Favorite Books, High Fantasy, YA Fantasy

Book Review: The Orphan Queen

fantasy book reviewThe Orphan Queen
By Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen #1
Paperback: 391 pages
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ | 5/5 |

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Categories: Magic, High Fantasy, Favorites

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.

lineI absolutely freaking loved this book! It reminded me so much of Falling Kingdoms which is at the very top of my favorite series ever list. Sigh. I’m heartbroken that it is over, and that ending. Gah! Jodi Meadows is trying to kill me. It is 2am as I am writing this review, having just finished the very last page, and I already know that I am on my way to the bookstore in the morning for the sequel, The Mirror King. Because, come on. How can anyone in their right mind end a book that way?! And how can I, a mostly-sane heartbroken book nerd, possibly sleep now?

I always have a weakness for these broken worlds that few authors can write well. Miss Meadows wrote this world perfectly. Aecor is a shattered kingdom, with its highest nobility including Wil, the queen herself scattered and forgotten over the years. One night, and Wil’s entire life was changed. Her family murdered in front of her, her title stripped away and her remaining friends sent to an orphanage in the same kingdom that slaughtered her people. She is 8 years old, lost and broken. Her strength and resolve was inspiring. As she grows into the queen she wants to be, certain things and people in her life must be shed. She made these choices stoically. She wasn’t afraid to question herself and her own beliefs. I fell in love with her throughout the pages, and her sarcasm made me smile. Dry humor is always an added bonus in a great character.

At my entrance, every face turned toward me and became cool, guarded. Second time in one day. My skill at ruining moods was truly incomparable.

Prince Tobiah. Well, I’m not really sure about him just yet. He seems boring at times, indifferent to everything that is going on around him. Although the reader really only gets to interact with his character when he is at social functions. And I can totally understand hating social functions, so who am I to judge? I hope that we get to see more of his character in the sequel.

Black Knife was as mysterious as his name might imply. Although I knew who he really was from the start, I don’t think it was so much predictability as it was the author waving it in our faces while laughing maniacally. She knew that the reader would figure it out, and she just didn’t care. Damn her. I wanted to hate him, and I managed for a whole two pages, or maybe it was one. Sigh. Regardless, I kept falling for him and his vigilante thing. I knew that I shouldn’t. I knew it was wrong. I didn’t listen to myself. Either did Wil, so I don’t feel so alone. They made a great team, fighting crime and rescuing innocents. And their back and forth banter was priceless.

Ugh. Using my words against me wasn’t fair. ‘Taking me out to robberies, bar fights, and wraith houses isn’t enough for you anymore? I thought we were happy?’ ‘Only the best for you, my lady.’

I sufficiently hated all of the court women and their gossiping jealousy. Jesus. Sometimes, I’m not sure why I read these kinds of books. If I had to live in a courtly atmosphere, I’m not sure I would handle it well. All of the scheming and two-faced politeness. It kind of makes me nauseous. Melanie, who is supposed to be Wil’s best friend, does nothing but lie to her throughout the entire book. I’m not really sure why exactly Wil trusts her or continues to forgive her, but whatever. I’m not a big fan of hers, and I hope that her role in the second book is insignificant. Patrick is another douche-canoe in Wil’s life that she needs to let go of. He is the leader of the group of orphans from Aecor, and I hope he gets eaten by a wraith filled, Volkswagen sized scorpion. I would be pleased.

The whole ban on using magic thing really didn’t make sense to me though. Like, who the hell came up with the theory that magic contributed to the ever-growing wraithland? There was no evidence presented that proved this idea either way. It seems like the kings and queens in power at the time just kind of decided that banning magic was the right thing to do and so they did it. The consequences for using magic seem a bit harsh, with no second chances given to ‘flashers’. Other than that, everything flowed smoothly. The plot was well thought out, the characters were complex and sufficiently mysterious, and the world was just fantastically described. The Orphan Queen has quickly found its way to the top of my favorites list, and I cannot, I repeat, cannot freaking wait to get my hands on The Mirror King to see what transpires in this beautifully broken world. Muah!


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