The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows | Book Review

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows (The Orphan Queen #1)
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Hardcover (courtesy of HarperCollins)
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Adventure
Publication Date: 10 March, 2015
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.
We'd left our disguises outside to accumulate mud and grime ... Melanie and I hadn't bathed since our last trip to Skyvale, either.
     Authenticity was the key to deception.
     Sometimes authenticity was disgusting.
-The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows, p. 39
I got a wonderful package in the mail last week that included this book. Looking through the contents, I immediately knew which book I would read first, as I'm a sucker for fantasy. I was not disappointed.

The Orphan Queen opens with Wil and her Ospreys, a group of teenagers who witnessed the slaughter of their parents, and the ruin of their country. That was when they were kids. Now, as teenagers, they steal to survive, live in an abandoned castle, and are plotting to take back the kingdom of Aecor and place Wil--the lost heir--on the throne. Enter Black Knife: the rogue vigilante who might be able to foil all of their careful plans.

The Orphan Queen has some great fantastical elements including some outrageous but fun monsters that make the perfect adversaries. Magic is banned because of the damage its use has done to the world...which makes things hard for our heroine, who happens to be one of those with powers. Regardless, there is a dangerous magical element growing that threatens to wipe out everything in its path. Wil is determined to stop it, even if it means putting a hold on getting her throne back.

I love so many things about this book. What makes it a five-star book for me is the combination of a few things: there is consistency in character traits an abilities, with even the supporting characters having complex personalities. I appreciate the many grey areas the characters come across which help define them and their motives. Not everything is black-and-white, which makes for some interesting twists in story. The characters don't always do what I think they will do. Wil is also a great heroine. As she grows throughout the story we see the effect those grey areas have on her, and also the change in some of her core beliefs. She grows stronger and smarter, and better able to fulfill the role of queen that she works so hard to reclaim.

As far as downsides, there are a few areas that I felt were a bit odd. The story takes place over many weeks, but much of that time is skipped over in favor of focusing on a few interesting days here and there. While the need for skipping so much time is understandable, it does create the feeling that the story takes place over only a week or so, instead of many weeks.

There are also a few things that seem out of place in this medieval-like world, such as a train that is mentioned, or glass mirrors. Magic is used to explain the existence of some of these things (except the mirrors), but it is always mentioned in passing, so we never get a good idea of the exact parameters of the world's advancements and inventions.

I also think it is worth mentioning that one of the biggest secrets of the book is easily guessed in the first chapter alone. However, I still had such a fun time trying to figure out when the truth would come out in the story, and feel that it added somewhat to the already great tension.

Overall, this is a fantastic story. It got this in-a-two-year-reading-rut girl to fall in love with a story and its characters once again. I don't think there's a better recommendation than that.

Temp. Guide
Read this if:
...you like guessing games, espionage, broken characters, and realistic heroines.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Sword and knife fighting, a few quick descriptions of wounds, and some details of how a few people are murdered. Oh, and kissing. :)}

Similar Books (for various reasons):

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1 comment:

  1. I get excited every time you post something! I'm scared we are going to lose you completely.


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