Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic.
Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her.
Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.
But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli.
It’s nowhere to be found.
Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny.
Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play.
But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 5th 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Five stars: Another brilliant book by Ms. Fine. Read it!
Elli is looking forward to the Harvest Festival. Not only is it a joyous occasion for all the Kupari, but it also a time when Elli and the townspeople can see their Queen, the Valtia. The Valtia is imbued with magical powers, a blend of fire and ice, which protects, the people and the city while helping to provide for them. Without their Queen, the city would perish. Unfortunately, the Valtia tends to die young due to the immense strain of balancing her power. To ensure their survival, the Kupari always have the back up Valtia in waiting, and that is Elli. Elli has a large mark on her leg, and she is prophesied to be the most powerful Valtia of all. Will Elli be able to ensure the safety of the Kupari when it is her time on the throne?
What I Liked:
- Wow! Once again, I am blown away by Sarah Fine's brilliance. I know I sound like a broken record every time I review a book by Ms. Fine, but I can't help it. Her work is fantastic. The Impostor Queen featured everything I love: excellent world building, exciting story lines, action and danger, terrific characters, interesting paranormal elements, twists and turns and a romance. What more could you ask for? If you haven't yet tried a book by Ms. Fine, please do yourself a favor and pick up this one.
- The world building is top notch. Ms. Fine has created an interesting world centered around a civilization that relies on the magic of its Queen. Of course, there is so much more to it than that. I loved plunging into this fantasy world. I thought the world building detail was just right. Not to much to overload the reader, but plenty to give the reader an appropriate footing for the world.
- The characters are complex and fascinating. The story is centered around Elli, the young Queen in waiting. At sixteen, Elli has lived a pampered life, while studying to become the future Queen. Early on, Elli is extremely naive. However, things soon change drastically for Elli as everything she thought she was is ripped away. At this point, Elli becomes very interesting. I loved watching her grow, fight and change. No longer is she sheltered and spoiled. Instead she becomes fierce and determined. Then there is Oskar. He is a rugged outdoorsy guy. He might appear gruff and rough on the outside, but inside he is kind and protective, especially of those he loves. He doesn't hesitate to help strangers, even if it means personal sacrifice. Add in Sig, the intense fire wielder, who is rash and dangerous, but also smart and cunning. Raimos rounds out the eclectic cast. He is a healer and a prophet who holds the answers that Elli is seeking. I loved the depth of the characters, and I enjoyed uncovering all of their secrets.
- The story takes a bit of time to get going as Ms. Fine spends the first portion establishing the world, exposing the plot and introducing the characters. I was never bored at all, in the early stages, but I can tell you, that the second portion of the book takes off. There is so much going on. You have action, danger, treachery and some big twists and turns. It builds to a big dramatic climax that had me on the edge of my seat. Loved it. For those so you who don't love all the detail of world building, be patient and hang on, it will astound you in the second half.
- The romance is quiet and subtle. I liked that it took plenty of time to root and flourish. A friendship builds while the two establish trust before it moves into the romantic territory. The romance never overtakes the story, instead it remains as a quiet background note.
- After the dust settles, the book draws to a close. It isn't a cliffhanger per say, but there are plenty of tantalizing story lines to follow up on. Hopefully, the second book will be out sooner than later, because I need it!
And The Not So Much:
- This book is being labeled as a LBGT romance. I personally don't think it really fits the bill if you are looking for an LBGT read. During the first portion, Elli has a strong, close relationship with her handmaiden, Mim. Yes, Elli had strong feelings for Mim because she was the person Elli relied on, her confidant her friend, and the person she trusted. I never felt like Elli had romantic feelings for Mim, and if she did, they really weren't explored. Besides, Elli had never spent time with young men, Mim was the person she spent the most time with. If you are looking for a LBGT romance, you will be disappointed. Yes, there are some very subtle hints that Elli had feelings for her handmaiden, but I don't think that qualifies this as an LBGT read.
- As I mentioned, Elli is a bit of a tough sale early on. She is extremely naive and sheltered. I didn't like her at first. However, once she is faced with her trials she shows extreme courage, and I really grew to love her. Be patient with her, she will grow on you.
- I wish that there had been a bit more on Oskar and Sig's relationship. I wanted to understand their rocky road better.
The Impostor Queen delivers another tantalizing tale from the amazing Sarah Fine. This book has excellent world building, interesting characters, magic and plenty of action and danger, along with some exciting plot twists. I loved this one, and I am more than eager for the next book. If you have yet to read a book by Sarah Fine, please get this one!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.