Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (Harper Collins)
Publish Date: March 10, 2015
Series: The Orphan Queen, Book 1
Genre: Fiction – Young Adult, Fantasy
Synopsis: 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.
There are several certainties in my life, and one of them is that I will always read something of a favorite author. Jodi Meadows is a favorite author, so when I saw news of The Orphan Queen, I anxiously awaited for a copy.
The Orphan Queen is fantasy through and through. Some may say high fantasy, others epic fantasy. Whatever you categorize it as, know that The Orphan Queen has everything you would want in a fantasy-genre book. Magic? Check. A strong heroine? Check. An amazing world with far away lands filled with wonder and turmoil simultaneously? Check. Danger around every corner? Check. Mystery and wonder worth losing sleep over? Check, check, and CHECK.
The Oprhan Queen follows the tale of Princess Wilhelmina Korte from Aecor, a kingdom overturned by the Indigo Kingdom. But that is not all who she is. She is one of the leaders of the Ospreys. She is a spy, who infiltrates the Skyvale Palace to study the Indigo for purposes of rebellion to free her people and her kingdom. And she is dangerous, cunning, and powerful. In a world that has forbidden magic, Wil will stop at nothing to battle the Indigo, the wraiths, and even Black Knife to take back what is rightfully hers. But in doing so, what risks will she have to endure?
Wilheminia, or Wil, is fun. She is what I picture her to be. A young female trying to find strength in many scary situations. Wil is fun and at times timid, but given everything that she has to accomplish, it is justified. She’s witty and smart, and definitely always up for a challenge. There’s a strength in her that I saw, and despite any situation, she was always for it.
There are many supporting characters that I loved (Black Knife!) and there were some that I didn’t care for. But Meadows knows how to write swoony boys. If you had feelings for her Sam from Incarnte, you probably will feel similar things with Black Knife. The relationships that are written in this book aren’t predictable. They’re genuine and organic, and I felt that the characters progressed page by page. I wanted to be the characters and I wanted to befriend them. Either way, I enjoyed them all.
The Orphan Queen is set in this vast land once filled with magic and wonder. But with magic comes a consequence in the form of the wraiths – a dangerous effect of magic that is destroying the world. Peace was sought out and was not achieved, thus resulting in kingdom takeovers and now, espionage. The premise is fun and alluring. It definitely grabbed me with the first chapter.
Meadows knows how to create a world. Her world building in The Orphan Queen is amazing. Kingdoms with their own distinguishable traits, completely separate from one another. There was a lot of culture written into each kingdom, complete with social heirachy, beliefs, and verbal and non-verbal details. Everything was told through a story or dialogue, and it allowed me to picture this world as they would. It was interesting to imagine the world this way, as one would in a refugee camp or with someone reminiscing. It allowed me to place myself in the characters’ shoes, adding to the authenticity of the experience.
There are things in this book that will surprise you, and some that may not. But I will warn you. That ending. It will cut you like a sharp and pointy sword. I gave Jodi all of my tears, and I will gladly give some more to her.