Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 544 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Orphan Queen series
Source: eGalley from Edelweiss
Rating: 4/5 stars
Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.
HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.
HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.
HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.”
Previously I had read and enjoyed Meadows’ New Soul series and had also enjoyed the first book in this series. This ended up being a well done conclusion to this series. This series is classic fantasy full of politics, intrigue, and magic.
This book has a lot more politics and intrigue than the last book, although there are still some excellent actions scenes where the Black Knives go out to play.
There is a lot of character development for both Wilhelmina and Tobiah. Wilhelmina is struggling with the wraith boy she summoned and trying to figure out exactly what she did with her magic to summon him, how to control him, and how the whole thing affects the larger question of the wraith bearing down on Tobiah’s kingdom. Wilhelmina also wants to take back Aecor but her alliance with Tobiah prevents that for now. She is struggling with a lot of internal and external demons and has to make some tough decisions.
I really enjoyed Wilhemina as a character even if how blind she was about the wraith boy bothered me. She spends a lot of the book discounting him and trying to ignore him and I couldn’t understand why she didn’t seek to understand him and use him to her advantage. She really needed to treat him like a person and not a thing and I found this aspect of the plot to be a bit disappointing.
Tobiah faces a lot of tough decisions as well. A lot of the decisions he makes make sense logically but still make you want to smack him for his blindness. Still he becomes quite the responsible ruler throughout the story and his actions offset and complement Wilhelmina’s actions nicely.
I can’t talk a ton about the plot without spoiling things. Let’s just say things are very nicely wrapped up, if not completely resolved by the end of the book. I like how the main story is tied up but some aspects of the future are left a bit vague. It makes me wonder if there will be some sort of spin off series in the future.
My only complaint is that I felt like the ending was very very rushed. The book is engaging and fast-paced throughout but the ending just felt very off pace and everything was packed in so tightly that it didn’t feel natural. It felt more like Meadows had to end the story within a certain page space or just get it finished.
This was a well done conclusion to this duology. I thought the story was engaging and really enjoyed the characters and the magic. The ending felt a very rushed which my largest complaint about this book. I would definitely recommend to those who enjoy YA fantasy.