Series: The Orphan Queen #1
Author: Jodi Meadows
Publication: Katherine Tegen Books / March 10, 2015
Source: ARC won from the publisher
Genre: High Fantasy, Romance
Trailer: Not available.
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.
This is my 4th Meadows book. I've enjoyed Incarnate, loved Asunder but didn't quite continue Infinite. Infinite just dragged and I have this annoyance over slow-paced books. With that, I was curious slash afraid of The Orphan Queen. I felt that somehow, the draggy writing style would continue. I was afraid that I might not like it and I might just get annoyed. Fortunately, the High Fantasy stars lined up and and blessed me with so much love for this book I myself couldn't believe it. This was a totally different Meadows. Her writing style was so fast-paced I flew through it with eagerness. This, I believe, is the best book Meadows have ever written yet. It has everything I was looking for: strong characters, rich world building, fantastic magic elements, right pacing, swoony romance, brilliant story line and MIND BLOWING PERFECTION OF AN ENDING!! (Okay, also dresses!)
When I say strong characters, I wasn't only referring to the physical aspects of it but the entirety of the characters' development. The characters (Wilhelmina, Tobiah, Melanie, Patrick, James) were fascinating in a way that they all have the bragging rights to call themselves kickasses. The way the have handled themselves in situations where they were expected to break down and sell themselves short was even beyond my comprehension. They were all well-mannered and they stood for what they believed in (though some of them got the best of their emotions). The glimpses of their backgrounds made it easy for me to know where they were all coming from and it made me feel closer to them. They all played their parts really well and that's totally impressive.
The world Meadows built in The Orphan Queen was so vast and vivid I can almost smell the forest and see the Mirror Lake. She has delivered a world so beautiful I was able to immerse myself in it a snap of a finger. It was so easy to memorize Skyvale Palace and even the West Pass Watch. I honestly can't wait to see more of Aecor and East Pass Watch!
The Orphan Queen is centered to what have caused the war ten years ago: Wraith. It's the side-effect of using magic for so long. What I enjoyed most was the part where I got curious about the magic element. There were so much possibility as to what kind of powers others have had suppressed and what were the origins of their magic. Not only the world building is fantastic but the power its people hold can bring a whole lot of history and heroism and unending story line! There's so much potential in there alone! Plus, animation as a power sounded so unique to me (I might have encountered it, I don't know, couldn't remember) that's why the the fascination showed right up to my face when I was reading it! It was all lovely and magical! *wink*
Okay. SO AM CALLING DIBS ON BLACK KNIFE ALRIGHT? If I have to murder Meridith or someone else, I will because Black Knife is mine alone? Understood?!!! I knew Black Knife's identity as soon as I landed on page 76. I knew it. He was so nice, kind, sweet, funny, brave, selfless, ninja-type if I may say which is a total turn on, romantic even and...just...swoon-worthy. He's such a flawless fictional boyfriend I couldn't let go off. He's mine, people. And I want to thank Meadows for making the romance side of the story not too mushy and also not too boring. It was blended perfectly and guys, just this once, thank the heavens above, this book has zero love triangle. Bravo!! Plus, it molded very well. The history of the love team goes back since they were young. It was one of the best front liner romances I've ever encountered and the bittersweet complications were things I've been craving for for so long now!
Oh and THE ending? I love it so much it hurts. Just one freaking line. Perfectly freaking written. Best freaking timing. That was it! That freaking ending, not only because it was a major to the highest level of cliffhangers a cliffhanger, cut the freaking story at the freaking perfect time! Like, nothing. Nothing at all. Oh good heavens, how I longed for this. How I wanted to have a life-ruining ending with just a simple line. A very tragic line. Wow. Am just truly amazed by how this book came to life. It was beyond what I expected it to be, I swear.
The Orphan Queen gilded dark past to a deceitful present. Stirring and engaging, this world of hidden identities and full blast badassery irresistibly grabs one's best in an utterly extrafreakingordinary way!
Thank you HarperCollins International for the review copy!
"Authenticity was the key to any deception."
"The best mask is a face no one will remember."
"Women are constantly underestimated. Women can just be as cunning and clever as men, and often times are. Our triumph is simply overlooked or unnoticed, because men do not expect it or know to look for it."
"The truth of your actions doesn't forgive betrayal in them."