Series: The Orphan Queen #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on March 10, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
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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 was one of those super hyped books of 2015; I saw it on a lot of blogger lists for their ‘can’t wait for books of 2015’. And though I didn’t give it five stars, I did really enjoy it.
Wilhelmina lives in a land where magic users create a dangerous waste called wraith when they use magic. Magic has therefore been outlawed, as the wraith creates monsters that like to eat people. Wil’s parents, the King and Queen of Aecor, were killed when Wil was a little girl by the Indigo Kingdom, because they wouldn’t sign a treaty that outlawed magic in their country. Now Wil is fighting to get her kingdom back, along with the children of Aecor nobility. Along the way, she’s going to try to figure out how to stop wraith. Aided by the mysterious vigilante known as Black Knife, Princess Wilhelmina will do everything in her power to free Aecor, though that attitude becomes problematic when her own magic manifests in ways no one understands.
Like I said, I enjoyed this book, though it didn’t reach out and grab me like Throne of Glass did, and it’s a very similar type of book. I liked Wil, though she didn’t seem to be interested in anything but revenge. She was weirdly conflicted…she was always super angry and thinking about using her magic to kill people, but when one of the Ospreys (the group she works with to get Aecor back) suggests killing anyone, she freaks out. Her character was a little boring to me, and her constant thoughts of “MY kingdom” anytime anyone else mentioned Aecor was a little annoying.
I loved the Black Knife. He was funny, charming, and exactly who I wanted him to be. His relationship with Wil was very sweet, and really the main reason I kept reading the book.
The other Ospreys (except for Patrick, a young man who thinks very highly of himself and irritated me to no end, who is supposed to be Wil’s future General) seemed pretty negligible to me. Even Melanie, who is a main character and Wil’s closest friend wasn’t all that interesting to me. She did have the best luck though; she was always sneaking in and out of important palace rooms without getting caught. Rather impressive.
The conflict with wraith and Wil’s journey into the Wraithland was very interesting; I really enjoyed the twist at the end regarding Wil’s effect on the Wraithland; I cannot wait to see how that gets resolved in the next book. There are certainly lots of interesting magic/fantasy elements here, that I feel will be even more exciting later on, now that the main story is established.
All in all a very entertaining read, though not my favorite in the genre. If you like Fantasies like Throne of Glass, Graceling, Shadow and Bone, or Grave Mercy, you’ll definitely enjoy The Orphan Queen.