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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Review: The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine
Series: The Impostor Queen #1
Publication Date: January 5, 2015
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Young Adult novel
Pages: 336
Genre: Fantasy, Romance

       buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery 
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.
 *An advanced reader's copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*

The Impostor Queen was one giant, pleasant surprise. I read this book during my finals week, and rather than writing a 10 page paper you found me sitting on the couch or tucked into my bed at 2AM reading this  gem.

Fantasy/High Fantasy is the Jack of the trade this year, and while I have read many so far, and many more in the upcoming months, The Impostor Queen explored facets of character development and sexuality that I have yet to see (currently) from the rest in the barrel. Sarah Fine's writing hit all the marks that I was looking for in a strong novel, and the world-of-story was displayed vividly with the Kupari's customs and fervent need of magic. The relationships between the Valtia and Saadella was sensual and motherly, a lovely addition to the story. The ways life thrived because of the magic of ice and fire was explored through fascinating character interactions, descriptions by Elli, and information woven in throughout the history of this world. I loved reading every moment and idea behind the magic in this story. I find that I've become hindered when reading a novel because of my apt for seeing the predictability of the story line, but The Impostor Queen really kicked me in the butt this time. While I thought I knew what was going to happen next, Sarah Fine is a master of leaving a trail of breadcrumbs, letting you think you know where you're going, and at the last second just swooping down with a falcon of a twist to throw you off the trail. I was utterly fascinated with the world at large and the conflict at hand, and happy that I couldn't guess what came next.

While Elli proved her strength both through agonizing torture to claim magic she does not possess, bare horrid bodily mutilations, and struggle to find a family in a group of outsiders, she does suffer quite a few intellectual flaws. Elli does take on a headstrong, careless will that does not bode well for her, as seen through her immediate actions outside of the temple and the city. As if losing a few fingers is not so bad, Elli suffers from believing in the world around here, rather than being cautious. I would have expected from the time she spent outside of her lavish home, and the fact that her life is in jeopardy to take more precedence than running back into the city filled with people trying to kill her in order to find the real Valtia and serve her, but I digress. I was also a little taken aback that Elli turns a blind eye to her feelings for Mim and moves on to Oskar which fell flat for me. I would have adored their relationship more as friends rather than lovers, and it would have strengthened Elli and the novel immensely, I believe.

All in all, the mythology and knowledge of this novel was enchanting and astounding. It was a burst of fresh air and a great novel to start off in the fantasy genre that the Young Adult market has grown wild with this season. I hope that this novel will get a remake for its cover, or at least the companion book will do better, because the cover does not do this novel justice. I am happy to say that Sarah Fine has made it onto my approved-authors list, and I cannot wait for book two to find out where and who the Valtia really is.

Four targets slayed for fire and ice