The Impostor Queen #1
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: ARC from publisher for review
Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.
But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.
Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.
The Impostor Queen starts a touch slow, the introduction of a royal hierarchy categorized by unfamiliar terminology keeping us from settling in immediately, but before long Elli’s journey picks up speed and has us racing to the finish to see how everything will unfold.
Elli is a sheltered young woman both literally and figuratively, having spent her entire childhood and majority of her teen years safe and coddled within the walls of her beloved Temple on the Rock. While her every need is attended to, her thirst for knowledge about the outside world goes unquenched, leaving her no choice but to trust blindly what those in a position of power tell her. Once she gets outside the walls however, she soaks up new information like a sponge, and it’s nearly impossible not to root for a young woman who has absolutely no sense of superiority despite being told she’s the future queen all her life.
The romance between Elli and ice-Wielder Oskar is everything we’ve come to expect from a Sarah Fine relationship, things between them starting out slowly as they both harbor secrets to protect themselves and others, and then steadily growing until we want nothing more than to read about the two of them building a life together. Unfortunately for romantics like myself, that dream of a life together is interrupted by a brutal series of revelations that tears the world Elli once new down and sets it aflame, and our fledgling couple finds themselves in the middle of a battle.
We’re left in a solid place despite a number of threads left loose to be picked up in the next installment, but Ms. Fine is an expert at ripping hearts out and stomping on them, so while this first book leaves us content, there are more than a few hints that she’s getting ready to ball her hands into fists and punch us right in the gut in the not-too distant future.
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I’m the author of several books for teens, including Of Metal and Wishes(McElderry/Simon & Schuster) and its sequel, Of Dreams and Rust, the Guards of the Shadowlands YA urban fantasy series (Skyscape/Amazon Children’s Publishing), and The Impostor Queen (McElderry, January 2016).
I’m also the co-author (with Walter Jury) of two YA sci-fi thrillers published by Putnam/Penguin: Scanand its sequel Burn. My first adult urban fantasy romance series, Servants of Fate, includes Marked, Claimed, and Fated, all published by 47North in 2015, and my second adult UF series — The Reliquary, kicks off in summer 2016. When I’m not writing, I’m psychologizing. Sometimes I do both at the same time. The results are unpredictable.
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