were in a quarantine lockdown with you, which would you get along with best?
Probably Dagan. He’s the least stubborn of the group and least likely to cause any trouble, haha. Managing the virtual schooling of three boys while also working has been a CHALLENGE, so I don’t need anything else. Whew!
4. Iltani got to show such a different side in Warmaidens, was it difficult to peel away her layers?
Not really! I held a lot of her back in Gravemaidens (because a subplot was cut), but that part of her was always there. She was probably the easiest character for me to write because I’d worked hard to develop her in the prewriting. Some characters take a whole book to show you who they really are, but Iltani was Iltani from the second she opened her mouth.
5. The ending for Warmaidens was absolutely perfect on every level, but did you ever consider a drastically different ending from the one that’s being published?
Ahh, thank you! Yes, I had a more traditional ending, and really went back and forth hard on whether or not to keep that. But in maybe my third editorial edit, I knew I had to go this route. It didn’t work for Kammani’s character to do it any other way, and once I showed my editor, we were both thrilled! =)
6. Was Dagan always meant to be so vulnerable and this sort of opposite mirror of toxic masculinity?
Yes. I wanted to flip gender norms on their heads in this duology. We often get witty, snarky, dark, and broody YA heroes, and I wanted someone Kammani would love. She’d never be attracted to darkness and snark because that’s not what she values. She needed someone who was just as compassionate as she was, and a nurturer who’d dedicate himself to her.
7. What’s your favorite snack? I feel this is important to ask.
Oh, it’s vital. Dark chocolate if I’m going sweet, and I would never turn down tortilla chips and guacamole. Just saying. 😉
Thank you so much for having me!!!!!! XOXO Kell
Ahh I had so much fun with this, but, now, go read Gravemaidens/Warmaidens if you get the chance!