The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1)

 
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4.5
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Great Book, Worth the Read
original review at: http://www.literarychaos.com/

In the spirit of honesty, I would never have picked this book up for myself. The synopsis didn't excite me and, for me, there was just no real pull to the book, but I picked it up anyway because I knew a friend of mine would love it. I decided that it wouldn't hurt to buddy-read it with her and I am very glad I did. I enjoyed it far more than I had expected; I found it to be a good reminder that sometimes it is good to branch out and read something I normally wouldn't.

I really enjoyed the worldbuilding in this novel. I took me a couple of chapters to really understand the inner workings of the world and the various aspects of the magic. However, once I got that down I felt that it really hit the sweet spot, the world wasn't too complex nor did it leave me feeling like I needed more. It was actually quite straightforward for a fantasy novel which I found quite refreshing.

I really liked Wil, she was strong, fierce, and an amazing fighter. All things that make for a great main character, but what I liked most about her was her sense of morality and loyalty, not only to the nation she lost but also to her close-knit group of friends. Wil didn't always make great choices but she made them not while thinking about herself but about those she loved, which only made me love her all the more. Her loyalty made her seem more human and less that inhumanly perfect warrior queen that seems common in literature.

In fact, the only reason the book received four instead of five stars was due to the fact that I was able to call some of the plot twists. I felt that while I loved the journey, there were too many instances where the book had foreshadowing just felt too obvious and made it too easy to guess the plotline. This being said, it has a killer cliffhanger that I did not see coming and has left me jonesing to get my hand on the next book.
Good Points
Characters, Plot, World Building
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PERFECTION
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MY THOUGHTS
I adore Jodi Meadows' Incarnate series, so I was excited to find out that she was writing a fantasy! I am happy to say that this book exceeded my expectations!

Wil's parents, along with many other adults, were all killed in her country when she was a child. Now, ten years later, Wil and the other orphan have been living in poverty. It is now finally time for Wil to reclaim her country, and she starts by masquerading as a noble refugee.The threat of the wraiths is becoming more and more apparent, and Wil begins getting involved in an odd relationship with the vigilante Black Knife. Before long, Wil's spying days is becoming more and more dangerous and she can't figure out who to trust. Also, the threat of the wraiths is becoming more and more apparent.

This book was absolutely fantastic and I couldn't see anything in this book I dislike (except the end, but I'll get to that later). The entire world was crafted so brilliantly. At first glance, this seems like your basic fantasy world with different kingdoms and royalty, but the idea of wraiths was completely unique and very interesting. As for plot, I was worried that this would be another "I didn't know I was royal" book, but Wil knew she was royal, which made things so much more interesting. Also, I love it when there's the aspect of spying, where no one knows who you truly are. This was with no only Wil and her orphan friends, but the Black Knife as well. Don't even get me started on him!

Wil also really made the book, in fact, most of the book was all her. She's very strong, and she has to be. She's grown up in a harsh life, knowing the enemies that took her family, her country, and the life she should've had. Despite some of her doubts, I think that she would make a wonderful queen.

As for romance, there is some, though not enough to distract from any major plots. Also, the romance is fantastic and perfectly shippable!

Lastly, there's a cliffhanger and it's a doozy. So, be prepared to be destroyed.
And for a long wait...

IN CONCLUSION
Yeah, my review is a big gushing mess, but I LOVED this book! It's a perfect fantasy, with great characters and an engaging plot. Every fantasy fan needs to9 read this book!
While I'll be here, waiting for the next one...
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A worthwhile read
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Please pick up this book at your bookstore.
Good Points
It was a different view for a high fantasy book. The characters were well developed and had depth to them. The ending makes you want to immediately dive into the next book. The author makes you want to continue reading it until you finish it.
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A great start
(Updated: April 12, 2015)
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Wilhelmina has secrets. She’s a member of a group called the Ospreys, a group of orphaned children who use their skill to steal and gain information. These children are all of noble birth, orphaned when the Indigo Kingdom overtook their homeland, and Wil, she’s the lost princess. Either of those secrets could land her in trouble but it’s the last that’s the most deadly. She has magic in a kingdom where magic is outlawed. Wil and her best friend Melanie plan to con their way into the Skyvale palace and gain the information needed for the first step to regaining their kingdom. But Melanie’s behavior gets more suspicious and there’s enemies lurking around every corner. Who can Wil trust? Her best friend? The Ospreys? If she’s discovered, she’ll likely be thrown out to be dealt with by The Black Knife vigilante, who hunts people like her.

This was my first experience with a Jodi Meadows book, and it was one I was high anticipating since I’d first heard of the synopsis. I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed. The lost princess from a fallen kingdom can be a popular trope in fantasy but there were so many elements added to the trope that I enjoyed that it didn’t matter to me. It was fast paced, which made for a very quick read, mostly because I didn’t want to put it down.

Wilhelmina was a very interesting character. She didn’t start off the book as a weak character who had to grow strong, as can be typical. She could fight, she was someone people in her group looked up to, and there were many glimpses of a great queen-to-be in her. That didn’t mean she didn’t have her insecurities or flaws. The fact that she wasn’t the Ospreys’ leader made her question her ability to lead. She could be rash, especially with magic use. Ultimately, I really liked her character.

The bond the group of Ospreys showed was something special. Connor was pretty adorable and hopefully the other Ospreys will get more time in later books. Melanie, Wil’s best friend, got the most time of the Ospreys since she accompanied Wil to the Skyvale palace. It was easy to see why they were so close. They could joke around and have fun then become serious in a second when it was time to work. I had my theory to why Melanie was behaving in such a way that seemed suspicious and though I was right, I liked that there were many options. It wasn’t completely clear. The other two character who got a lot of time were the prince, Tobiah, and his guard, James. I really liked them both. James was flirty and fun and caring. Tobiah was definitely more moody but he still had some great moments. Then there was the Black Knife. Wil kept running into the mysterious masked man who fought for justice. It was great to see their development go from enemies to not-so enemies to maybe allies. I did figure out who he was and I’m glad I was right.

The plot moved along quite quickly. It started off with a lot of action, the Ospreys on a heist, and it never really stopped. Even when there wasn’t action in the sense of a sword fight happening, there was action in other ways. Wil and Melanie trying to fit in at the palace and get the information needed, Melanie’s suspicious behavior, Black Knife interactions. There was always so much going on. There was never a time when I forgot just how high the stakes were for Wil. One slip and it could mean her freedom, her kingdom, and maybe her life.

The book set itself up nicely for the next one. There was a lot of mentions of the One-Day War that orphaned the Ospreys, the consequences of using magic, and even some prophecies about who will save the kingdom from the Wraith problem. And the ending….where is that next book?!
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Princess, Spy ... Threat - The Orphan Queen Is Filled With Adventure, Intrigue, And Swoony Romance
(Updated: May 05, 2016)
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4.0
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THE ORPHAN QUEEN, first in a fantasy duology by Jodi Meadows, is filled with daring adventures, palace intrigues, secret identities, and dangerous magic with a heroine readers can admire. This series opener easily captures your attention as danger rises and each page brings readers closer to a plot of twisty identities and forbidden magic that threatens the very kingdom our princess is determined to take back.

Taking Back A Throne Is Tricky Business

Through war and political maneuvering, Princess Wilhelmina's kingdom is taken over by the neighboring realm the Indigo Kingdom. Orphaned she is now throneless, but this heroine vows revenge and sets out to take back her kingdom. With the help of her Ospreys, other orphaned children of nobility who survived the slaughter that took her family away and destroyed her kingdom, Princess Wilhelmina 'Wil' sets off to infiltrate Skyvale Palaces. There she encounters dangerous foes, battles against monsters of magic known as Wraiths, and meets the handsome vigilante Black Knife. In a world where magic is forbidden, it may be the only thing Wil has left to stop the threat of Wraiths and regain her kingdom if it doesn't destroy everything first.

Princess Wilhelmina - An Uncommon Heroine Of Many Disguises

One of the strongest aspects of The Orphan Queen is its heroine. I loved her fierce devotion to her people and her desire to do right even in the face of danger. Meadows writes a heroine that has wonderful, admirable qualities and balances her out with a relatable protagonist who makes mistakes, letting the reader feel all her ups and downs. An expert at forgery, a hobby no ordinary princess would know but forced by circumstances, Wil has developed an amazing backbone of strength and resilience, along with some crafty spy techniques. Imagine a princess, orphaned and throneless, with the weight of her kingdom and its people o her shoulders - a princess who knows more about assuming identities and spying than she knows herself, and you begin to see how easy it is to admire her.

Indigo Kingdom - Fantasy And Magic Create Exciting Hints Of Danger

The Orphan Queen weaves in an easily consumed fantasy world filled with danger, magic, and creatures. Meadows gives the readers a wonderful feel for the world while keeping the amount of tension and danger at a delightful increase ensuring much rapid page turning and late night reading.

Everyone Enjoys A Swoony And Forbidden Romance

Romance, the slow-growing and forbidden kind, is always an instant attraction in my YA reads and The Orphan Queen has one for its readers to enjoy. I knew once Wil came into contact with the vigilante Black Knife that I was in store for some great chemistry. On opposing sides and wary of each other, I loved seeing a friendship and bond developed that had me crossing my fingers wanting more. I needed to know for sure who was behind the mask. I guessed early on but completely enjoy watching Wil's interaction with him before the big reveal.

The Ending - An Epic Cliffhanger

The Orphan Queen reaches a crescendo, lifting readers up into some major surprise twists and heart-rendering feels before we can close the last page looking immediately for the next installment. I enjoyed every moment, even that bittersweet and tortuous ending!
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