Review The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

Review The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

Synopsis: Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.
She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.
Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Future books in the series:
My thoughts:
This beauty of a book, called The Orphan Queen, stole my heart really easily, despite its numerous flaws.
I won't lie, the beginning was far from impressive, because probably this book's biggest flaw was its predictability. I saw plot twists from miles away, but what saved the novel from my putting it down was actually the unraveling of said plot twists. It was entertaining and satisfying and done in a clever manner.
Another aspect that had me cringing was the originality. In terms of characters, for the first half or so, Tobiah (the Crown Prince of Indigo Kingdom) and James (his bodyguard) were very much Dorian and Chaol from ToG, only with their personalities reversed. Then there's Wilhelmina, a disguised orphan queen who's after taking back her conquered kingdom, and that again struck me as a deja-vu with the newest books in the ToG series, not to mention the whole dynamic between Wil and Tobiah (I'm a sucker for Dorlaena anyway).
“Oh, nameless girl.” His voice shifted deeper. “When will you learn to trust me?”
Plotwise, the initial opening of the book reminded me a lot of Snow Like Ashes. In both books we have a very small group of rebels fighting to free their country, but in this case the group is made entirely out of teenager orphans and that detail reduced the plausibility of the story -- let's be honest: there's no way a group of children have survived for ten years on the run and trained and actually managed to gain intelligence and information. But hey, it's fantasy.
And still. You can see that I could damn the rating of this book for its multiple faults, but I don't because I really really liked it. I loved the characters, I loved the story, I loved the atmosphere and if that doesn't make a story worthwhile, I don't know what does.
For instance, Wil, although no Celaena Sardothien, is a strong heroine, brave and moral and compassionate. She fights her own battles fiercely and it covers up the fact that sometimes she can be incredibly over emotional, overwhelmed and inexperienced. I admired her wonderful development that ensured we will be seeing more of her queenly demeanor.
Black Knife -- oh, may I swoon? He was the perfect blend of danger, sarcasm, dedication and selflessness, with a dash of sexy. I loved everything about him and my heart was really happy about his and Wil's developing friendship. Ahem.
“The best mask is a face no one will remember.”
“Oh,” he said, and looked at me as though I were a mystery. “I don’t see how anyone could forget your face.”
A small regret is that I would've liked to get to know James better. Melanie, as Wil's best friend, kind of sucked. Oh, and Patrick, cut the crap and stay put.
The story itself involves a lot of magic and how its overuse has terrifying consequences -- the creation of the wraith. No one knows what to do with it or how to stop it since it's basically ruining kingdoms every left and right. The Indigo Kingdom is the next in line for its destruction, but soon Aecor (Wil's kingdom) will meet the same fate, so that makes it Wil's responsibility to deal with the unnatural. This plotline offers a lot of excitement and I honestly can't wait to get to know more about magic in the next book.
I absolutely loved how romance wasn't the main focus of the book, but still somehow managed to be important. It developed naturally and also added a shade of forbidden excitement to the story. And oh my, the romance itself, although never crossing beyond kissing, was all kinds of wonderful, butterflies-inducing and lovely. There was tension, there was slow burning, there were exquisite feelings and finally -- courtesy of that cruel ending that delivered two sucker-punches one after another -- aching yearning, helplessness and deep regret. Perfect.
“Why are you always trying to leave me?”
It's my first book by Jodi Meadows but I assure you it won't be the last. After all, there's still the sequel, The Mirror King, waiting for me in April (but I have faith Edelweiss and HarperCollins will do their mojo and save me the eternal torture). And I just want to add how happy and grateful I am to see this series is a duology! I honestly thought it was going to be a trilogy, but lucky me I was wrong. We need more duologies anyway.
Coming back to Meadows' books, I'll be sure to pick up her Incarnate series right away since they drew me in with their prettiness a few years ago and now I don't need any more persuasion to read them. Don't expect an extraordinary writing style; it's nothing special or fancy, but she managed to make her world-building compelling even if it's not the definition of awesomeness and I have to give respect where it's due.
Thrilling from start to finish, threaded with toe-curling romance and woven with enigmatic magical elements, The Orphan Queen is a new favorite of mine and if you're looking for a captivating fantasy read, then I wholeheartedly suggest picking it up.

1 comentarii:

  1. Simona S spunea...

    Aveți un tag de la mine. :)