*I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and do not represent the publisher or author.*
The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross follows Brienna, a 17-year-old orphaned girl who is taken in by the prestigious Magnalia House to become a patron of one of the “passions” – art, dramatics, music, wit and knowledge. However, on the eve of her graduation, things do not go as planned and she is thrown into this intricate plot to restore the rightful monarchy, growing closer to her tutor and uncovering her past.
1) Politics and the World
From the blurb, I was expecting a story similar to Divergent – the protagonist is expected to fit into a certain faction, or in this case, “passion”, and their world is changed when they realise that they cannot. And while there were elements of this in the book, the plot was far more preoccupied with the political intrigues of the kingdoms and I do commend it for that! This political intrigue makes up the entirety of the plot, and it was complex with sudden plot twists, and the way it was interconnected with this beautifully written French inspired fantastical world was enjoyable to read. The history of the families and the world were also deeply interesting and well explained.
However, apart from that, everything else in this book really fell short.
1) Another Mary Sue
I think the reason why I struggled with this book was because there was no hook to motivate me to read it. Even though the political intrigue was enticing, it did not matter because there was nothing that made me care for any of the characters. Brienna was such a stereotypical YA protagonist, by the end, it was almost painful to read. She had no depth whatsoever – nothing interesting about her that made me want to hear her story in particular. Unfortunately, that is the case with a lot of YA fantasy books nowadays (it is almost as if people are scared to write characters that push the boundaries) and it was such a shame that this book fell victim to that because this was probably the main reason why I could not care for this book.
2) Dialogue and Relationships
While the descriptions and world building were beautiful, the dialogue was incredible lacking particularly between Brienna and her friends, which was such a shame because relationships between family and female friends was an important theme of the book. I did like that romance was not a large part of the plot or the character development, however, in the moments where it was present, it made me feel incredibly uncomfortable. I get that the whole student/teacher relationships are a common fantasy among a lot of people, but is this really something that should be present in a teenage book???
3) Nit-picky Things
The overall pace of the story was a lot slower than it should have been, and I believe that it very much had to do with the dialogue and the (quite frankly) boring character. I did feel that the ending was a nice and neat close to the story, and it structurally does well as a stand-alone book, but it did not make me want to find out more about the plot because it had come to such a solid end. I also feel like I should mention that including a family tree with spoilers at the start of the book confuses me so much! Who thought it was a good idea to do that haha?!
I gave The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross…
I tossed between giving it a 2-star rating or a 3-star rating, but I decided to give it a solid 3 stars because I do believe that while I personally struggled to find interest in this book, I can see how this book could be enjoyable to new and younger readers of YA fantasy. Still, for it to live up to the hype surrounding it and even to the beautiful cover, it needed to have an interesting character to match the interesting world! I understand that it can sometimes be difficult coming up with original and interesting characters, but at the end of the day, that is what separates good books from average books, and unfortunately, The Queen’s Rising did not rise to its potential.
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you thought about this book in the comments! 🙂