The Impostor Queen – Sarah Fine – Margaret K. McElderry Books – Published 5 January 2016
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.
A solid fantasy, The Impostor Queens brings together a balance of magic, romance and action.
When Elli was just four years old she was chosen to be the Saadella, the girl who would become queen when the current Valtia died, taking on the queen’s power, a balance of ice and fire magic. But when the Valtia dies, the magic does not rush into Elli like it should. The priests are desperate for a ruler and threaten Elli’s very existence in their efforts to make her magic manifest. Scared, Elli runs, leaving the opulence of the temple for the harsh reality of life outside the city. Rescued by a hunter, Oskar, Elli is taken to live with the bandits in the outlands. There she finally learns more about her powers, or lack of them, and her role in righting the wrongs that have so long been allowed to occur.
It is easy to tell from the first few chapters how this book is generally going to play out, who is going to be the bad guys and how they are going to take power. Elli has a lot to learn. When the book starts she is a pampered and childish girl, secluded from the world. But for all her naivety, she isn’t stupid, asking questions and seeking to know more about the magic, where it comes from and why. I had to drag myself through the first part of the book, waiting for when she would have to flee, hoping this would either a) make things more interesting or b) give Elli the shake up to make her into a more likeable character. Fortunately it does both, as the book develops into something more complicated and far more enjoyable. Continue reading