Review: The Impostor Queen (The Impostor Queen #1) by Sarah Fine10:00
Series: The Impostor Queen #1
Author: Sarah Fine
Published January 5th 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
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.
I've never read anything by Sarah before (though I do have a copy of Of Metal and Wishes), and after seeing all the glowing reviews for The Impostor Queen, I decided to treat myself after Christmas and buy a copy. It was wonderful to read to relax in between a mass of revision for my university exams.
The Impostor Queen is about Elli, who is heir apparent to the throne of Kupari. She is preparing to learn under her queen, the Valtia, the art of magic, to protect her home from the ravages of dreadful winters, and from impeding invasions. Unfortunately, her mentor dies unexpectedly, and she's expected to ascend to the throne. The magic of the Valtia should be flowing through her veins from the moment her predecessor died, but it's not manifesting. She's faced with the realisation that she could be the downfall of the Kupari nation, and so are the Elders.
When it becomes evident that they are planning on killing her, in the hopes that a new Valtia will manifest, with powers, she escapes and is found by an exile. At first, she is basically useless - having had no skills at all, due to her upbringing intending for her to be a puppet queen. Over time, Elli grows into a truly fantastic character, losing all of her naivete, and realising her destiny may not be to be queen, but she can still exact change as she is.
The world building of this book is one of the best I've ever seen. Fine has constructed an amazing fantasy world, full of intrigue, and deception, with a bit of magic thrown in. It wasn't overly complicated in the geography, like many a fantasy novel I've read in the past - the map was just a nice addition, not something necessary to understand how the book worked.
There was a nice bit of romance, and it didn't feel forced or out of nowhere. I liked the smooth progression to friendship, and then to love. Oskar and Elli and a rough beginning, and were hit from angst at different intervals, but the way they were left at the end was just what I wanted. I'm really looking forward to seeing how they are in book 2!
The Impostor Queen was a perfect fantasy novel. Not too similar to any others, and had a nice pacing to the plot. Fine's writing was spectacular, and I'll definitely be picking up Of Metal and Wishes when I have a gap in my TBR. If fantasy books are your kind of thing, and you haven't picked up this book, I'd definitely recommend you get a copy when you can!