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.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
The Orphan Queen is an enjoyable, engaging, wonderfully-written high fantasy read full of action, magic, and secrets. In it, we follow Wilhelmina as she disguises herself as a dead Duchess to infiltrate Skyvale palace in order to gather the information she needs to take back her kingdom.
I was definitely drawn in by the world and the premise of this book. I didn’t want to put it down, and when I did I was still thinking about the possibilities of what could happen and how it would all work itself out. I imagined battles and arguments and mystery! That helped me overlook some of the flaws this book has, and so in spite of them, I enjoyed reading it.
The writing is light and dark, soft but loud. The characters each have a voice, and though some, namely the prince, are barely heard because they’re not all that interesting, others seem to scream and yell just to get their point across because they are that well written. I was eager to immerse myself in their world and explore why magic was banned and how they plan to take care of the Wraith. There were a lot of compelling discoveries and secrets that only made me want more and more.
Wilhelmina made this book work for me. She was the typical fantasy heroine, ready to fight, strong, impulsive, intelligent, but she still helped the pace move forward and I enjoyed reading her thoughts and opinions. She is one amazing fighter, and I loved reading the scenes with her in action! She was raised to take back her throne, so she knows what she has to do and how she has to do it, but while she develops as the story progresses, she realizes that she depended on Patrick to do everything for her and if she is to be Queen, that has to stop. Seeing her grow and learn was an enjoyable experience.
There was a lot of unanswered questions, however, that made this book a little less amazing then it could be. We never really got a proper build-up of the world or the history and the background. I wanted more, I wanted to explore the reasons and the mystery and the intricate webs of lies that have to be undone! But we got a simple explanation with little proof instead. The build up was executed well, but the solution fell flat.
I am a lover of action and gore and war. I knew there would be little of that in this book, but I still expected gritty action and loss. What we got was this huge build-up, this anticipation of war between the two Kingdoms, which was well executed and definitely left me eager to read the scene where it finally happens! And again, the solution fell flat. There was action (yay!), but there was no epic war. Other than that, though, everything was fairly predictable, and while they were enjoyable to read and gave the plot a push, it took away a bit of enjoyment and surprise.
Overall, The Orphan Queen is an intriguing high fantasy read that, despite its flaws, had me hooked and kept me eager to turn the pages.