The Impostor Queen
Author: Sarah Fine
Series: The Impostor Queen #1
Genre: YA, fantasy, romance
Pub Date: January 5th, 2016
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
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 Impostor Queen was a book I had heard barely nothing about before its release date. January 5th was filled to the brim with new releases, so it was easy to glance over it at first. However, once I stopped and took the time to read the synopsis, I knew that I had to read this book. Sometimes, I decide whether or not to read books based on reviews, but this time, I thought, what the heck and picked it up on a whim. I’m so glad I did, because this book was spectacular.
When I read my (soon to be) favorite books, I usually tear through them, desperate to find out what happens at the end. With The Impostor Queen though, it was different. I took my time with the story, savoring every little bit of it. I loved learning about the Valtia and the Saadella, watching Elli adapt to her new life, and seeing the relationship threads between characters grow and twist and break. Even if you think this sounds like a typical fantasy, I promise you, it’s more than that. There are so many layers to this story, and each and every one of them is fascinating.
The pacing was slower than most books, but I liked it because it felt suited to the story. A lot of the book deals with Elli’s character development, so it’s better to be slower than faster, in this case. That doesn’t mean The Impostor Queen lacks action though; when the magic comes out to play, it seems like everything comes to life within the story. The author knows how write any type of scene, whether it’s an action scene filled with magic or a slower, relationship building scene between two characters.
Oh, the characters. God, I loved them. The main character, Elli, is unlike any character I’ve ever read about. She’s born into a life of privilege, but when she’s forced to flee or be killed, you see her start to change almost immediately. Her character development was phenomenal–she didn’t go from a helpless princess to a fierce warrior overnight; instead, she slowly learns how to do simple tasks and ends up becoming a capable, practically normal person. I loved that the reason she was special was because she lacked special skills (or any skills at first, really). Another character I absolutely loved was Oskar. He’s different from a lot of other male characters I’ve read about too. He’s strong and he puts his family first and he’ saves random girls he finds dying in the woods. Besides those two, I thought all of the other characters were all very interesting and well developed. The only thing I’m a little irked about is my inability to pronounce some of the names, but that’s my own fault, not the author’s.
One of my favorite things about the book was the romance. The main romance of the story was heterosexual, but Elli is bisexual. I think it’s so amazing and great that even in fantasy, there can still be queer characters. It wasn’t one of those times where it was just randomly mentioned and never brought up again, either; Elli is clearly in love with a girl when you first start the story. It’s not the main romance, but it never just goes away. As for the main romance, I loved their chemistry and how it was more of a slowburn than anything else. They took the time to get to know each other, trust each other, and I adored that. Also–no instalove at all! Hooray!
The writing style was the thing that originally drew me in. It felt like I was a child again, and I was reading about magical kingdoms and princesses. It read like a storybook. I absolutely loved the writing, and it only added to the magical feel of the story.
Overall, I absolutely loved The Impostor Queen. It was an exciting story filled with original, lovable characters, intricate relationships and exciting magic and history at every turn. Everyone should read this story, because it has something for everyone. Diversity? ✔. Romance? ✔. Magic? ✔ . Female characters who are strong without having to kick ass? ✔✔✔✔. Really, what are you waiting for? Go read this book now!