The Orphan Queen #1
Katherine Tegen Books
Source: ARC from publisher for review
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.
The Orphan Queen has all the elements that will thrill avid fantasy lovers, giving us a misplaced royal heroine who can fight better than the man standing next to her and think on her feet just as skillfully, all while hiding an illegal magical ability and entering into a tense and complicated (but exceedingly well done) romance. While there's a bit of an info dump in the beginning chapters as one of Wil's young partners-in-crime recounts the history of their conquered kingdom and the magic that currently threatens their entire world, it does allow us to get our bearings quickly before Wil and Melanie infiltrate the ruling family and uncover more secrets than they bargained for.
Wil, as mentioned previously, is a standout heroine, a young woman torn from her family and forced to live in the shadows with those who suffered a similar fate, theiving to survive and biding her time until she can make a play for her throne. While her royal countenance and ingrained sense of superiority does peek out on a rare occasion or two, on the whole she wants nothing more than to help those she was forced to abandon years ago and defeat a seemingly invulnerable enemy that grows stronger with every passing day. There are moments when she could easily cling to the history of her family and her kingdom as she remembers them, closing herself off to the possibility that all was not as it seemed, but instead she embraces every piece of information she uncovers and allows it to expand her worldview. She's then able to adapt and adjust, becoming the type of leader anyone would be grateful to follow and someone we root for unflinchingly.
The romance between Wil and the vigilante known as Black Knife is beautifully subtle yet thrumming with enough tension to add an extra flutter every time our hearts beat, remaining largely drama free until the very end when the truth of Black Knife's identity is revealed. It's perhaps easier than intended to decipher his daytime alter ego early on, but the fact that the reveal isn't much of a surprise doesn't detract from the relationship itself, and it remains one that will likely prove to be of the stunningly complicated–and painful–variety in the next book. We're left with an epic cliffhanger, so those who dread them should beware, but while things for our characters are looking bleak on the final page, there's still a pervading sense of hope that what's happened can be undone, and we know that if anyone can make it so, it's Wilhemina.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.
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TOUR + GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the amazing folks at HarperCollins, I have one finished copy of The Orphan Queen to give away on the blog today! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US only.
A huge thank you to Hannah for organizing this tour and letting me be a part of it:) Be sure and check out all the participating blogs for more reviews, guest posts and giveaways!
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