Title: Long May She Reign
Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Pub. Date: February 21st, 2017
Genre: YA, Fantasy
The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.
Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.
Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.
Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.
As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.
Long May She Reign has a lot of potential to be brilliant and puzzling. This is a tale about a girl who becomes Queen when just the day before, she was 23rd in line. So while she struggles with the responsibilities of being Queen, Freya also works on trying to find out who the murderer is and why they did what they did. Their intention could never have possibly been to put her on the throne, so who else could have done it? While Freya learns more about her people and her land, she also learns more about those she comes to call friends. She finds herself trusting them even though she knows she shouldn’t, and that makes for a very interesting turn of events. All in all, Long May She Reign is about loyalty, fairness, and kindness when greed tries to overwhelm everyone.
Freya is a scientist, always experimenting in her makeshift lab to try and create things that could potentially help people as well as get her away from her home town. When she becomes Queen however, all that changes. It isn’t acceptable for a Queen to be experimenting with poisons and metals and fire. Freya has to pretend science isn’t her passion, until another attempt for the throne is made, and Freya decides to try one more experiment. She is a strong and brave Queen once she opens her eyes to the problems her advisers attend to. She is also honest. She makes a good Queen, though she does make mistakes.
The premise intrigued me from the beginning, and I wanted to read this book merely to find out they mystery: who killed all those people and why? We don’t find out until the end, though there are some good hints along the way. The author is skilled in a way that when she writes, she can turn your doubt and suspicion onto someone completely innocent. The character that is actually the most suspicious ends up being one of our favorites, or a t least fairly likable. By the end of the book you will be thinking ‘I knew it!’, but then you will recall you doubt and accusations of other characters. This made reading more enjoyable for me, though there wasn’t that much mystery to be honest. It was more so politics and romance.
Romance wise, there is not much. We see characters getting closer and creating a bond, and they get teased at times for liking each other, but again nothing really develops there until the end.
Overall, Long May She Reign tells a tale of a young girl’s journey to royalty, and how she struggles not to become someone else.