Friday, January 8, 2016

#Friday Review - The Imposter Queen by Sarah Fine (YA, Fantasy)

Series: The Imposter Queen # 1
Format: E-ARC, 336 pages
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Margaret McElderry Books
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

The Imposter Queen is the first installment in a brand new series by one of my favorite authors Sarah Fine. Fine creates the world of Kupari, where the Queen (Valtia) of the land is imbued with both fire and ice magic that protects the country from invaders. Invaders who continue to raid her country on a regular basis. The only drawback in having such a powerful leader, is that they tend to die fairly early in life. As the series kicks off, Sixteen-year-old Elli is the successor, or Saadella to the Valtia formerly known as Sofia. 

As with all previous Queens and successors, once the Queen dies, the magic is supposed to find a new home in her successor. According to prophecy, and what the Elders have claimed. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule. Kupari Elders choose Saadella based on coppery hair, ice-blue eyes, and a blood-flame mark on the girls calf. But, when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found. The Kupari Elders aren't exactly jumping for joy over this news. 

Tortured, and treated as though she's a failure and saved by her handmaiden, Elli flees to the outlands where she faces her harshest challenges of her short, sheltered life, and meets a group of individuals who have been cast aside, and wants to see the destruction of the Temple and those inside. The Outlands isn't the place for a sheltered girl who hasn't seen the outsides of her Temple. But, much to Elli's surprise, there are also a few powerful magical users who may become her allies, or her enemies. 

I have a whole lot of respect for author Sarah Fine. I love her world building. I love her ability to create likable characters who are far from perfect. I love the villains because they hide in plain sight and don't reveal themselves until the final showdown. I loved the action, the romance between Elli, and Oskar who shines all on his own. The romance isn't in your face, or instantaneous. It is built on trust and understanding first.

Oskar is genuinely a nice guy who goes out of his way to save Elli from dying, and then stands by her side when she needs the help the most. I love Oskar's mother and sister as well. I even loved Elli's handmaiden Mim, although I was heart broken by events that surrounded her. Add in the rash and dangerous Sig, who is a fire wielder, and the story has everything you need to keep you entertained from the first page to the very last. 

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