Friday, April 1, 2016

#Friday Review - The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows (YA Fantasy)

Series: The Orphan Queen # 2
Format: E-Galley, 544 pages
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.
HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right. 
HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.
HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.
In this stunning conclusion to THE ORPHAN QUEEN, Jodi Meadows follows Wilhelmina’s breathtaking and brave journey from orphaned criminal on the streets to magic-wielding queen

The Mirror King, by author Jodi Meadows, is the second installment in The Orphan Queen series. The story picks up exactly where The Orphan Queen left off with its devastating cliffhanger ending. Crown Prince Tobiah has been fatally wounded by Patrick Lien, Princess Wilhelmina Korte's identity as the heir to the Vermilion Crown has been revealed after she saved Skyvale from the wraith, and people believe that she is the notorious Black Knife. But, that's just the tip of the iceberg.  

Her magic may have temporarily saved Skyvale, but it also created a living wraith-boy who Wil has to watch over with a keen eye. Wraith-boy seems to have a mind all his own, and does some pretty horrific things believing he is helping Wil. But, in the end, I think you can excuse him for some of his actions since I really do believe he genuinely wanted the best for Wil. On another front, her Osprey's, those who were high born and taken as children during the One-Night War, have divided. 

Half (Theresa, Connor, Karl, and Kevin) have stayed with her, while Wil's best friend Melanie, Paige, Oscar, and Ronald chose to go with Patrick Lien who tried to assassinate Crown Prince Tobiah Pierce. The same Patrick Lien who is killing in her name, and has made it is goal to go to war with the Indigo Kingdom. The same Patrick who honestly believes that his actions will make him a good king to Wilhelmina's queen. 

Whatever choices Wil decides on, people are going to have their feelings hurt. Her love life isn't exactly going along swimmingly either. She is in love with the person she knows as the Black Knife, even though there are some who believe she is the masked savior. The same boy she saved when they were children. The same man who is now betrothed to marry Meredith Corcoran who has become a friend to Wilhelmina after everything that has happened. 

One of the more fascinating aspects of this story is how Meadows gets inside Wil's head as she is struggling with major decisions. Should she continue to be allied with Tobiah when her own kingdom is being ruled a despot? Even though she is the daughter of the murdered former King and Queen, does she have what it takes to unite her people, and stop an all out war between Patrick, and Prince Colin, the overseer of the Aecorians? Will her magic help save her kingdom, or will it to fall to the wraith?

As for the romance, there are so many things to say about it that I worry I may spoil something. We know these two characters and have come to love them almost from the start. We know they are both required to be leaders of separate nations and whether or not that alliance stays true, depends on all sorts of outside interference's including an approaching wraith that is threatening Tobiah's kingdom

While Tobiah and Wil definitely are good together, I can't think of off the top of my head any other couple who has had to deal with so much trauma and loss. I am glad that Meadows choose to key on the struggles that each character experiences rather than just say, go away to anyone else who may have been in the way. 

Other things I liked: I adored the Osprey's minus Patrick. I loved that Melanie and Wil are able to stay best friends regardless of the former's previous actions in following Patrick. I loved Theresa and Connor as well. I adore James Raynor, Captain of Tobiah's guard, best friend, and cousin. There is almost nothing that James does that I can say I didn't like. James is an honest, and caring, and I believe that he is a friend to Wilhelmina as well as Tobiah. 

I really enjoyed this story, the action, the intensity, and the mystery right until I got to the last page and realized that Meadows apparently left the series right where it ends. I dare say that it may have affected my overall rating because of it. I just don't like presuming or guessing at what happens next to these characters. I know this book is rather larger than normal YA books that I read, but I could have seen this going a bit further, or yes, maybe even another book.  

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