HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.
HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.
HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.
In this stunning conclusion to THE ORPHAN QUEEN, Jodi Meadows follows Wilhelmina’s breathtaking and brave journey from orphaned criminal on the streets to magic-wielding queen.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Previous books in the series:
As soon as I finished The Orphan Queen, I dreamed about The Mirror King and I wanted it like yesterday. And, surprisingly, I got it back in September -- thanks to the Edelweiss gods. And then I read. And read. And read. But I was in no way invested into the story. I was probably not in the right mood, but suffice it to say, I dropped it at 43%. Still kept it on my currently reading shelf though. And now that it was finally published, my conscience dictated -- get your shit together and finish the damn book.
And I did.
And *gasp* I actually liked it!
“This was love without masks.”
There were several big flaws that led to the initial dropping. First and foremost, the first half was, simply put, B-O-R-I-N-G. Uninteresting. Moving at a snail's pace and without an adequate plot. Not even Tobiah's and Wil's sexy chemistry were able to keep me glued to the pages -- the situation there was already effing weird since Tobiah was on his way to marrying Meredith, which I quite liked. Coming back though, there was a clear juxtaposition of mere secondary plot lines thrown into our faces without bringing out the big guns. Imagine, I was downright disappointed.
Secondly, the problem that irked me to no end was how the romantic closure was handled, I mean -- come on, we all knew and expected that Tobiah and Wil will somehow end up together; it's just one of that predictable aspects every series has. AND I WAS PUMPED FOR THAT. But still, even if the cliche is there, you wish for it to be handled in a clever manner. And that is certainly not what happened in TMK. It's the reason why I dropped it, the reason why I thought I'd DNF it. Because it angered me, disgusted me and simply left me speechless at such a crap way of twisting the plot to the author's liking. I wanted something plausible, something sneaky, not something so straight-cut it's basely. I was pissed off and thank goodness I was because in the end that's what prompted me to give it another shot and another go -- which, in turn, culminated with a higher rating than the one I would've given it if finished then (probably 1 or 2 stars).
Thirdly, Wil -- she was stupid stupid stupid. Not on the whole -- she had a fantastic character development, she was standing her ground, becoming a young and fair leader; kind, resourceful, bold, all attributes a queen should have and I admired her for her queen like demeanor.
No, she was stupid in one department only -- her relationship or rather her communication with the wraith boy, Chrysalis. Everything that went awry in the first part, eye-roll inducingly so, could have been avoided if she had sit down, overcome her prejudices and understand and unravel this creature she conjured into being. Living under the impression that by locking him away into a closet all problems would be solved only managed to render her an idiot and trigger lousy plot-developments. I was embarrassed by her embarrassment, for goodness's sake!
Thank the heavens, that also changed once we crossed the half threshold. I'm not kidding, it was like a totally different book, at least that's the vibe I got. Suddenly, the book was unputdownable. I was hooked. I was enjoying the political undertones and Aecor's dilemma of red vs blue. And, most importantly, I loved seeing Wil develop on her own, separated from Tobiah, proving that she's just and has lots of integrity.
Not to mention those two jaw-dropping twists I seriously did not see coming -- James; Tobiah. The one concerning James I prepared myself for since it was hinted at from the prequel, but I didn't have a clue what it could possibly be about. And oh dios mio! That kind of revelation messes with your head. And I was instantly grateful I finally found the cleverness I wanted woven into the plot.
The Tobiah one, on the other hand, left me shell-shocked. I had to pick up the remains of my mind after being blown away. Consequently, these two twists combined to offer surprises in a wonderful manner.
I'm not gonna lie, the wraith business felt all over the place during both books. No rules, no clear understanding of how it works, how it can be fought and how it must be approached. Add Chrysalis into the mix and, essentially, the weirdness is at a whole other level. It did provide thrills, however. And honestly, this particular spin on magic was compelling. It's just, you know, a superficially constructed "villain".
Other things I should mention: I liked the tension that Prince Colin and Patrick brought to the story and I loved a certain brilliant (although gut-wrenching at the time) twist that enabled Wil to inherit what was rightfully hers. Melanie and the remaining Ospreys were nice and supportive. Meredith was a great character as well. James was from another planet, because he was practically perfect. It was like seeing Chaol under a new personality. On top of that, his dynamic with Tobiah was all Chaol and Dorian, Dorian and Chaol and my heart was quadrupling itself whenever they were around each other. Also, the friendship between James and Wil was sweet and gave me giddy feels.
Despite my issues with the romance, I did not hate THE ROMANCE. You get me? That I adored. Tobiah and Wil are so head over heels in love with each other and the few and far off between times in which they got hot and busy were deliciously torturing and addictive. They truly complete each other. THE SHIP HAS LANDED IN THE HARBOR AND MY SOUL SINGS SERENADES.
“I want every part of you. The nameless girl. The Osprey. The vigilante. The queen. Wilhelmina, you have a hundred identities and I love every one of them.”
But oh those final scenes killed me from so many points of view. First, there was a sob fest and I wanted to hide under the covers and cry for the rest of the night. Prepare yourself, it's cruel. Afterwards there was an avalanche of heartwarming, fuzzy FEELS starting from the idea of an army of tiny vigilantes and that freaking perfect list that had me grinning like a moron. I was in LA-LA-LAND. So happy and satisfied. It was a good, strong conclusion, with the emotional turmoil set to make it unforgettable at least for a while.
For all its faults, I still loved this book. It just occurred to me that was my same stance on the first installment. It's kind of my guilty pleasure -- enrapturing, chaotic and eternally romantic. The Mirror King has the subtle magic of a light, entertaining read and the icing on the cake is that it has flavors of forbidden love, political schism and innovation. Proper tasty, indeed.