Oh oh ohhhh, it’s time for me to absolutely shriek my love for this marvellous novel. SHRIEK I TELL YOU. It is just that good and I seriously…what even are words? How do I use them? AHHHHHH.
For the first 100-pages I was actually dubious. I’ve read two other Sarah Fine books and been “meh” about them. But The Impostor Queen? I SHALL BE HERE FLAILING LIKE A DERANGED GRAPE IF YOU NEED ME.
And obviously I’m going to give you a list of reasons why you must read it NOW. Because books this good DESERVE LIST LOVE.
(Most of my reviews are lists these days???? And I’m not even sorry.)
- It is an epic fantasy with epic world building that makes it the best of mostly ever. I usually find YA fantasies lacking in world building? BUT NOPE HERE. The world was detailed and large and kind of terrifying, to be honest. I love it, but I’m not moving there.
- Magic system = SO MUCH WIN. It does use elements, which usually bores me because eeeverybody uses elements gosh darnit. BUT THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN DOES IT DIFFERENTLY. (Which is how the great books are born.) A person either has a little bit of ice or fire or both…and if you have both you can balance them and be fabulous. The queen (Valtia) is like THE most powerfully balanced magic wielder in the world and keeps the people safe, the seasons controlled, etc and etc. Elli, the next queen, has exactly no magic. (That’s in the blurb, so not a spoiler.) Aka, she’s so screwed.
- Also I liked how the “chosen one” trope was turned on it’s head. Elli isn’t a dead loss…but she’s not chosen the way everyone thinks she is.
- Elli, herself, was entirely admirable. Although not my favourite? I think she was nearly too perfect. Oh don’t get me wrong, she made mistakes and said the wrong things and ALL THAT. But she wanted to try so hard and did everything and she was brave and honourable and hardworking and…seriously woman. I feel like a gnat. I just didn’t find her relatable?
- By the way, small surprise here: I REALLY JUST LOVE BOOKS ABOUT QUEENS. I want to be queen. So that’s probably why.
- As for the story line: I WAS NEVER BORED. NEVER. It’s slowish at the beginning but so so interesting. And omg it has wicked end-of-chapter-cliff-hangers. I seriously spent half my time going “I’m stopping after this chapter”…only to read like half the ENTIRE BOOK because I could stop. Couldn’t stop I tell you. It has survivals and torture and ceremonies and running and freezing and wars and rebels and bandit caves and gahhhh SO MUCH STUFF OF AWESOME.
- I also want to admit it feels like a violent YA dark version of Disney’s Frozen. Okay, that sounds weird, I admit. BUT IT WORKS FOR ME. They wield ice and the love-interest is a big bearish (but secretly marshmallow) guy like Kristoff. And Elli totally has an Anna/Elsa vibe. And the culture was all snowy and Slavic. SO THERE.
- But a brief note on the names: At the beginning I was “wahhhh what is this” but the names are honestly weird but still edible. There are different words for the queen (Valtia) and then the people are call the Kapari, and the enemy is the Soturi. (I think I’ve got all that right???) The characters are named: Elli, Oskar, Sig, Freya, Maarika, Tuuli, Aira, Raimo, Kukka, Senja… But I handled it.
- But let us pause for a moment to embrace the dorky adorableness that is: OSKARRRRRR. Okay Oskar is like a moody bear, but he’s so kind and sweet and TRAGIC. Yes, he has a tragic backstory. And he cares for his mother and sister like nothing else. WHICH IS SO AFJDKALFSD. His and Elli’s romance is slow and complex and a very small sub-plot to the story overall. They’re both actually focused on FIGHTING first. Potential kissing second.
- And I shall mention my second darling who’s name is Sig and he’s horrible. He’s a raging inferno of flames and temper temper temper. But I accidentally adore him? He and Elli clash like nothing else, but he and Oskar grew up together. LIKE I WANT A BOOK ON THEIR BACKSTORY YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU. I loved Sig because he was hot-tempered, tortured, and passionate.
- Actually I’m exhausted because I LOVED THE BOOK SO MUCH. (Epic fantasy is my darling and when I find a super super super good one, my life is just cake.)
- Basically this book is everything excellent you could want. Good writing. Good excitement. Good torture. (That makes no sense but go with it.) And good twists on normally average plot devices. The characters are amazing — all of them are complex and dimensional! There are plot twists and freaktastic descriptions. TORTURE AND BLEEDING. Also MAGIC AND MAYHEM.
- But I’m crying because it’s an entire year until the sequel.
- DUDES. THIS BOOK AND I ARE TRUE LOVE.
THANK YOU TO SIMON & SCHUSTER AUS FOR THE REVIEW COPY. The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine was published January, 2016.
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.
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