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To Play the Lady (Sevalian Chronicles, #1)
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To Play the Lady (Sevalian Chronicles #1)

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  857 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
Most girls in the Kingdom of Sevalia would be thrilled to receive an invitation to become the first Queen’s Lady without noble blood, but for tomboy Jenna Mallory, it was her worst nightmare. She would need to overcome not only her lack of social status, but her mixed heritage. Jenna received the invitation because her father was a wealthy merchant, but since her mother wa ...more
Kindle Edition, 476 pages
Published September 11th 2011 by Naomi Lane
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(showing 1-30)
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Gail Carriger
May 04, 2016 Gail Carriger rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy
There is something about this book that I really love and it's incredibly hard to articulate. It has an innocence about it, not only in the story but in the prose style. Perhaps nostalgia is a better word? It pulls at exactly the same strings in my psyche as Pierce's Alanna books. It has similar flaws, too. (At this point in my writing career, I can recognize that a series I'm incredibly passionate about - like Song of the Lioness - has flaws from an author perspective.) For example, Lane uses a ...more
Mar 30, 2012 Claire rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody
Shelves: one-star
I wanted to like this book, I really did. I mean, who goes into a story thinking it'll be complete waste of time? I don't like writing harsh reviews, but even after taking a lot of time to cool off I just can't find any redeeming merit in this work of fiction.

My first complaint is that Ms. Lane can't seem to decide exactly who she's writing for. The tale reads very much like a young adult novel; it tackles issues relating to growing up, relationships, and finding one's place in the world. There
Khanh (the meanie)
Jan 12, 2013 Khanh (the meanie) rated it did not like it
The premise was so promising, and I really wanted to like this book, but ultimately it fell flat for me.

Jenna Mallory and her brother Peter are sent to the palace, he to train to be a knight, she to be one of the queen's lady in waiting. She has to hide her magic, but does so halfheartedly, using it whenever she wants. Supposedly using magic will get her into trouble, because only those of noble blood are supposed to be able to have magical abilities, but aside from some raised eyebrows, nobody
Melissa Wullur
Apr 09, 2012 Melissa Wullur rated it it was ok
I was tempted to give it a lower rating, but my conscience got the better of me. To be fair, the book had a good concept, an interesting world setting and, in my honest opinion, a lot of potential. So what was wrong with it?

Some reviewers mentioned that the main character was too young. I TOTALLY agree. The romance is too "heavy" (read: sexual) and unrealistic for an innocent 13 year old.

The deal breaker for me, though, was the irksome, bordering-on-repulsive Mary Sueness of the main character
Kirsty (Amethyst Bookwyrm)
Jenna never wanted to be a queen’s lady at the castle of Sevalia, as she is a tomboy and the first commoner to serve the queen. Jenna is hoping to have a quiet life at court but this is dashed when her two unique magical abilities are discovered. With a powerful dark mage who seems to have a sinister interest in Jenna, she will have to use all of her wits and magic to survive.

To Play the Lady is a likeable YA fantasy novel which has enjoyable story full of plot twists, some I saw coming, intere
Oct 14, 2014 Nicole rated it really liked it
This is a review of my second read through.

As I have read this twice, this should show that I enjoy the book.

To Play the Lady is a fun, light read with most of my favorite elements: kick-ass awesome female lead, magic, fighting, some court drama, and even an evil mage. (The only thing it's missing is a dragon) It strongly reminds me of Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce (Author) (girl with strong magic, magical sword, awesome at fighting, and even a prince romance) mixed with the typi
Elisabeth Waters
Nov 01, 2011 Elisabeth Waters rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This is a good book, but it suffers from being self-published. If it had been properly edited, it could have been a great book. As it is, it suffers from errors in grammar, character motivations that leave me wincing, and an unfortunate amount of telling instead of showing. It has a likable protagonist and some interesting plot twists, but it could have been a much better book if somebody had stood over the author and made her do another draft.
Jan 08, 2012 April rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Good fantasy, excellent characters and some fun and interesting magic. Will keep an eye out for the sequel.
Dec 24, 2011 LadyTechie rated it it was amazing
I totally loved this book! I have only read a handful of high fantasy and almost all of them have been in the last year or so. The reason I have not been able to read high fantasy before is that I had an aversion to author-developed worlds, hence my preference for urban fantasy which is also not something I have always read. Previous to my introduction to urban fantasies I was strictly mysteries and thrillers and that period was the longest for me in my reading history. I have to see something i ...more
May 24, 2013 Cindy rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: NO ONE!!
Shelves: series, fantasy-teen, 2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 02, 2013 Laila rated it it was amazing
Shelves: standout-books
For the price, I thought the book was wonderful. It's not too dark or overfilled with intrigue. The author manages a balance between the two that is engrossing enough that you breeze through the book.
The main character, Jenna Mallory, lives in a world that is complex yet fits the book perfectly. As Jenna is merely a child, she stays primarily in the area of Sevalia, but there are other lands beyond that which I hope she will explore as she grows in the sequel (please come out soon!). 
What I enjo
Apr 03, 2013 Meghan rated it liked it
This was weird... But in a good way? See the main character was really young. Like 12 at the beginning. Some of the things she stumbles across at court are definitely not of the tween friendly variety. Which makes sense, because everybody knows royals and their fiends are super weird. Ok. I'm still with the book at this point. Then it was all- whoa- that's nasty. And hey-oh did they just go there? Yes they did. So then we are firmly in the not tween appropriate box. I find myself thinking "where ...more
Emily H.
Nov 13, 2012 Emily H. rated it really liked it
Secrets, Lies, and Magic. The only thing that could send two kingdoms’ into war and tear the countries apart. Could the only commoner of the Queen’s Lady save the kingdom?

In the Kingdom of Sevalia, tomboy Jenna Mallory wanted to be anywhere but at the castle of Sevalia. One would think that being a Queen’s Lady would be a thrill of a lifetime. For commoner Jenna, life at the castle is anything but ordinary. Not only from her dark skin, but the fact that she has very powerful magical strength. Th
Jan 19, 2013 Emmanuelle rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book. It's very well written and is say it would be appropriate to any teen over 12-13. It reminded me very much of books I read as a child by Tamora Pierce. If you liked this book, you'll like her series also. The character was believable in her struggle to understand who she is and what magic she possesses. She struggles also with external influences; various people keep telling her what she should or shouldn't say or who she should or shouldn't trust. You wonder at the ...more
Jenny Schwartzberg
May 11, 2012 Jenny Schwartzberg rated it liked it
I read this book on someone's recommendation, and to my surprise I couldn't stop reading it. It is self-published and it reads like it needed a good editor and more revisions. However, I liked the heroine, Jenna and her adventures. She may be too much of a Mary Sue figure, but she has a real relationship with her brother, with squabbles and arguments. She trips over her own feet, causes scandals, and is honest about her failings. Her teacher is a powerful mage, but he's kind, makes mistakes, and ...more
Apr 14, 2012 10lees rated it really liked it
This is my favorite type of book - an action/adventure featuring a young female lead. It is a little reminiscent of Tamora Pierce or Maria Snyder’s Poison Study, though I would say the flow of writing in this novel is superior to either. The plotting does seem a bit choppy in places and I would not say the character develops as much as she could, however I would expect changes over the course of a series not over one novel.

Overall it’s a great first novel (and I have a suspicion it’s self-publis
Anna Neal
Sep 12, 2011 Anna Neal rated it it was amazing
I am no stranger to girly fantasy, and neither is Naomi Lane. She weaves a web of delightful fantasy in "To Play the Lady" that will leave you yearning for the next installment.

Jenna's adventures in this book had me turning the pages extremely quickly. By the end, everything seems to be set up of an even bigger adventure to come. The characters are left in a place that really will change the layout of the next book. This book definitely seems like the younger sibling; the setup for greater thin
Jun 13, 2012 Chuck rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Most independently published books are sub-par. To Play the Lady was well written. I ma glad the author took the time to write it and put in the effort to publish it. The style moves quickly, but with time to enjoy each chapter. I enjoy the personality of the main character, also the story moves along nicely as she discovers her abilities. The book deals with the issue of not fitting in and learning to value yourself for your unique gifts and abilities. Well written w ...more
Apr 19, 2012 Lea rated it did not like it
Shelves: high-fantasy

This was incredibly disappointing. A story about a one-dimensional girl who not only gets everything she wants and doesn't learn anything, but has no personality to speak of. The premise - of a commoner lady going to train as a noble lady in the royal court, and learning magic, fighting arts and becoming a woman at the same time - is solid. The prose is well-written. But the story itself falls flat. Every thing is predictable, not one character struggles towards their goals, and I left annoyed
Jan 16, 2012 Opal rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
This is a rich coming of age fantasy novel. There is plenty of magic but there is a lot of her development that I considered very touching and sweet. Nothing too saccharine sweet though. There’s even a budding romance.

Jenna is an extremely likable character that is well-developed.

...Read more of my review at The Akamai Reader...
May 28, 2013 Alyssa rated it it was amazing
I happened to stumble across this book on Amazon and loved it!!!!!! I could not put it down and stayed up until I had finished the whole thing! Needless to say I was exhausted the next day but it was well worth it :) I am eagerly awaiting the sequel and can't wait to escape back into Jenna's world!!!!
Dec 11, 2011 Lorena rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ebook
This was very enjoyable. Fans of Tamora Pierce and Sherwood Smith will especially like it. A young woman (a "commoner," but from a wealthy family) goes to become a Queen's Lady at court. Stuff happens. (Clearly I need to work on review writing...)
Jan 01, 2012 Dan rated it liked it
Shelves: signal, indie
Wish fulfillment novel. Thirteen-year-old girl is awesome at everything and everybody loves her.

I understand that people do in fact go on dates and have hot makeout sessions even when they are way underage. But I'd be happier if the book had not contained that particular story-arc.
Sep 12, 2011 Laurel rated it it was amazing
Can't wait to read the next one!
David Kinney
Dec 07, 2011 David Kinney rated it it was amazing
My only complaint is that it is a bit too much like Tamora Pierce's Lioness series. So basically the book is amazing and reminds me of one of my favorite series in the genre.
Andy Marsh
Apr 27, 2012 Andy Marsh rated it it was amazing
This book is really good. You should read it if you like horses, or magic, or magical horses, or breathing.
Mar 30, 2013 Carol rated it it was ok
I got offered a free or 99-cent deal on this as a Kindle download, so I rolled the dice. (In retrospect, I hope it was a free download.) I thought the premise of the book had promise: a young woman is sent to be trained as a lady-in-waiting to the queen, even though she is not of noble birth. She is something of a tomboy, for example, preferring to ride astride rather than sidesaddle and more interested in learning how to use a sword than do needlework. This book is presented as a YA fantasy boo ...more
Nov 14, 2013 Sandra rated it did not like it
Oh Jesus.

Clearly this is aimed at a youthful audience but holy crap the writing is juvenile, ok maybe some middle schoolers aren't ready for Chaucer but they also aren't braindead. Jenna smiled, Jenna grinned, Jenna felt happy, Jenna nodded, Jenna blushed I don't think there is a single simile or metaphor in the entire book and barely any adjectives (and when adjectives actually ARE used it's only to describe someone's physical appearance).

Jenna is the WORST kind of Mary-Sue. And this is comin
Jan 16, 2012 Tiffany rated it really liked it
Shelves: heroines, magic
Overview: This book was entertaining and reminded me a bit of some of the Tamora Pierce Lioness and Protector of the Small series books that are out there. For I thought for it's low kindle price it was worthwhile and I will plan on reading the sequel when it is released.

Things I enjoyed:
1 - I like the combination of the two types of magic combined with Jenna's athleticism I thought that was nice.
2 - This book was like comfort food. You knew when you picked it up the general direction the story
Aug 30, 2014 Joyce rated it it was amazing
Unlike her sister Ana, Jenna isn't exactly happy when she discovers that she is to be the first ever Queen's Lady that was a commoner before. Different from most girls, Jenna's friends are mostly boys and she isn't lady-like. However, she has no choice whether or not she wants to go to the palace and serve the Queen. There, Jenna starts using her magic again, first to communicate with the horses there, and eventually healing Prince Sebastian when he is mortally wounded. Jenna is allowed in the T ...more
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Gail Carriger Fan...: April 2016: To Play the Lady by Naomi Lane 4 25 Apr 26, 2016 07:25AM  
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When not daydreaming about fantasy worlds Naomi works as an energy consultant in downtown Boston. She also lives in Boston with her husband and their two cats.

She's been daydreaming up silly stories for as long as she can remember, and one day, she thought it would be fun to write some of them down. After finishing the first story, she then wanted to be able to share it with her friends and family
More about Naomi Lane...

Other Books in the Series

Sevalian Chronicles (2 books)
  • To Serve the King (Sevalian Chronicles, #2)

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