Title: The Queen of Blood
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Age Group: Adult
Genre: High Fantasy
Series: Queens of Renthia, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Sarah Beth Durst is one of my all-time favorite authors--I read her book Vessel and fell completely in love--there was no turning back. (Maybe I'm just a little bit biased...) So when I heard that she was writing a new book--a high fantasy novel, with magic and quests and dark forces, as well as tons of political intrigue, I knew that I had to order it through the local library. It's been sitting at the top of my stack ever since, begging to be read. I was a little nervous at first, but I'm so glad to report that I had absolutely nothing to worry about. This book was almost perfect--I loved it so much.
Daleina longs to become an heir, to have the chance to hone her magic and become Queen of Renthia, even though she is hiding a dangerous, dark secret about her abilities. Ven, a disgraced champion formerly in service for the current Queen, Fara, takes his work where he can, despite his scandalous exile. He chooses Daleina to be his heir, and trains her to the best of his ability. But when tragedy begins to strike in suspicious places, champion and heir must team up and figure out who's behind it, before the body count rises...
First of all, the world-building of this book was amazing--I really liked it! Durst says in the acknowledgements that she spent her entire childhood dreaming up imaginary worlds, and it shows spectacularly in this novel. The world of Renthia is by turns beautiful, but also terrifying and dangerous--what a fun adventure! But what really sold this book for me wasn't the world-building, or even the delicious heaps of political intrigue dolloped throughout the chapters. The pacing, too, really sold this book--I couldn't put it down. The characters--I loved them, with all of my heart and soul. I loved all of them, every last one, but the star was Daleina, the book's main character. I really related to and sympathetized with her. I loved her character growth, and I can't wait for the next novel in this series! There was also Ven, her disgraced champion, and Hamon, the young doctor who insists on accompanying Daleina on her journey. Even Queen Fara--I loved the characters so much, and I can't wait to see what's in store for the rest of Renthia! Wonderful! The bottom line: The debut of a new series, The Queen of Blood has something for everyone: political intrigue, magic, danger, adventure, and well-drawn characters--I can't wait for the sequel! Next on deck: Front Lines by Michael Grant!