I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: The Orphan Queen #1
Genres: Fantasy, YA Fantasy
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.
MAGIC, THIEF, ROYALTY, EVIL, SECRETS
* good, strong heroine
* romance that didn’t overshadow the action
* it took me a wee while to get into the story
* fans of YA fantasy
Wil is the rightful Queen of a fallen nation. Her home, Aecor, was conquered by The Indigo Kingdom ten years ago when she was still a child. Her parents, the King and Queen, were put to death in front of her. Hiding her identity, the children of the court were put in an orphanage in The Indigo Kingdom. These children of nobles escaped the orphanage to form a group, The Ospreys. The group is lead by Patrick, the son of a general who served Wil’s parents, their intention being to win back Aecor and reinstate Wil onto the throne.
As part of the plan, Wil poses as a refugee Duchess from the neighbouring country of Liadia and finds a place in the palace of The Indigo Kingdom’s royal family in Skyvale. She breakfasts with the King, Terrell, the enemy, and dances with the Prince, Tobiah, a boy she met ten years before. Wil soon realises through her time in the palace that there is a more pressing issue to be dealt with than Aecor; the wraith that is moving slowly eastwards, gradually swallowing everything in sight.
Wil is a warrior. Her years as an Osprey have ensured she is a capable fighter, and indeed thief. Stealing to keep her friends alive, Wil has encountered the vigilante The Black Knife, an anonymous black clothed figure who turns in criminals. He starts as an enemy but Wil soon realises that he might just be doing some good.
I have to admit that I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this book as much as I did. It took me a wee while to get into the story but once I did I absolutely loved this novel!
Wil is a brilliant character. Despite being a strong heroine she displays insecurities, something that I personally feel is important for a character to be believable. Her story evolves beautifully, from an orphan Queen trying to reclaim her home from her enemies, to an orphan Queen who realises the destruction of the oncoming wraith and resolves to help to prevent it for the good of all. Her relationship with Patrick, the leader of the Ospreys, is an interesting one. I enjoy watching it progress over the course of the book and indeed seeing Wil grow throughout.
A relationship I particularly like is that between Wil and The Black Knife (another great character). For the majority of the book we don’t know who is behind this masked vigilante, and similarly he does not know who Wil is. Their interactions are great and the progression of this part of the story was really interesting.
Yes there are elements of predictability about this book, but honestly that didn’t bother me. I loved the story and its execution. While there was a romantic element to this novel it didn’t overshadow the story and that’s just how I like romance in books to be!
There’s a bit of everything in this book – hate, love, fighting, betrayal, deception, magic, evil, darkness, opulence, I could go on. It all comes together to create a fantastic story that will leave you wanting more. I can’t believe we have to wait until March 2016 for book two!
It’s worth noting that there are actually four prequel novellas being released as ebooks between now and the release of The Mirror King. So if you enjoy The Orphan Queen there’s something to keep you going while you await book two.
All in all, I loved this book. It far exceeded my expectations and is definitely worth the online hype.