Published by HarperTeen on February 21st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.
Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.
Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.
Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.
As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.
I went back and forth about how I wanted to rate this book. Is it a 4 1/2 or a 5 star book for me? Certainly its my favorite book I’ve read this year. Surely that makes it a 5 star book? But me loving a book and it being a nearly perfect book are not the same. Still I opted for the 5 star rating and here’s why.
I love a smart MC. Like a really and truly smart character that doesn’t take bullshit. Perhaps that’s why I like Kelsey from Queen of the Tearling so much . Freya is intelligent and curious, without letting her curiosity convince her to make stupid decisions. She tries to take a very active role in her own fate rather than passively waiting for a man to save her. She has a highly logical brain, relies on evidence and proof rather than assumption, and tests her theories before foisting them on the people around her. I adore a character like this and I can’t even tell you how much I would like to see more of them.
Which comes to my second point, the romance. The romance is completely secondary in the story which is something I very much enjoyed. She makes the point of saying that this is hardly the time or place to be falling in love right now. She makes sure that her main focus is where it should be, on running a kingdom in trouble. The romance is therefore rather limited. To me that makes sense with the scope of the story so am perfectly happy with it.
The twist was not what I expected at all. Well, the motivations weren’t at least. I did suspect the culprit a few times but quickly dismissed my own thoughts. Good for you, Rhiannon Thomas, you fooled me. Kinda. I’m a big fan of mystery novels and that’s exactly what this book is, only set in a fantasy landscape. This is not a format I have seen very often and I would love any recommendations of further attempts at this style of story because it works very well. Especially when the author has so many tricks up her sleeve.
This was a book that I had a very hard time putting down. I read the whole thing in two sittings, devouring each page. It’s a standalone which is SO NICE to have in the fantasy genre once in a while. It seems like they are incredibly rare in the genre. The book wraps all of the plot points up nicely, tying them into neat little bows. The whole thing is very tidy.
I would recommend this book for:
- Fantasy fans
- Fans of intelligent female MCs
- Mystery readers
- People who don’t want to wait for a second book in a series
This book is my favorite of the year so far. However, May is coming and I’ve already got 3 series enders on preorder. We shall see if it can keep its spot.
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From my shelf to yours,