Friday, March 6, 2015

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows *Blog Tour*

Today is my stop on the Canadian Blog Tour for The Orphan Queen. If you missed the other stops on the tour be sure to catch up on them for lots of awesome content and reviews!

March 2 - Emilie @ Emilie's Book World
March 3 - Sabrina @ Hiver Et Cafe
March 5 - Jessica @ Bookish Serendipity 
March 6 - Kathy @ A Glass Of Wine

March 9 - Amanda @ Stuck In Y.A. Books
March 10 - Jess  @ Read My Breath Away
March 11 - Christa @ More Than Just Magic
March 12 - Kelsey @ Kelsey's Cluttered Bookshelf
March 13 - Ciara @ Lost At Midnight Reviews

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Release Date - March 10, 2015
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 400 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.
Fantasy that allows it's character to be a central focus along with the world building and development are always my favourite. These novels tend to enchant and mesmerise while making you feel something. Jodi Meadows' The Orphan Queen hits that sweet spot of balancing character and magic; emotion and world building.

The courtly intrigue found within these pages offers the perfect backdrop to Wilhelmina's story. It's filled with all the drama one might expect from a royal court. It's structure allows for an environment rich with gossip and backstabbing. While it's a muted court due to the circumstances, it's no less satisfying with dances, and finery.

The secondary characters are as intriguing as Wilhelmina. The most intriguing is perhaps Black Knife. A masked vigilante whose true identity is a secret. He's a real threat to Wilhelmina and her Ospreys, but he is not irredeemable. He's a 'bad boy' who isn't psychotic like the current flavour seems to be. The reasons behind what he does make complete sense, and offers a very different perspective on him once the truth is revealed. His character is the one I am most excited to follow forward on this journey because his world shifts and changes as a result of events in this novel.

The other characters are just as wonderfully crafted. There are the Ospreys themselves, the group of young and tough orphans that will pull at your heartstrings. The aloof, sour tempered but polite prince, Tobiah. The flirty, and accommodating guard, James. Wilhelmina's friend Melanie, and Patrick the leader of the Ospreys. You will come to love and care about these characters. The characters, for me, made the story with the world building complimenting them.

Wilhelmia has to learn some truths about her family, and the events that lead to her being an orphan. This leads to her questioning everything, including the price of magic. Her development is slow, but ultimately will be rewarding as she, and other characters, learn that nothing is black and white. Plenty of these characters are having their viewpoints tested and twisted and that can only lead to rich character development.

As much as I loved the characters, and elements of the world building, I am not sure that I am completely sold on the magic just yet. It does seem like we are only just beginning to discover the secrets behind this magic, and that makes it feel less developed than the other elements. It is a minor thing however that didn't impact my over-all enjoyment of the novel. I am eager to discover more as the next instalments look to expand on the world and it's magic.

The romance is not something I want to say too much about as there are a few potential romantic interests explored throughout the novel, and saying too much would be a spoiler.  It's a well done romance, with plenty of tension between Wilhelmina and the guy. So much that it leaps off the pages. There are lots of sparks and that is because you care about all the characters and therefore you become invested in journeys.

The ending of the book will leave you both a little in awe and incredibly angry at Jodi for the killer ending, and the immediate need for the second novel in the series. It's one that I personally have a love/hate relationship with and I cannot wait to see the aftermath of the events that close out the novel.

A delicious blend of magic, romance, and resilience. A heroine who is immediately engaging and a 'bad boy' who melts your heart along with the hearts of the other characters. Fans of fantasy novels that read a little like a contemporary one will devour this and bemoan the wait for more of this dangerous and delightful world.

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