Title: The Queen's Choice (Heirs of Chrior #1)
Author: Cayla Kluver
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Acquired Via: NetGalley
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Magic was seeping out of me, black and agonizing. I could see it drifting away. The magic that would let me pass the Road to reach home again.
When sixteen-year-old Anya learns that her aunt, Queen of the Faerie Kingdom of Chrior, will soon die, her grief is equalled only by her despair for the future of the kingdom. Her young cousin, Illumina, is unfit to rule, and Anya is determined not to take up the queen's mantle herself.
Convinced that the only solution is to find Prince Zabriel, who long ago disappeared into the human realm of Warckum, and persuade him to take up his rightful crown, Anya journeys into the Warckum Territory to bring him home. But her journey is doomed to be more harrowing than she ever could have imagined.
I loved the concept of the world in The Queen's Choice. The human world and the faerie world are divided by a “bloody road” that apparently only the fae may cross. The division between the world and the prejudices against the humans and faes was also very interesting. Some of the characteristics of the fae seemed very arbitrary (like how faeries only have magic if they have wings), but this is a fantasy novel, so I was willing to overlook it. I do wish that we would have had more of the fae world described, especially considering that the human world is hyper-described.
My main problems with The Queen's Choice were the pacing and the characters. The beginning of the book was sort of slow and confusing. I was really confused in the first couple of chapters, but eventually the world building settled in and I understood what sort of world the book was set in. The pacing of the book never quite picked up though. I was shocked about something that happened to Anya early on in the book. I was not expecting it, and I kept wanting it to be fixed (which I’m sure couldn’t happen). But other than that, I was about 60% through the book before the plot began progressing again. Most of the middle of the book could have been removed and it would have been a much better book. A lot of action happens in the last 10% of the book, including a betrayal and a cliffhanger ending.
Anya seems selfish and immature. Instead of accepting responsibility and leading her people, she runs away from the problem. Not only does she run away, she tries to sneak away in the night without telling anyone where she is going. Whenever she gains a traveling partner, she remains concerned with her own issues instead of taking her partner into consideration. She mostly makes decisions based on how the outcome will affect herself rather than affecting the fae world, the relationship between the worlds, or other individuals.
While we meet a lot of the fae, we don’t really get to know a lot of them. The fae characters who receive the most attention are Illumina, Anya, Prince Zabriel, and to a lesser degree, Davic. Illumina and Zabriel seem like compelling characters, from what we see, and I wish that the reader would have been given more information about them. For a such a lengthy book, there was too much of a concentration on Anya, her travels and the city, rather than the truly interesting aspects.
The Queen's Choice contains a hint of a romance, but the romance is actually a love triangle which I always hate. It is not really that much of an annoyance because the romance is not huge part of the book though. Neither of the male characters of the love triangle are that compelling. Davic is Anya’s “promised” which is basically her betrothed. From what little I know of him, I did not care for him much. He was suffocating and controlling in his relationship with Anya. We only see snippets of the human love interest, but he seems like an honorable man from what we see. This may become a larger issue in the later books, but I wish it would not.
By far, the best part of the novel was the writing. It was lyrical and smooth. Although it took me a really long time to read the novel, I enjoyed the novel while I was reading it. However, the book was easy to put down, and harder to pick up. While the writing was beautiful, a lot of the writing was overly detailed and descriptive.
I am not sure if I will continue in this series, even with the cliffhanger ending. I will, however, be picking up Cluver’s Legacy series. I enjoyed her writing style and hope that a different setting will pique my interest more.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.