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.
Description taken from Goodreads. I received an advance copy of this book, published March 10th, 2015, in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.
Looking back on it, I’m pretty sure I just about jinxed myself as much as I possibly could, because I don’t know anybody who was more stoked for this story than I was. In fact, THE ORPHAN QUEEN was unofficially announced (for those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter #shamelesspromotion) as my most anticipated book of 2015. It’s fantasy, and it’s Jodi Meadows.
Right from page 1, THE ORPHAN QUEEN didn’t work for me. Here’s the thing: if you read fantasy, like a lot of fantasy and love fantasy to death the way I do, I most likely would not recommend this book to you. I also would not recommend this book to people who just read a lot of books in general, like book bloggers, librarians, book geeks, etc.
If you’re more of a contemporary person and you’re just looking for some fantasy or you were a fan of Jodi Meadows’ INCARNATE, then I would recommend this book and all the power to you for enjoying it. I do think it’s a good story, and it’s well written (if a little obscure writing-wise), it’s just pretty unoriginal in terms of plot elements. Sure, the premise sounds great.
It’s the unoriginality of books that are like this but better that got to me, and in reality, the writing style just didn’t connect with me.
There’s all sorts of things, such as the main character just being so special, flirting with soldiers, bans on use of magic, court “intrigue” (honestly, blurbs throw that word around wayyy too much), the heroine poses as another person, the hero is on the run (somewhat), thieves, the hero is surrounded by a small group of skilled people to help her, extensive descriptions of dresses, etc.
Uh yeah, can we say… Shadow and Bone? The Winner’s Curse? The Demon King? Throne of Glass? Even Snow Like Ashes! Heck, I didn’t even like The Jewel and, at times, this book reminded me of it. And that’s just to name the books right off the top of my head. I could keep on going, but those are all books (besides THE JEWEL) that are fantastic, well-written, stand apart and are some of the best fantasies I have ever read. I would recommend those.
One thing that these above-mentioned fantasy authors excel at is building, and this book has none. I really wanted to see this story stand apart somehow, but it didn’t. Anything that was promising flopped over. Lots of people loved this story from what I can see, so maybe it was just me–but THE ORPHAN QUEEN just didn’t work out for me. 1.5 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 400
Series: The Orphan Queen