Reviewed by: Krista
Rating (out of 5): 3 stars
Ten years ago the Indigo Kingdom conquered the kingdom of Aecor. In one bloody night they killed the royal family and outlawed magic. Magic and its toxic byproduct Wraith is slowing creeping upon all the civilized nations and leaving only wreckage in its path.
Princess Wilhelmina Korte is living among a band of thieves and forgers, plotting and planning for the day when she can free her kingdom. She is also hiding a secret that could make her disappear without a trace: She can do magic. Anyone who does magic, even in self defense, finds themselves apprehended by the vigilante The Black Knife and delivered to their deaths.
So I picked up The Orphan Queen because of the books it was compared to, like Graceling by Kristin Cashore and Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I am always for a new strong female protagonist. And Princess Wilhelmina Korte doesn’t disappoint. She is determined that her kingdom and people be freed. Not only from the Indigo Kingdom, but also from the Wraith. What is the point of freeing Aecor from its oppressors to have it destroyed by the Wraith? She is not arrogant or pigheaded, instead she is determined and analytical. She is almost too perfect. Every decision she makes, which could at first seem foolhardy, turns out to have been for the best. She makes those around her reevaluate their actions, but little of their choices impact her.
There is a lot of plot points and action going on in The Orphan Queen, but I wanted to delve deeper into these plot points but the depth just wasn’t there. At times I felt as if I only had a loose grasp of what was going on. The relationships between the characters, especially Wil and the Black Knife, were engaging and enticing, but I didn’t think I got the level of the connection they were supposed to have.
With all of that, I found The Orphan Queen to be a quick, enjoyable read with lots of potential when the sequel rolls around. Hopefully they will get some of the plot lines ironed out and build on the solid foundation this first novel has laid out. I definitely recommend this book for fans of a strong female in a fantasy setting.
Sexual content: kissing