Title: The Queen’s Rising
Author: Rebecca Ross
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Date of Publication: 6th February, 2018
Page Count: 464 pages (hardcover edition)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
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.
With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?
It’s only February, but The Queen’s Rising is already a contender for favorite read of the year! This book was an amazing nostalgic return to my youth – I used to binge on high fantasy that had inspiring female protagonists (most from modest backgrounds), journeys to defeat a corrupt ruler or great evil and perhaps a hint (or more!) of mentor/protege romance.
In more recent years, I haven’t come across many books that ticked all those boxes (The Queen of Blood is closest in feel, but doesn’t feature a romance) and I feel the market is more saturated with elves and assassins and love triangles and heroines with a bad attitude who are supposedly kickass but need their love interest to save them from their own follies. In that context, The Queen’s Rising felt like chicken soup for the soul. The story didn’t reinvent the wheel, but it was a delightful remix of tropes and themes I love, so it was perfectly suited to my tastes.