Series: The Queen’s Rising #1
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?
3 Drink Me Potions
**The Queen’s Rising comes out February 6, 2018!**
Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins for this copy in exchange for an honest review
The Queen’s Rising was a refreshing take on different factions known as “passions” with a good mix of impending battles and forbidden love.
I didn’t bring too many expectations into this novel and I think that made it more enjoyable for me. We follow Brienna, a half-Maevan girl living in another neighbouring kingdom of Valenia, who just doesn’t know how to choose between the different passions. Like, girl, just make up your mind! But the system was interesting. There are 5 passions which include knowledge, music, art, wit, and dramatics. It takes 7 years of schooling to complete the training at which time you gain a passion cloak that is a symbol of prestige and completion akin to a school degree upon graduation.
Likewise, the different clans in Maevana was really cool, especially the history and timelines of certain clans. With Brienna being part Maevan, I assumed there’d be quite a bit of information about them.
While I enjoyed this world building, I felt it wasn’t ENOUGH.
First, there’re beautiful maps made of the kingdoms at the front of the book. Half the places here we never really get much information on, or barely mentioned at all during the plot. Maybe I’m just jumping the gun and they’ll appear more in later books of the series, but besides the bits about individual clans and certain city names, there’s really not much given to us in the actual book.
Second, those darn ancestry timelines! Of course since they’re at the front of the book, I looked at it. And if you were hoping for a surprise twist or whatever in the plot, especially about the identity of Brienna’s father, then don’t look at it! It totally ruins everything unless the point was that this tidbit of information wasn’t meant to be a surprise to the readers.
Third, both the passion system and the magical abilities of the Kavanaugh clan wasn’t really developed. Most of the story is focused on Maevana while the Valenian half was like a filler leading towards how Brienna could understand more of her Maevan heritage. What I don’t get is that there’s really nothing much explored with WHY the Kavanaughs are solely powerful and HOW it can go awry if used poorly. And the passion system seemed thrown in there like a last minute thought sometimes without truly developing the system such as who is allowed to passion, and what is the point of it all when you complete/waste 7 years of your life on it? Maybe these questions don’t matter to some of you, but it does for me as it gives me more of a taste of this world that they live in.
The amount of character building felt lacking to me too! With a page full of different characters at the front and their roles in the story, it just made me assume that this was necessary in order to keep track of all the people we’d meet along the way.
But no! That is not the case here. I thought the girls Brienna passioned with would play more prominent roles but most of them aren’t mentioned after a quarter into the plot. And for the ones who feature more, they just felt flat. I couldn’t understand how they could “love” each other so strongly after such a short period of time. The lengths they’d go to to sacrifice for each other was difficult to comprehend. It was nice, but hard for me to wrap my mind around.
Overall, yes, I had my issues with this book, but there were a lot of good ideas that just needed more time to flesh out more thoroughly. I enjoyed the passion system. I liked some of the characters that we do stick with, and I love the romantic interest. It’s a very slow-burn kinda romance that probably started before the timeline of the story which makes it more plausible in my opinion. It may be a bit weird for some people who don’t love the previous teacher-student relationship, but if you’re into forbidden love tropes, then this was delicious in a slow-burn way.
The ending wrapped things up nicely (maybe a bit too nicely) so I’m not sure what’s in store for the future books. However, I still think this was a good start no matter my less-than-ecstatic comments. There is a whole lot of potential for great improvement with this series and this author in the future, and I wanna be there when that happens.
The Queen’s Rising was fairly fast-paced with a unique system of passions. While the romance was a bit more subtle which normally would bug me more, I appreciated the role it played and the ability to focus more on the main plotline. However, character development and plot could’ve been better thought out but there was definitely potential in its world building. Ending on a happy note, I am curious and still interested in seeing where else this story is going.