The Queen’s Rising – Rebecca Ross – The Queen’s Rising #1 – HarperTeen – Published 6 February 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.
The Queen’s Rising is a gorgeous fantasy, spectacularly crafted, imaginative, unique and so deliciously easy to be swept up in. It came as a complete surprise and I loved every minute of it.
For seven years, Brienna has struggled to master a passion – music, art, whit, drama and finally knowledge. On the eve of her seventeenth solstice, Brienna will have to prove she has the right to become a Passion and earn a patron. When her fears of failing are realised, she is granted reprieve when a lord agrees to become her patron father. But he seems less interested in her knowledge passion than he is in her new and volatile ability to flash back hundreds of years ago, to a time when the realm to the north was rightfully ruled by a queen. Brienna must decide if she is to become entangled in a plot to over throw a king, and if it is worth the risk to discover more about her secret paternal heritage.
I first heard of The Queen’s Rising when one of my high school book club members pronounced her undying love for it -almost toppling Harry Potter from its seat as her most favourite book. She vowed to never return it to the library and continue to re-read it forever, so when I saw it sitting on the library shelf I impulsively grabbed it for my holiday reading -before someone else could abscond with it. A week later, unsure what reading mood I was in and not sure what book to read next, I once again picked up The Queen’s Rising, just to read the first few pages. Two hours later I was halfway through and loath to put it down, despite desperately needing sleep. I finished the book the next morning and I adored every glorious moment. This book hooked me, reeled me in and had me cooking over a fire before I even saw the bait. I never expected to love this book, much less adore it as I do. I now desperately wait for book two – which I won’t be able to get my hands on soon enough.
A word of warning. When I was halfway through the novel, I went to put book two on my to-read list and read the synopsis. It contains a big spoiler for a massive twist in the book. My mind was literally blown. I had to re-read the synopsis at least four times to let it sink in. And then I spent the next few moments freaking out! And while I enjoyed the twist just as much coming from the spoiler synopsis as I would have reading it in the book, if you don’t like spoilers stay well clear of reviews and summaries for book two before finishing book one. Also, skip the family trees at the beginning. You don’t need to know!!!
There is so much to love about this achingly stunning book. The romance, the friendship that feels more like a bond of sisters, Bri’s desire to belong to a family and the sacrifices she must make, the simmering threads of tension and mystery and the twists I didn’t see coming but loved. Brienna is a strong character and I loved her determination – first to master a passion and then to fight for what she believes in.
Initially, I didn’t think I would love the focus on Brienna’s study’s or the Passion process. But like so much of this book, it surprised me by playing an interesting and integral part in the story. What might seem a slow beginning – there is little action – relies instead on intrigue and and compelling characters to capture the reader’s attention. Due to the time setting (1566) and the focus on history, The Queen’s Rising has a wonderful historical feel.
But my favourite thing about The Queen’s Rising (aside from the twists, characters, plot and basically everything?) is the romance!!! Move over Valek, I think I’ve found a new favourite leading man. The romance leaps off the page. Argh, the agony of the wait and the sacrifice.
I actually read the HarperCollins Australia edition, but I’ve posted this review under the US edition cover, as I much prefer it to the Australian cover. What do you think? Which do you prefer?
Once again, I do not have words adequate to convey my love of this incredible book. I can only beg you to give it a chance. It might surprise and delight you, much like it did me and I am so very glad that I had the chance to read and enjoy this beautiful fantasy.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Magic, knowledge, history, learning, friendship, belonging, family, royalty, rebellion, music, art, teaching, romance, relationships.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up. (Publishers list it as 14 and up).
Advisory: Violence – descriptions of beheading, injury, bloodshed, murder and fighting. Vague sexual references to ‘taking you for their pleasure’ and discussion of ‘illegitimate’ birthrights.
Published: 6 February 2018 by Harper Teen.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 464 pages.