*I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Title: The Queen’s Rising
Author: Rebecca Ross
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
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?
Review: Wow! I’m honestly still in awe. This book is everything I didn’t know I wanted in a YA fantasy. It was way better than I could have ever imagined! I feel like this book is going to be highly underestimated. I’m still at a loss for words to describe how beautiful the writing was. The descriptive language that was used was flawless and I felt like I was reading a work of art! It’s going to be impossible to do it justice in a review because Rebecca Ross has an amazing craft and she has created such a vividly immersive world. When I was told that this book is being compared to Red Queen and Game of Thrones obviously I was all in! Rebellion? A plot to overthrow a mad king? Yes please!
The book starts off with Brienna starting at what is basically a private school so that she can master a passion. She tries and fails at each one until she ends up spending her final three years with Master Cartier in knowledge. I honestly could not get enough of Cartier! His character was swoony and underhandedly funny and so, so charming and witty. When the solstice comes, however, she finds herself without a patron and stays at the school to further master knowledge until she can find one.
As unexplainable things start happening to Brienna, a mysterious patron comes with an offer thinking she can help him. The only problem is that he will not reveal his true identity or his motives. I actually thought the idea of secret identities was clever because it kept me guessing the whole time! It made it difficult to predict where the book was going to go and who was to be trusted. Brienna suddenly becomes part of a rebellion to overthrow the King and she also discovers that her heritage is somehow the key to winning, if she can discover what it is.
There were so many shocking twists and although I had so many theories for where the book was going to end up, my predictions were completely off-base at times. It’s so hard writing this review because I’m trying to be vague while totally wanting to spoil all the awesome that happens! I also loved that it was loosely based on Irish/Scottish history as well because it made it feel so authentic. The only issue I had with this book (other than it starting off a bit slow) was that sometimes it was difficult to remember who was who and I found myself constantly looking back at the names and family trees provided. It honestly did help to have a point of referral in order not to suddenly get lost, though.
If you love a good fantasy full of magic, twists, secrets, war, and rebellion then The Queen’s Rising is definitely for you!