Thursday, May 17, 2018

THE QUEEN'S RISING by Rebecca Ross

Rating: A
Grave Mercy meets Red Queen in this epic debut fantasy, inspired by Renaissance France, about an outcast who finds herself bound to a disgraced lord and entangled in his plot to overthrow the current king. 
Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron. Growing up in Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her. While some are born with a talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she chose knowledge. However, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—she is left without a patron. 
Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, she reluctantly accepts. But there is much more to his story, for there is a dangerous plot to overthrow the king of Maevana—the rival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.
And now, with war brewing, Brienna must choose which side she will remain loyal to: passion or blood.
My thoughts on the book:
I absolutely adored this book. The writing was superb, the character were fully-developed, and the world-building was beautiful. It's hard for me to believe that Ross is a debut author because this novel is out of this world. She didn't fall back on any "cheap tricks" in her book, everything was authentic and real and lovely. There were no love triangles or broody men to add tension; the plot had enough tension on its own. Every part of this novel stood on its own and was woven together into a beautiful story of love, loss, and bravery. I'm counting the days until book 2 in this series comes out. 
Brienna is our leading lady, and she's the type of narrator that you trust from the beginning. Her story is a sad one, but she makes the best of her life and the opportunity she received to attend Magnalia House. What I loved most about her character is she developed deep friendships. She may have never felt like she had a family, but she created her own with her arden sisters, and that is admirable. I hate when novels have girls pitted against girls. There is enough of that in real life, and we need better examples in our stories, I think. Brienna isn't perfect; she wasn't a natural passion, and it took her awhile to find her way, but she forged her own path and was brave, selfless, and loyal, and I really respected her. The people in her life were also very interesting. I loved Cartier. He was fantastic, in my opinion. A bit old for her, but this was the 1500s, so I'm trying not to judge. Meri also stood out as a really admirable character, as did Sean. I really enjoyed getting to know everyone in this novel. 
The plot was predictable at some points - I knew what the big reveals would be before they were revealed, but that didn't take away from the sense of urgency. I read enough books that it's hard to surprise me, but just because I knew what the surprises were supposed to be didn't mean that I knew how characters were going to react to them. This is where the good writing comes in: the characters were unpredictable in many ways, just like people are, and because of that, the few predictable plot points still kept me on the edge of my seat. Ross did an excellent job of not revealing what Brienna decided to do too quickly, which also kept me guessing. The world-building was extremely well done. I could picture everything clearly, and I felt that I had a good understanding of the world Brienna lived in and the rules she had to live by. The ending tied up the first story well and left room for a second novel, which I'm looking forward to. 
Overall, I'd recommend this novel to anyone who loves good high fantasy and strong female characters. It's a beautiful coming of age story, and it's inspirational. It shows that where you come from doesn't matter half as much as where you are going, and that's always a wonderful message. 

1 comment:

  1. i was sold when you mentioned the positive friendships, I absolutely love that! I have this one waiting for me to read and I really need to make time for it. Great review!


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