I'm very excited today to be part of the blog tour for Jodi Meadows' new fantasy (and the first in a new series), The Orphan Queen!
To be published: March 10, 2015.
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books.
Source: I received an ARC from HarperCollins Canada for the tour. This does not affect my review of the book. Thanks, HCC!
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.
I'm definitely a fantasy fangirl but I always feel like I'm not reading enough of it, so when I heard about The Orphan Queen and found out that it combined fantasy with princesses and spies and magic and that the main character was all three, I knew I'd find a lot to like here. And like I did, absolutely. This is an exciting and mysterious fantasy that still manages to remain wholly satisfying... until the major cliffhanger of an ending! (Seriously, I think I need to have some words with Meadows about that ending. Something very important hangs in the balance and I won't know what happens until the next book!)
One of the best parts of The Orphan Queen for me was snappy and smart heroine Wil and, to a slightly lesser extent, the curious character that is Black Knife and their interactions. I was so glad to find Wil to be the kind of kick-butt but also headstrong heroine that I crave in fantasy. Not that fantasy always needs girls like that, but when someone like Wil comes along who can protect herself with both her fighting skills and with her strong will to do what's best for her and the people she cares about, I'm all about it. On the other side, though, I also appreciated that she had weaker moments to balance her out, which made her feel so much more real and genuine. I am undoubtedly #TeamWil for herself and maybe one day for her kingdom, too.
As for Black Knife and his storyline with Wil... I don't want to give too much away but I'll say this much: I was immediately drawn in by Black Knife and I actually thought I'd figured out who it was (with a little catch that I wasn't sure how Meadows would explain), so when I discovered where she took that character, I was both very excited and very intrigued regarding how that was all worked out in the background (I expect more info on this in the sequel!). From the start, though, watching Black Knife and Wil interact was such a great change from her interactions with her friend Melanie and with Patrick and the Ospreys, the last orphaned nobility left from her devastated kingdom. It was a refreshing change of pace and it brought out so much more in Wil that when they were together, it almost felt like an escape as much for me as for Wil herself.
I think my other favourite thing about the novel was the entire set-up of princess presumed dead becomes spy and infiltrates a rival kingdom's castle and court. Honestly, spy missions and court life are both like my kryptonite, so to combine them together and have a spy mission take place in a court by an imposter? I think I would have been happy no matter how that played out. I enjoyed so much of that storyline that I was actually kind of disappointed when Wil left the court, even though she did it for a V.I.A. (very important adventure). Thus, my only complaints about that whole section of the book was that I wanted the court intrigue to last longer and that I wish there had been a little more detail about the spying that went on. Other than that, Meadows delivered on the parts that I was looking forward to and also provided a punch of a unique adventure to follow it up as Wil learns more about the Wraith. While I still don't entirely understand everything that happened there and would have appreciated it to be a little more clear, I'm excited to get more detail about Wraith and everything that is coming along with it in the next installment.
All in all, Meadows has written an extremely enjoyable and quite uniquely executed fantasy that ticks some major boxes for me (fantastic heroine, spy shenanigans, castles and courts) and that gives magic a spin that I'm really looking to delving into more as the series continues. And as if that weren't enough reason for me to come back for the release of The Mirror King, the major cliffhanger would most certainly have done the trick all on its own. Jodi Meadows, I don't know how you identified so many of the things that make me a rabid reader, but brava.
Find the book: Amazon // Chapters/Indigo.
Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy and the forthcoming ORPHAN QUEEN Duology (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen). Visit her at www.jodimeadows.com
Jodi's website - http://www.jodimeadows.com/
Jodi's Twitter - https://twitter.com/jodimeadows