Title: The Queen’s Rising
Series: The Queen’s Rising #1
Author: Rebecca Ross
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: February 6th, 2018 (HarperTeen)
Synopsis: When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.
Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and 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, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.
With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?
Brienna has grown up at the renowned Magnalia House, studying to be a Mistress of Knowledge and be chosen by a patron when her studies are complete. However, the solstice comes and goes, and Brienna is left without a patron. Months later, Brienna is offered patronage by a disgraced lord, and as she learns about the history between Valenia and Maevana, she understands that certain abilities she possesses could very well help to unseat an usurper from the Maevan throne and restore the rightful Queen.
Brienna’s time in Valenia was rather slow paced, but once the reasons behind her adoption by Jourdain were revealed, things started picking up. Brienna’s visions and the plans of the rebel lords added some much needed suspense and intrigue to the tale. From there on, this read more like the classic fantasy tale. However, despite this, I lost interest after a while, mainly because this story is very predictable. The mystery around Brienna’s family is rather pointless as the book starts with a number of family trees where it is very obviously indicated who she is related to, and if you’re like me and read all the information before the story – dramatis personae, maps, etc., this is a huge giveaway and spoils what could have been quite an interesting reveal, not to mention the whole family vs blood dilemma that Brienna later faces is not nearly as effective.
While I didn’t particularly like or dislike any of the characters, they were all rather hard to connect with, and lacked depth. The passions and Brienna’s studies at Magnalia House were interesting, but the story changes track to a more political plot that renders all the world building related to Valenian society and the system of passions entirely irrelevant. This was a pity, because I really liked the way the strong friendship and sisterhood between the arden-sisters at Magnalia was depicted and had hoped to see more. More importantly though, I find it rather implausible that Brienna would be willing to join a rebellion in a country that she has never been to or known, despite being half Maevan – or atleast, the emotions behind her decisions are poorly depicted. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the detailed world building, and all the history and mythology of the two countries detailing battle magic and its importance to the old queens of Maevana.
I’m not sure what the sequel is going to be like since I thought The Queen’s Rising ended quite nicely and it would have been a good place to leave things, but I try not to leave series unfinished, so I will definitely be reading that soon. Overall, this is not bad for a debut, and if you’re in the mood for something light and easy, this would be a good choice.
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series:
Book 2: The Queen’s Resistance