Review: The Impostor Queen

PublicationMargaret K. McEldery Books
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Add this on: Goodreads

Elli is destined to be Valtia, a Queen of the Kupari and the only person who can wield both fire and ice in service of her country. But when the previous Valtia dies, the magic does not enter Elli- doesn't seem to go anywhere. In disgrace, she flees for her life to the outlands, and a world she doesn't know. As she finds her footing, she learns more about the magic of her people, and grapples with her true purpose.

Joining a proud history of fantasy novels whose covers feel like they don't quite suit them is The Impostor Queen! (It technically suits the book... but it doesn't quite capture the feel for me?)

This was kind of a twist on the chosen one trope- girl raised to be the most powerful magic-user in history discovers that she's not exactly the chosen one.

Initially, this book felt very similar to a lot of YA fantasy, but rapidly deviates when Elli can't access the magic she was meant to wield. The world changes veers rather quickly away from what I was expecting, especially in terms of the priests have a great deal of power over the country- and the Valtia. It was refreshing to have a book go in a direction that was that different from my expectations. It got pretty dark and a bit creepy and quite interesting.

The storytelling took a little while to find it's footing... things really only pick up once Elli gets to the outlands, and she meets the outcasts living there. Watching her learn more about herself and form relationships with others. While Oskar didn't stun me as a love interest, I definitely didn't hate him either, and he definitely had his admirable qualities... it just took a while for his character to grow on me, I suppose. (Except his name. For some reason I didn't like his name. I just didn't work for me and I was weird and judgmental about it.) It nice to watch Elli grow from a person being groomed to be a leader in name, but without all that much practical power, into someone who could and would take on a real leadership role on the ground.

The magic of the world was interesting too. It did seem to have an awful lot of arbitrary-feeling rules, but once I got used to the system it worked for me. This did very much feel like the first book in a series and, while a lot of light has been shed on the magic since the beginning, I'm really hoping that it will be built on in the next book. While this one didn't end on a huge cliff-hanger, it was definitely a tense ending and I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens next!

KELLY

I'm a reader and reviewer from Ontario, Canada, which mean that sometimes library trips take place through a foot or so of snow. I'm going into my third year of university, studying Environmental Sciences, which I juggle with my almost constant reading. I've been blogging at my own blog and I'll be helping Yani out here as a co-blogger.

  1. Ha! I like that she's not the "chosen one". The idea intrigues me. I'll have to check it out next time I'm in the mood for a slower fantasy.

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    1. I hope this one works out for you when you get around to it, I'd love to hear what you think!

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  2. Nice review, I've seen a few now where they seem to be subverting that "chosen one" trope a bit. The Queen of Blood I think kinda did that too. Nice that this one worked even if it did start off a little slow. I think it sounds like a good read. And sorry but I don't like Oskar either- that name just doesn't work for me (no offense to any Oscars out there!!). :)

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    1. Thanks! The Chosen One trope is, I think, one that's been used so often that it's now quite hard to do well? That said, I am a fan of subverting the trope as well! I'm not sure why the name doesn't quite work for me, it just doesn't (at least not in the context of this character, if that makes sense?)

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  3. I'm not a huge fan of this cover...but it's not terrible! Thanks for sharing your review. Sorry it took a bit to get the story going, but it sounds like a good one overall. I like when books go in a direction you didn't expect.

    -Lauren

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    1. It's not that it's bad... it's just that it's not super good either? More that it doesn't really suit the story, I think. It was a bit slow getting started, but it was worth the push into it, because I ended up enjoying it. I did really appreciate the direction change, it's always good when books get unexpected.

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  4. I'm an ending girl so I don't mind it taking a bit to get going... as long as it does. :) I also liked this one and really enjoyed the worldbuilding as well. I'm also curious about the next book too! :)

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    1. It does get going eventually, and in a somewhat unexpected direction, which was nice. The world is really promising, and I'm really hoping to see more development on the magic system!

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  5. Great review :) I have this on my TBR but I never actually got around to it too. Thank you for sharing x Benish @ Beenazai

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  6. Thanks! If you do end up picking it up in the new year, I'd love to hear what you think!

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