Review: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Orphan Queen by Jodi MeadowsThe Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen #1
Published by Katherine Tegen on March 10, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

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.

Well, hot damn. Incarnate was interesting, but I wasn’t entirely sure if it was my thing. After The Orphan Queen, I’m very much tempted to go back and try Meadows’ debut series again, because this book was so much fun. Then again, take a fantasy and add a badass heroine, balls, and some banter, and Christina’s generally going to be a happy camper. I thought I would like The Orphan Queen (that’s why I requested it), but I didn’t expect to like it this much.

Wilhelmina is fucking awesome. She’s strong physically, thanks to years of training; you want her by your side if you’re battling glowmen. Wil’s also intelligent, incredibly caring, brave, and able to use magic to manipulate objects. Thankfully, Wil has flaws too, like the fact that she’s not much of a leader, even though she’s the orphaned queen of Aecor, which was taken over by the neighboring Indigo Kingdom. For all her intelligence, there also times when Wil goes on pure instinct, which can be a good or bad thing. Unlike most YA heroines, she also completely fails to notice eyes, and thus is unable to recognize a certain someone.

The Ospreys are the surviving royal orphans of Aecor, and they’re hiding out, waiting for their chance to reclaim their homeland. The queen would be the obvious choice to lead the group, but that lot falls to Patrick Lien, son of Aecor’s General. The power dynamics between Patrick and Wil were one of my favorite aspects of The Orphan Queen. They essentially represent two different philosophies of ruling, and I think it will be interesting to see what they believe by the end of the series. The little Ospreys don’t serve too much of a point in the series so far, other than allowing for some convenient infodumping as they need to be trained.

Hitting another favorite trope, Wilhelmina goes undercover as a survivor of the kingdom of Liadia, which was destroyed by Wraith (some icky evil stuff magic turns into – this is very hard to explain well, but I swear it makes sense when Jodi Meadows tells it). Throughout the course of the book, she also genderbends to go snooping around and it’s great. Undercover at the palace, she gets to go to balls and flirt with cute boys (heyyyyy James).

Meanwhile, at night, while she’s sneaking around the city planning how to reclaim her Queendom, she’s fighting and then flirting with Black Knife, this sexy young vigilante. YES PLEASE. They do excellent banter and also don’t always know if they want to kiss or kill each other. THIS WAY TO SHIP. Of course, later, there’s the spoilery stuff, which I quite like, though I’ll admit it was predictable: View Spoiler »

The world building really impressed me, since I’m a huge sucker for magic. I love the concept of the tangible wraith and it’s curious connection to magic. I’m looking forward to learning more about it in the later books. I will admit that I don’t really care that much about whether Wilhelmina gets Aecor back, but I super want to know about how the wraith will be resolved.

There were a couple of things that I found vaguely disquieting, and they’re all I can put my fingers on for what left me wanting. First, there’s this one really random scene where Undercover Wil is called to breakfast with King Terrell, and he sort of infodumps random things at her and sends her on her way. Why on earth would a king ever do this? Second and way more importantly, I’m currently not loving the development of the other female characters in the story. This is one of those cases where the other girls and women don’t seem to shine so that Wil can stand out more. I’d love to see View Spoiler »

Cliffhanger alert, guys! Book two totally comes out the day after book one, right? No? CURSES. I NEEDS THE PRECIOUS. The Orphan Queen has some flaws, but also I loved it and desperately want more. Make of that what you will.

Favorite Quote:

“What do you enjoy doing?”
Forgery? “Writing letters. Drawing.” Picking locks? “Puzzles.” Fighting? “Sewing.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gi princess bride damper on our relationship
It doesn’t hurt that this is how I pictured Black Knife.

3 responses to “Review: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows”

  1. Brigid says:

    I actually really love that her name is Wilhelmina. It’s just so odd.

    I like it when they flirt and fight the bad guy at the same time. It’s just so much fun. Maybe not the best thing to do at the moment, but it sure does make my ears and eyes perk up.

    Battling glowmen? BWAHAHAHA.

  2. I have not finished this one yet but I am loving it so far. I agree, WIlhelmina is just awesome! I have been tempted to try Incarnate, it is a kindle sale right now too but I am just not sure it is for me.
    Ashley @The Quiet Concert recently posted…Top Ten Series We Would Classify As ALL TIME FAVORITESMy Profile

  3. Dragana says:

    Incarnate seemed to me like something I would not like so I skipped it too. But The Orphan Queen – it sounds just like something I would love…
    Your review just confirms it: fucking awesome heroine, genderbending, …

    I especially like the detail that she does not notice eye color, because I do that too. Someone commented to me how my husband had most beautiful blue eyes and I was nodding and smiling and internally thinking: ‘Huh? They are blue? I thought they were grey.’ *remember to check next time I see him* 😀
    Dragana recently posted…Book Review: Rebellion by Stephanie DiazMy Profile

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