- The Orphan Queen
- Jodi Meadows
- Released March 10th 2015
- Book 1 of The Orphan Queen
- 3 Stars
Wilhelmia, the lost princess of a conquered land is an expert at stealth and theft along with the other children of Aecorian royalty. Together with her best friend Melanie, Wil infiltrates the Indigo Kingdom’s capital assuming the identities of refugee nobles. Their goal: to take back their land and figure out a way to stop the wraith, a toxic byproduct of magic use pouring across the continent reshaping land and animals into horrors. With the wraith fast approaching, the Indigo Kingdom is all that stands between it and Aecor and it turns out that Wil might be the key to saving the world from decimation.
I think Emily May hit it on the head with her review: “I think your enjoyment of the Orphan Queen depends on your answer [to the question ‘How many YA Fantasy novels have you read’]” I’ve definitely comparably less than which probably explains why I did enjoy this book mostly.
True, others have pointed out how many commonly seen YA Fantasy elements are included such as a ban on magic, royal politicing, a conquered kingdom, and a girl pretending to be someone else. But the same thing can be said for other genres as well: that they are all following a mold. Still, I don’t see much point discussing the above points since in general, they’re done in a not displeasing fashion. No, I’ll just focus on the characters and world building in this review!
So the MC, Wilhelmia, is a princess of Aecor, a land conquered by the Indigo Kingdom years ago. She’s assumed dead but actually, she and a group of other lost noble kids hole up in this castle and call themselves the osprey becoming experts at sneaking around. She and her best friend pretend to be nobles of a recently fallen kingdom and seek refuge in the capital city of the Indigo Kingdom. She does a lot of sneaking around and probing in the palace and is seemingly a master at both forgery and impressions: her actual character is apparently really sharp and sarcastic but she has to be this curious and timid noble while she’s in the palace.
She and Mel get A LOT of lucky breaks, from having super-duper powerful magic to finding the things they needs just randomly lying around and sometimes marked up. On top of that, no one suspects that they are impersonators despite not hearing any news of their survival; though part of that is because they are woman and are treated delicately. I mean yay this book is trying to go for women’s rights but even the one scene where all the ladies are sewing and they have this moment of “we are better than they think” turned out to be a veiled cat fight.
While we are on characters, thank god there’s no love triangle and minimum romance. At least Wil understands that she’s on a mission and has no time for romance and the little moments she has are all the more sweeter for it.
Now as for background on the world… I don’t think we learned anything. All I know is that hundreds of years ago, they used a lot of magic and then the wraith started and magic was outlawed. Nothing about how people reacted to the magic ban, nothing about how things today arose from things back then. The present day world seems really post apocalyptic which I suppose it kind of is with impending death literally looming on the horizon and I want to know how it came in an explanation better than “oh, we couldn’t stop the wraith from spreading so we just offered these kingdoms up in front of us for sacrifice.” This is something that I want to see more of in the next book.
Yes I will read the next book; the Orphan Queen wasn’t actually bad for me. It’s nothing special, but I did like the premise and the ending despite the horrid cliff hanger. Actually, the ending is really really intriguing, a nice change from the despairing tone of the whole book so if anything, make sure to actually finish the book if you start it.