Synopsis: In this epic debut fantasy, inspired by Renaissance France, an outcast finds herself bound to a disgraced lord and entangled in his plot to overthrow the king.
Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron. Growing up in Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her. While some are born with a talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she chose knowledge. However, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true: she is left without a patron.
Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, she reluctantly accepts. But there is much more to his story, for there is a dangerous plot to overthrow the king of Maevana—the rival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the throne.
With war brewing, Brienna must choose which side she will remain loyal to: passion or blood.
- The Queen’s Rising is a book written entirely from the point-of-view of Brienna, the protagonist.
- The Queen’s Rising is the first book in a trilogy of the same title.
- Why did I pick this one up? Because it was recommended to me by Amazon and liked the blurb and the cover. I liked the blurb more.
The book started with Brienna(ten-year-old) being escorted by her grandfather to Magnalia House in Valenia(a kingdom) to become an arden(an apprentice). However, to gain admittance to the esteemed Magnalia House, one has to have an inclination towards any of the five passion fields: art, dramatics, music, knowledge, and wit. Brienna seems to have no preference towards any of the passion as mentioned earlier fields. She only loves to read.
“As for my part, I was books and journals and loose papers.”
In spite of Brienna’s ineligibility, she is accepted to be tutored as an arden because of her lineage.
*Brienna is an orphan; although Brienna doesn’t know her father’s identity, the reader knows before starting the first chapter. This was a tad disappointing. I felt like the reveal of Brienna’s father should have been kept a mystery in the beginning.*
Seventeen years old Brienna’s time has come to choose a patron, someone who can use her and further her education. That is not all! We can see a blossoming-albeit a slow one-romance between Brienna and Master Cartier.
* The build-up is so slow that I can only call it the “slowest burning romance” of all time.*
After Master Cartier gives Brienna an old book about Maevan history, she begins to have visions, from the year the magical Stone of Eventide disappeared.
*The magical Stone of Eventide and the Queen’s Canon are two essential artifacts in the story. To further discussion about them would spoil the story, which I don’t want to do.*
After that, Brienna gets selected (secretly) by a patron for her visions which may very well lead to the replacement of the tyrannical ruler of Maevna(a neighboring kingdom) with its rightful heir and forego any bloodshed.
I found the book neatly wrapped up in the end but later, to my surprise, I found that this book is not a standalone !
Rebecca Ross creates a thorough backstory of the history of Maevna, its past political strifes and rebellions are mentioned in flashbacks. However, I found the story-building agonizingly slow. It wasn’t until Brienna decided to spy for her patron that the story gained momentum.Brienna’s character also matured from constantly self-doubting to bold and strong. The ending felt rushed, but it was the writing there that boosted up this book’s rating for me.
This is not a great fantasy book but a good one with messages of feminism, value education, and loyalty to family. I loved the feminism in this book. A place where only queens can rule, daughters are held in the highest esteem.
“This is how we prepare for war, I thought as a dark peace wove between the queen and me. This is how we face the unexpected—not by our swords and our shields and our armor. Not even by the woad we paint upon our skin. We are ready because of sisterhood, because our bonds go deeper than blood. We rise for the queens of our past, and for the queens to come.”
Verdict: I would recommend The Queen’s Rising to readers who love vivid world-building, matriarchy(loosely used), and political intrigue. This book gets a 3½ out of 5 stars from me.
About Author: Rebecca Ross grew up in Georgia, where she continues to reside with her husband, lively dog and endless piles of books. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from UGA. In the past, she has worked at a Colorado dude ranch, as a school librarian, and as a live-time captionist for a college. Rebecca writes fantasy for young adult readers. Her debut novel, THE QUEEN’S RISING, will be out February 6, 2018, from HarperTeen.
THE QUEEN’S RISING is set to be translated into Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, Turkish, Bulgarian, Dutch, German, Hebrew and will be available in the UK.
Publication Date: March 2018
Paperback: 464 Pages
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