This review was originally published on my blog, The Reading Fever. Head over there to see the full review.
The Orphan Queen opens with Wil and her OspThis review was originally published on my blog, The Reading Fever. Head over there to see the full review.
The Orphan Queen opens with Wil and her Ospreys, a group of teenagers who witnessed the slaughter of their parents, and the ruin of their country. That was when they were kids. Now, as teenagers, they steal to survive, live in an abandoned castle, and are plotting to take back the kingdom of Aecor and place Wil--the lost heir--on the throne. Enter Black Knife: the rogue vigilante who might be able to foil all of their careful plans.
The Orphan Queen has some great fantastical elements including some outrageous but fun monsters that make the perfect adversaries. Magic is banned because of the damage its use has done to the world...which makes things hard for our heroine, who happens to be one of those with powers. Regardless, there is a dangerous magical element growing that threatens to wipe out everything in its path. Wil is determined to stop it, even if it means putting a hold on getting her throne back.
I love so many things about this book. What makes it a five-star book for me is the combination of a few things: there is consistency in character traits an abilities, with even the supporting characters having complex personalities. I appreciate the many grey areas the characters come across, which help define them and their motives. Not everything is black-and-white, which makes for some interesting twists in story. The characters don't always do what I think they will do. Wil is also a great heroine. As she grows throughout the story we see the effect those grey areas have on her, and also the change in some of her core beliefs. She grows stronger and smarter, and better able to fulfill the role of queen that she works so hard to reclaim.
As far as downsides, there are a few areas that I felt were lacking. The story takes place over many weeks, but much of that time is skipped over in favor of focusing on a few interesting days here and there. While the need for skipping so much time is understandable, it does create the feeling that the story takes place over only a week or so, instead of many weeks.
There are also a few things that seem out of place in this medieval-like world, such as a train that is mentioned, or glass mirrors. Magic is used to explain the existence of some of these things (except the mirrors), but it is always mentioned in passing, so we never get a good idea of the exact parameters of the world's advancements and inventions.
I also think it is worth mentioning that one of the biggest secrets of the book is easily guessed in the first chapter alone. However, I still had such a fun time trying to figure out when the truth would come out in the story, and feel that it added somewhat to the already great tension.
Overall, this is a fantastic story. It got this in-a-two-year-reading-rut girl to fall in love with a story and its characters once again. I don't think there's a better recommendation than that.
Read this if: you like guessing games, espionage, broken characters, and realistic heroines.
EDIT: Please don't go into this expecting Game of Thrones. Just...no. The Batman part is right, though. :)
*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review....more
This was quite a surprise to find. I've been feeling annoyed with dystopia for the past year or so, and have not found anything I've liked in that timThis was quite a surprise to find. I've been feeling annoyed with dystopia for the past year or so, and have not found anything I've liked in that time. I don't know what made me decide to read this book when I passed on it many times in the past. Whatever it was, I'm really glad I gave it a try.
The Testing has been compared to The Hunger Games in more ways than one, and that comparison is correct. There are many similarities between the two books, not the least of which being the arena-style fight for survival. However, this is the first book that actually serves as a great fit for those craving books similar to Hunger Games. While there are similarities, this world is completely different and has enough of its own footing to keep you grounded in a very different story. While this is a great fit for those fans of HG, it definitely is not a rehash of that series.
With that said, I think the main character is written well. She's extremely smart and very determined to make it through the testing. While she has a bit of a hero complex, she also struggles with her own need to survive. The clashing if those two traits creates some great emotional conflict. The people around her are also interesting characters, complete with their own wants and needs. It's interesting to see them interact, especially during testing.
There's a good amount of conspiracy going on behind the scenes, which rounds the story out and adds some intrigue. I'm excited to see where it all takes us in the next books.
The only part I'm not buying is the love interest, who has yet to prove his brains and overall usefulness (to me, at least) in other ways than the main character just telling us. Other than that, this is one thrilling story that I can't wait to read more of!...more
This book was interesting, especially considering the fact that it was written in the late 90's, before iPods, iPhones, tablets, etc.. I was really exThis book was interesting, especially considering the fact that it was written in the late 90's, before iPods, iPhones, tablets, etc.. I was really excited to see where the author was going to take the story. It didn't end up where I thought it would, but I did like how things turned out. It was a bit anticlimactic, though, which was a huge letdown....more
I don't think I have ever read something that felt so...clinical. Until now. There is no emotion to the story; just plain stating of facts and eventsI don't think I have ever read something that felt so...clinical. Until now. There is no emotion to the story; just plain stating of facts and events surrounding the main characters. Furthermore, it's all told in third person which creates further detachment from the characters. Huge amounts of time are covered in just a sentence or two, while at other times it is unnecessarily detailed about things that don't really matter to the overall story. There are grammar errors, and even a few shifts in time.
I'm surprised at how far I got into the story (close to half way). I just kept thinking I was reading a prologue full of back story, and that the real story would start soon. I eventually had to put it down so I could find something else to read.
The Shadow Society is equal parts cliche and original. However, it works well in a slightly kitchy sorty of way.
There are some parts that don't makeThe Shadow Society is equal parts cliche and original. However, it works well in a slightly kitchy sorty of way.
There are some parts that don't make sense. At one point a motorcycle is described as amazingly quiet, and is then described as very loud a few pages over. A highly-trained military-type person who is vital to the plot is really sucky at espionage. There are also some pretty cool machines and devices, the mechanics of which are never described, so the reader is just supposed to accept them at face value.
Despite this, I did enjoy most of the characters (even though they appear only when required for the story to progress), and the overall story. I absolutely love that it is a standalone novel. There are three distinct times when the story seems to shift, and they are areas where the book could have been split, but I like that the story isn't completely drawn out.
Most notably is that there is a poem that seems to be the main theme of the story. I initially didn't pay much attention to the poem when it was first introduced, but went back and read the verses again when I realized it was important. The poem asks some important questions that are key to the heroine's choices throughout the book. It's rare that I find a book where this is done so well (without seeming overbearing and preachy), but Rutkoski did a fantastic job weaving bits and pieces of the poem into the details. I really enjoyed it. ...more