Title: The Impostor Queen
Author: Sarah Fine
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster)
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Acquired Via: Publisher
The elders chose Elli to be queen, but they chose wrong in this beautifully crafted novel in the tradition of Kristin Cashore and Victoria Aveyard.
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 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.
You guys are in for a treat in January. I read The Impostor Queen when I was being a bad reviewer and should have been reading something else. Be warned: not only did I disregard the book that I was supposed to be reading, I was also reading this book any time I had a free moment to look down at my phone or iPad. It is that good.
The main character of The Impostor Queen, Elli, has been groomed almost her whole life for a position that she's well suited for. Unfortunately for her and her people, the Kupari, the previous queen's magic failed to manifest in her. Since that magic is essentially a superpower and necessary for the Kupari's defense against invaders, that created a problem. After some pretty intense trials to force the magic to appear and other shenanigans, Elli finds herself, sorely unprepared, in the outlands. The rest of the book is about her finding herself, figuring out how to be a use to her people, and how such a terrible mistake was made in choosing her as the Saadella (princess).
The world of The Impostor Queen was quite fascinating. It reminded me of a few ancient cultures, and I could not put the book down because I loved learning all of the rules for magic and society. If world-building is your thing - and it's mine - you will be in heaven. Fine goes into details about the little things, like face paint on the Valtia and Saadella, all the way to information on how magic works for the Kupari. I would have been happy with another hundred pages of details, seriously.
The interactions between the characters is also great. I liked Elli and Mim together, though I thought there could have been more progression of their relationship. I liked seeing Elli with Oskar. Sig and Raimo were fantastic characters, too, and I would love to see more of either of them. *sigh* I could just go on and on gushing. They're all wonderful, even the evil ones.
It's good to see all of this strong female-centric YA coming out, and The Impostor Queen is a great addition to the mix. I'm happy to compare this to Graceling because it was just as enjoyable to read.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance digital copy of the novel from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.