THE ORPHAN QUEEN by Jodi Meadows

Read this if you’re in the mood for: fantasy YA, world building, strong main character, magic

Summary: She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Read this if you like:
Tamora Pierce, especially the PROTECTOR OF THE SMALL and the DAUGHTER OF THE LIONESS series.
Tamora Pierce is one of the biggest names in the YA epic fantasy world. THE ORPHAN QUEEN reminds me of her work, particularly those two series, because the romance isn't straight forward and Wil has hide her true self, as well as figure out what she believes versus what she's been told she believes all her life.

POISON STUDY  by Maria V. Snyder
Both of these books handle court politics extremely well. Plus, they both take an interesting take on magic that's super interesting to see play out!

The Rec: As soon as I saw the cover I knew I had to read this book. It’s so pretty! And what’s inside that gorgeous cover didn’t let me down either. Meadows creates a world that’s easy to fall into and get absorbed by. Speaking of the world building, the world of THE ORPHAN QUEEN had a lot of unique qualities to it that I greatly enjoyed. The concept of the wraith--which is like deadly, living, magical pollution--was a great one and added tension to the story. I liked that this book had problems that weren’t just personal or political--there’s truly a lot at stake for everyone in the story, regardless what side they fall on.

My favorite part of this book, hands down, were the parts between Wil and the vigilante Black Knife. Why aren’t there more vigilantes in the book world? Not only did we get to see a bunch of awesome fight scenes, the Black Knife plot was my favorite because I thought it gave us the truest look into who Wil really was and her own personal struggles and fears. Plus, who doesn’t love a little romance?

The Caveat: This book ends on a cliffhanger, so if you hate to wait, you should read this one once the sequel comes out!

You should read this because: The world of the ORPHAN QUEEN feels like the kind of fantasy books that made me fall in love with fantasy in the first place--court politics, political intrigue, and a vigilante!

Read this book!
THE ORPHAN QUEEN by Jodi Meadows (Katherine Tegen Books, March 2015)

Recommendation by: Sara
Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in an exchange for an honest review.