Dear readers, finally it’s time for a new book review!
I came across The Queen’s Rising a while ago, when the truly beautiful cover caught my attention immediately: It is dark, has silver writing and intricate silver details, and it looks quite mysterious, as you cannot see the girl’s face properly (and, let’s be honest, she wears a beautiful cloak which makes you wonder: what does it portray? Why does she wear it?). The blurb on the back fed into my curiosity as well – it doesn’t give much away at all, so obviously I had to read it! Since Jamie @PrincessofPages had the book on her reading list as well, we decided to make this a buddy read. Before we started, we were also joined by the lovely Shelly @grumpybookgrrrl, and so our buddy read could begin! Unfortunately, I have been q u i t e busy with work lately, so it took me a couple of days longer to finish the book than my two friends, but I finished it. Today. I had to share my thoughts right away! I liked the book overall – the story, the characters, the setting were all things I like to see in a book. It has a fairly new premise as well, something you don’t get to see in every fantasy for teen or young adult readers.
The story revolves around Brienna, a 17 year old girl, who is awaiting her summer solstice in order to passion in one of the five passions: art, dramatics, music, wit, and knowledge – and be chosen by a patron. Other than her friends and sisters at the renowned Magnalia House, Brienna didn’t have the full seven years to prepare for this evening in one of the passions, but switched from passion to passion, until she felt that knowledge would be the right fit for her. However, on the night of all nights, Brienna’s biggest fear comes true: She is left without a patron. After a more or less uneventful summer at Magnalia, her life takes an unexpected turn. Brienna suddenly finds herself thrown into a secret uprising, a battle between Valenia, where she lives, and Maevana, the rival kingdom of Valenia. She feels herself torn between the two sides – as blood (he has Maevan blood as well) and passion divide her heart. Which side will she chose?
As I said, I really liked the characters in this one. Brienna and her sisters are very likeable, so is Cartier, Brienna’s Master of knowledge, as well as all the other characters she meets after she leaves Magnalia later in the book. I liked that there are some twists you don’t see coming, because otherwise, the book lacks a bit in this department. Especially in the second half of the book when the pace picks up a bit, there are some scenes that could be really exciting and grand – but they rather go down pretty uneventfully. Without giving too much away, there is a scene in which Brienna finds a secret door and passageway that leads from her room to another. Instead of making this something exciting and unforeseeable, she imagines that a castle (like the one she is in) should have secret doors, thinks about where it could be found, checks the place and finds it right away. There is no real excitement in it, no danger in being caught, nothing. And then she follows the passage and it miraculously leads to the very chamber she was seeking? Without any search or even minor obstacles. There are a couple of such scenes that bothered me a bit; very often I hoped for at least some hurdles to be thrown in Brienna’s way, or – shockingly – even hoped for a character to deceive her, even though I normally don’t like that at all. I was just hoping for more conflict, for the story not to merely trickle down like a silent tear on a cheek but rather like a raging river. Yes, I do like happy endings and I did like this one, but the road there should at least hold some minor obstacles in my opinion.
To end on a more positive note – and I’m glad that I can be sincere in doing so – the story overall and the characters convinced me enough to be wanting to read book two, and I do also recommend the book. It is a bit slower, less exciting, but still interesting enough with a new idea that it deserves to be read by fantasy lovers. I liked the setting and that it contains its own myths and lore, and there is a sweet love story in it as well, although it doesn’t take away from the story too much. 3.5 stars from me, and I hope to get to read the second book soon!