Series: The Orphan Queen #1
Published by Harper Teen on March 10, 2015
Buy on Amazon
Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.
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.
Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.
The Orphan Queen may be the first book I’ve read by Jodi Meadows but it totally will not be my last. The Orphan Queen is a wonderful start to this new fantasy trilogy that incorporates action, adventure, magic, romance, and betrayal.
I’m going to start by stating the one and only reason The Orphan Queen didn’t get 5 stars: the beginning. It took me quite some time to get into Wil’s story. I completely understand that there is a lot of worldbuilding necessary to a new fantasy series but it did weigh down the beginning of the book. Clearly I got past that though and I truly devoured this book once I got into it.
Wil is set to be a queen but she’s far from fit to take over at the start. She knows she needs to take control of her kingdom again but she doesn’t quite know how. Also, she may be the queen but she is being told how to rule. Patrick, friend and adviser to Wil, controls almost everything she does. Before she can even consider ruling a kingdom she must learn to rule herself. Otherwise she would be a kind ruler with the best interests of her people at heart. She’s brave, smart, and wise beyond her years. She’s a supremely strong female who doesn’t need a man to rule by her side.
The rest of the characters were much more difficult to pin down. Patrick seemed sketchy at first but he had always been Wil’s close friend. Her best friend, Melanie, is also a bit sketchy. She keeps secrets from Wil and neither of them can afford to have secrets at such a crucial time. The younger Ospreys (the orphans Wil takes care of) seemed a bit undeveloped but quite sweet. They all seemed to be good people in bad circumstances. As for the prince that Wil must fool, he’s not at all what she expected and he not be the only one being fooled.
The story was captivating. Magic is forbidden because it creates Wraith which is quite quickly destroying all the kingdoms. It’s up to Wil to save her people from the Wraith but nobody knows how to stop it or even how it spreads. The Wraith really is kind of a character in The Orphan Queen. It’s a villain unlike any that I’ve read about.
The story also has a bit of mystery surrounding Black Knife, a savior of some, a villain to others. He starts as a villain to Wil but their relationship definitely changes throughout the book. As to who Black Knife is, it’s a bit obvious, at least it was to me. That didn’t really bother me though, it just made me eager for Wil to find out. Let’s just say there were a lot of double identities in The Orphan Queen.
Overall, The Orphan Queen will appeal greatly to established fantasy fans but it’s also a perfect introduction to fantasy. Be warned though, the ending will break your heart and leave it in pieces on the floor. It’s a huge cliffhanger so be prepared for a wait!
What others are saying about The Orphan Queen:
Read Breathe Relax’s review: “I was consumed by the magic and the intrigue and romance spun around with an incredible storytelling talent.”
Writing My Own Fairy Tale’s review: “It’s full of action, political intrigue, princes and princesses, runaways, secret identities, spies, magic, a little bit of romance, and a kick-ass heroine!!”