Also in this series: The Mirror King
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
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 is a compelling YA fantasy novel that will be sure to hook anyone who’s a fan of the genre! I loved this one – and that ending! Now I can’t wait for 2016!
The synopsis tells you pretty much everything you need to know, so I’ll jump right into my review.
What I LOVED:
- The characters. There were so many characters in this book that I just truly enjoyed. First off, there was Wil herself, who I found to be extremely likable and intelligent. She didn’t jump into stupid decisions and she always had others’ needs at the forefront of her mind – but she didn’t come off as being perfect either. She was just the type of person who seemed like she would make a good ruler! Then there was Black Knife, who Wil had always seen as an enemy but who proved to be an ally with the chips were down. The complicated relationship between Wil and Black Knife was one of my favorite parts of the book. Then there were secondary characters, all of whom seemed truly well-developed with realistic personalities and motivations. Even those characters who I didn’t like, I understood!
- Wil’s dedication to her people. I think the thing that I loved most about Wil was that she truly put her people first, not just her ideals. She wanted to regain her throne so that she could release her people from oppression and help to bring magic back to the world, but as the book progressed and she learned more about what that would all mean and what the consequences might be, she didn’t just push ahead with her plans, ignoring the evidence in front of her, but she took it upon herself to try to learn the truth. In the end, she found that what was best for her people may not have been what the Ospreys had originally plotted after all, and she adjusted her plans accordingly. Wil was willing to sacrifice for her people, but she didn’t just make herself into a figurehead and a martyr – and she didn’t want to sacrifice others in the process of helping her own. I admired and respected that.
- Shades of gray. If you read my reviews often, you know that I love a fantasy with no clear lines between the “good guys” and the “bad guys,” and this book definitely fell into that category. Even though Wil sees the men who took over her kingdom as her enemies, she’s also able to see them as people as well. Her backstory seems simple at first, but as you learn more, you realize that there were layers to the story – some that Wil didn’t even know about at the time. Nothing is simple and there are no easy answers for Wil. And as the story progressed, I was able to relate to all of the characters in one way or another. This is the type of story I love!
- The wraith. I found everything about the wraith to be downright fascinating, and something eventually happens with it that I was not expecting at all. I’m really eager to see where Meadows goes with this in the next book!
- Predictable twist. I found the revelation of who Black Knife was to be less than stunning. I had pretty much figured it out at the beginning of the book. Overall, I’d say that the book followed pretty predictable fantasy tropes, but that didn’t really ruin my enjoyment of the book. I don’t mind when a book is somewhat predictable as long as it’s well-written and enjoyable. And there were still a few surprises!
So, if you enjoy YA Fantasy, then you should definitely read this book – it will not disappoint! I was happy to see that the series is just a duology (with some novellas to go along with it – I might have to check those out), and I can’t wait to see how Meadows wraps the story up in The Mirror King. I give this book 4.5/5 stars.
NOTE: This series ended up making it onto my All-Time Favorites List!
***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy and the forthcoming ORPHAN QUEEN Duology (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen).
*A Kippy is a cat.
Her “unofficial” bio: (Which I had to include just because I liked it so much. Plus, she loves ferrets – I’ve had five of them, so I can completely understand!)
Like many writers, I’ve always wanted to do this professionally. You know, after I decided against being an astronaut.
Unlike many writers, I didn’t skip straight from picture books to adult novels. I have fond memories of going to Bookstop every month for the latest Baby-Sitters Club (which I kept reading, even after I realized they were never going to let the paranormal elements be real), and even fonder memories of hanging out in my middle school library. The librarians probably knew exactly what they were doing when they suggested book after book and discussed them with me at length. I, of course, had no clue they were turning me into a book addict, but it worked out for the best. Once I found the books where magic and other fantastic elements were real, I was hooked.
When I was twenty, I met a boy, moved 1,500 miles, and married him all within six months. I now realize that was crazy and dangerous, but it seemed natural at the time and, again, worked out for the best. Not only did we stay madly in love, he worked full time at a hard job so I could stay home to write books and, hopefully, one day get published.
The other crazy thing we did was fall in love with ferrets. They have their own bedroom.
My hobbies, aside from spending all my money on books and Kippy/ferret treats, revolve around yarn. I love crocheting, knitting, and spinning. In addition to several handspindles, I share my living room with a spinning wheel named Bob.