Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy Publication Date: March 10, 2015 Pages: 391 Published By: Katherine Tegen Books Website Jodi Meadows Website My review copy: Purchased
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.
My memories of that night were crystalline, and sharp. I would never forget the horror of blood and fire and steel, or that King Terrell and his family were why I was left without a home, and my kingdom was a handful of orphans.
Fantasies tickled the back of my mind: I could make her perfume come to life and suffocate her, or ask her dress to coil around her and constrict until she couldn't breathe. Anything to make her stop talking
I shouldn't be here. I needed to get back to the palace, offer as much information about the wraith as I could, and then return to my real life as an Osprey. As a future queen of orphans. It would be best if I never saw Black Knife again.
I can't even tell you how many times I have started and erased this review. For a book that I enjoyed this has become a difficult venture. The Orphan Queen has so many components that everyone loves: conspiracies, action, a world shattered, but you know there is something more going on and a heroine that can kick serious butt. Thing is I just can't seem to form the proper words to actually describe my feeling while reading this.
There was a lot of world building in the start of this book. Meadows did not spare the details when it came to basically every aspect of this book. This did make for a slow start but it also made for spectacular characters, a full past and a good powerful picture of the present. Despite the slower start this The Orphan Queen easily and quickly became an addictive read. Once the world and tone was set, Meadows launched this book into a pace that didn't allow you to put the book down. There are a few good twists thrown in for good measure. I would be lying if I said I didn't have one figured out early on. Not that knowing ruined it, but more made me smile that my suspicions were confirmed.
Wilhelmina can hold her own, but she was not without flaw. For me this was her inability to stand up to the man that was ordering her around, like a puppet on strings. Sure, she spoke her mind but he had everyone so in the palm of his hands and her voice went unheard. I didn't care that their end game was the same (mostly), I wanted her to raise her voice and be the queen she was meant to be. How I know that she can be so much more is that she uses her head. Wilhelmina, despite following instructions, knows how to question things. Her ability to see what some seem to be overlooking and the fact that she believes there are things she must do in order to be a worthy queen, make her the character that I want to read. Her flaws make her real but her personality shows what she has the potential to become.
There are a lot of great supporting characters in this book. I found myself surprised with this. Not because they were done so well, but because Meadows did it without creating a mess. Melanie was probably my favorite out of them, despite the fact that some of her behaviours really picked at me. There was always some form of mystery surrounding her and she serves so many different purposes. Tobiah was not quite as well developed but you get a feel for him, and you can tell there is more to him than being his fathers son. I could keep on with this because there are so many more that I want to talk about, but I know that I can't ruin the surprise and fun for you all.
The Orphan Queen was not what I expected and despite a slower take off, I really enjoyed my time reading it. In fact I enjoyed it enough that I will be pre-ordering The Mirror King. I wouldn't say that there is a complete cliff hanger but you are most definitely left wanting to know how everything goes. This is the type of book you need to pick up when you have the patience to get through some awesome plot and setting development, and then dive head first without wanting to come up for air.