The Impostor Queen
By: Sarah Fine
Release Date: January 5th 2016
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: Print ARC
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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 magical 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.
Oh, how I loved this book! I’ve read a good amount of Fine’s other books and have loved all I’ve read from her. But this one stood out to me as the best so far. I was immediately pulled into the world, magic use and setting. It was the type of book I melted into and didn’t want to end.
The world building was incredible- I loved that we were introduced to Elli as she waits to take on the role of Valtia. Her future had been mapped out for her and as the reader we felt the pressure, expectations and excitement that she felt. I loved the power of Fine’s writing and her ability to enhance on the plot summary I read before starting the book. I knew from the tag line that Elli wasn’t going to take on the Valtia’s magic nor fulfill her prophesized role. At times, knowing these things prior to reading the novel might take away from the experience but not so in this book. I knew what was coming but it in no way detracted from the suspense I felt. As the story progressed I dreaded the moment Elli would find out that things weren’t going to happen for her as suspected. I worried for what would happen to her with the priests.
I completely fell in love with Elli’s character. I found her innocence (possible naiveté) to be enduring and honestly incredibly relatable. I could see myself reacting very much how she did to her situation. Though she accepted her role she didn’t hold off on asking questions and learning more about how things worked. I loved her inquisitive nature. Her character growth and development was exquisitely done and really a pleasure to read.
Another character I loved was Oskar. He came into the story about midway and was such an amazing character. I loved his stoic nature (and he maybe reminded me a tiny bit of Jon Snow?) I could picture him so clearly and really felt his character. I loved his internal struggles, denial/guilt and loyalty. The perfect foil to his character was Sig. I expect to learn much more of him in the next book and look forward to it. I didn’t care for him initially but I must say he really grew on me with his cynical humor and all out there attitude. The little tid-bits we learn of his history were so interesting (and heart breaking).
The dynamics between the characters were so strong and there was so much chemistry. It was easy for me to connect the characters and understand what drew them together. I loved the sibling, romantic, and friendship relationships throughout the novel. Not only that, but the bad guys were extremely bad! I felt fear in regards to their plans and power.
It is very difficult to review this novel because of my overwhelming love for the characters and world. I am completely entranced with this story and am desperate to read more. I’ve not seen how many books will be in this series but I honestly would be happy for more than just three. I want sooo much more (yes, I’m greedy). I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys Fine’s other work, fantasy or generally great books.