Title: The Impostor Queen
Author: Sarah Fine
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: High Fantasy
Series: The Impostor Queen, book one
Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
I was first introduced to Sarah Fine's work a few years back, and I devoured her Guards of the Shadowlands series. Her Phantom of the Opera retelling, of Metal and Wishes, was also excellent. So naturally, when I saw that her newest book was at my library, I walked away from the building happy and excited that I'd gotten my hands on a book I'd been really looking forward to reading. I'll start with the good news: It had all of Fine's usual suspects: beautiful writing, breakneck pacing, and dark, meaty twists and storytelling. But there were other parts of the novel that really fell short for me.
I have to honestly say that while I actually wanted to love this new installment, for some reason... It just fell flat for me. Don't get me wrong--it was enjoyable. It was a good book. But maybe my expectations were a little too high, because I really feel that Fine was reaching high for something, and didn't quite grasp it. I enjoyed the pacing, the characters, and the premise, and the awesome fight scenes were a bonus that I was so happy to see, because that's one of the best things about her writing--it's so atmospheric and evocative. But the world-building was really vague and the world was kind of hard for me to picture.
The premise was what drew me to this book in the first place, honestly: Elli, the main character, is the next queen of Kupari, set to be trained in the fire and ice magic that will be inside her body when the incumbent queen, called a Valtia, perishes. This all happens--but the magic doesn't come. She is forced to leave the city, the center of her universe, fleeing for her life. In the Outlands, she discovers a new way of life--and that war is brewing. She must decide the fate of her people, all the while navigating through a political game of chess. I really enjoyed her as a main character--in the beginning she is naive, an inquisitive, innocent young woman, but she really developed nicely as the book went on.
Despite that, though, this first installment in a new series had a lot of meaty themes to it: family, ethics, spiced up with a lot of political intrigue and magic. As I said before, I really wanted to love this novel, and I did love it--parts of it. Some parts of the novel felt too vague and unfinished, and hopefully these issues will be cleared up in the next novel. Next on deck: Dark Shimmer by Donna Jo Napoli!