“The Queen’s Rising” by Rebecca Ross
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.
Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and 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, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.
With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?
The Queen’s Rising hits so many of my favorite fantasy elements: secret identities, brewing rebellions, strong women. What’s not to love about that? It is slow moving which can be tough to read through if you’re not used to it. I’m a fantasy fan so long, slow moving books are kind of my bread and butter.
In many ways this reads like many other YA fantasy books. It’s a different twist but still familiar. By far my favorite part is the female camaraderie and friendship. There are no mean, back-stabbing cliques in the school part of the novel. Brienna and Yseult’s friendship really shined. I loved that there wasn’t a big dramatic twist; simply love and support. Can we get more novels that have wonderful female friendships like this please??
The setting and imagery are wonderful. Ross really has a way with words. The double (sometimes triple) identities were starting to get confusing though.
Then there was the romance. On one hand, I liked the pacing of it. It was slow moving and felt totally natural. It was an afterthought to everything going on. It wasn’t their main motivation which was very refreshing. On the other hand, Cartier was her teacher so there’s a creepy, grooming aspect to the relationship that feels icky.
I also really appreciated how the book reads like a stand alone novel. The book isn’t boring and just setting up things to come in future books. It is a complete story that can stand on its own. I’m almost shocked to see it’s part of a series. I’m interested in seeing where things go from here!