Thanks to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
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 fears come true—-the solstice does not go according to plan and she’s 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 Maevna—-the arch rival kingdom ov 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?
I must confess that I was originally attracted to The Queen’s Rising because of the gorgeous cover. But the premise also had me excited as well. Although I finished it in three days, I wound up being disappointed.
I liked Brienna but there’s nothing about her that makes her stand out except for the mystery surrounding the identity of her father who has been kept hidden from her. However, that mystery is spoiled by the family tree that’s displayed at the beginning of the book. While it’s handy, it spoils several reveals. She also struggles with her mixed race heritage which adds a little more depth. And she has a dog, Nessie, who I loved. Otherwise, she’s your typical feisty, loyal, courageous, etc. fantasy heroine. I loved the sisterhood that was predominantly displayed between the the girls studying at Magnalia House.
There’s not much in the way of romance, but the developing relationship between Brienna and Master Cartier made me uncomfortable. Given that he’s been one of her professors since she was ten-years-old, even though she’s of age when things turn more romantic, the whole thing just made me squirm. It’s something that continually bothered me and I was unable to let it go.
The world-building is very descriptive and reminded me somewhat of 16th century Scotland. I thought the the author’s writing style to be quite lovely. The pace was a little slow in parts, but it it never devolved into tediousness. Although this is being billed as a trilogy, the ending perfectly wraps everything up so it could actually work as a standalone.
In the end, The Queen’s Rising left me with mixed feelings. I saw flashes of brilliance, but they just never really panned out. That coupled with the off putting relationship between Brienna and Master Cartier, has me thinking I probably won’t be continuing with this trilogy. The book has received many positive reviews though, so if the premise intrigues you, please don’t let me put you off. If you do decide to try it though, DON’T READ THE FAMILY TREE! I would have enjoyed the story a little more if I had waited until the end of the book.