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The Orphan Queen #1

The Orphan Queen

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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.

391 pages, Hardcover

First published March 10, 2015

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Jodi Meadows

23 books4,620 followers
I write books. I snuggle cats. I drink coffee.


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Profile Image for Sasha Alsberg.
Author 8 books66.9k followers
January 25, 2016
Even thought it was predictable, it was still a great read.
4/5 stars
May 27, 2015
In 1211, Genghis Khan's tiny army of 2,000 was vastly outnumbered by the Jin army, 500,000 strong. The week before the battle, the entire Jin army got food poisoning (they were trying to do a cleanse before the big day by eating more probiotics, as it turned out, not all things were meant to be fermented, least of all, pork). Suffering from bouts of severe diarrhea, the Jin army fled (leaving behind unspeakable trails of...unmentionable things), resulting in a decisive victory for Khan(h...just kidding). Genghis Khan went on to conquer most of Asia and Europe.

In 1942, Jackson Pollock got dumped by his girlfriend. "You're just, like, so boring," she said. "Why do you have to paint butterflies and kittens all the time?" A devastated Pollock spent the night drinking. In the morning, the wealthy art patron Peggy Guggenheim arrived. They had arranged a meeting for her to review his art. She came into the studio to find an entire studio of canvases with paint splattered haphazardly all over them. In his drunken state, Pollock had destroyed his canvases. "Brilliant!" Guggenheim exclaimed. "This is revolutionary, I've never seen anything like it!"

"Uh, yeah, I had a...vision" Pollock muttered. "Totally meant to do that." Pollock went on to become one of the most well-known artists of the 20th century.

In 1796, Edward Jenner was fucking a milkmaid in the barn. His wife burst into the barn. "EDDIE, WHAT THE FUCK?!" she screeched. Edward quickly scrambled to his feet, "I'm doing this...for science!" he stuttered. "I'm, uh, trying to do an experiment! See? Look at this...cow! I was just trying to see if the...err, stuff...from...that cow could cure her...vag---po---cow pox! Yeah! That's it!"

"With your pants down?!" she screamed. "Don't question the methods of science!" he retorted.

Edward Jenner went on to become the father of modern vaccines, his first invention the vaccination for smallpox.

In case you didn't know, those stories were all bullshit, wrenched from the depths of my demented imagination. Naturally, all of those historical figures were brilliant ones, revolutionary strategist, artist, scientist. They worked hard, it took time for them to develop their skill and methodology.

The point is that their accomplishments would have held so much less meaning if they had stumbled across them through no effort of their own, if their achievements were pure, dumb luck.

In books, I want characters who are admirable, who succeed through sheer brilliance and plotting. I don't want the use of deus ex machina and chance to result in WIN.

And that's exactly how the characters in this book succeed: sheer good fortune, the complete idiocy of everyone else. The main characters essentially danced their way down Easy Street.

Want to infiltrate a kingdom and get close to its royalty? Just pretend you're a duchess from a foreign land. Sure, nobody will doubt you at all. Indeed, they don't.
“Lady Julianna, Lady Melanie, you’re both welcome in Skyvale Palace for as long as you’d like to stay. Our home is your home.”
Easy as pie.

Want a top-secret map?
“A map. I want to know which windows lead to which rooms. I want to know where the armories are, where guards are stationed, and even where King Terrell sleeps at night. I want to know everything about that place."
Your enemies will literally hand it to you.
“The Indigo Kingdom is so kind to us. Whatever we require for our reclaiming of Aecor will be provided.”
Need to locate a secret map? It's literally marked down for you.
“On my way out, I glanced again at the wall map, and the mysterious scribbles on the western border of Liadia.
They read confidential and debated.”
Like, are you fucking kidding me?

I like books with admirable heroes and heroines. I like to see them succeed through skill, intelligence, and effort. This book has no merit.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,946 reviews292k followers
July 24, 2015
How many YA fantasy novels have you read?

Because I think your enjoyment of The Orphan Queen depends on your answer. This book is not terrible, it is just completely unremarkable. It contains familiar elements that you may recognize from other YA fantasy-lite series - Throne of Glass, Shadow and Bone and the more recent Red Queen, to name but a few.

Our protagonist is Wilhelmina, the former heir to the throne of her homeland. However, her kingdom was conquered and now she is an Osprey - a kind of street gang of thieves. Assuming the identity of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, her and Melanie infiltrate the Skyvale palace.

Okay, so first we have the good old ban on magic - a favourite of fantasy authors. Then we have royal politics and a throne at the centre of a dispute about who belongs on it. Then we have the heroine pretending to be someone else whilst socializing with the royal enemy - which I'm sure, if I remember correctly, happens in some form in Throne of Glass, Shadow and Bone and Red Queen.

Plus, the whole infiltration of the palace seems very ill-planned. I got the sense that Wilhelmina and Melanie didn't have a damn clue what they were doing. They turned up, put on pretty gowns, danced at a ball, disliked bitchy women with better curves and flirted with soldiers. If any useful information about the kingdom happened to fall in their laps while they were busy twirling around and drinking wine, then it wasn't because of anything clever or sneaky that they did.

The most exciting and unique things about this novel are the least explored. One being the Ospreys, and the other being the masked vigilante called The Black Knife. Neither get much page time. And I suppose I should mention at some point that there is almost zero world-building. The closest thing we get to that is when Connor and Ezra recite the history of magic and the kingdoms in chapter one; it feels like a very awkward way to try and slip in some world background.

I am thankful for the lack of romance, but the plot just feels so recycled and Wilhelmina never inspired any kind of emotion in me. Also, this is just speculation so take it with a pinch of salt, but I definitely see potential for a future love triangle brewing in here.

Recommended for YA fantasy newcomers or those who genuinely do enjoy reading similar things again and again.

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Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,257 reviews8,678 followers
September 8, 2017
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

There are a lot of things wrong with this book. A lot, a lot. Probably more than five. I'll make a list later, but I want it to be clear that ORPHAN QUEEN is a seriously flawed example of YA fantasy . . . Before I tell you that I kind of liked it anyway.

*shrugs awkwardly*



1. Plot twists not so twisty. And WORSE, Wil (short for Wilhelmina which is a-whole-nother problem) was shocked by them when they played out.

If it had been a singular instance, like when the identity of Black Knife (a vigilante . . . named Black Knife . . .) was revealed, I probably would've let it go.

But it wasn't.

2. Bad lingo. This is a problem with layers.

Why do you need new colloquialisms in a YA fantasy duology? YOU DON'T.

But. If you're going to do it anyway, it had better be worth the effort, and substituting your pinky finger for your middle finger as a rude gesture does not qualify as worth the effort:

It took all my self-restraint not to flip my little finger at her.

Neither does "say it again" in place of . . ."You can say that again."


3. Wacky shit. Like calling your gang "Ospreys."

I'll admit they're a bit more fierce in appearance than I expected, but still . . . in a world where other house symbols are dragons and unicorns (<------problems as far as the eye can see), where does a bird commonly confused with water fowl fit in?

And why the hell would you name a noble line "House of the Unicorn," if it's not in a story for a five-year-old?

Then there was the time Patrick did the thing I'd been waiting for him to do at a completely baffling moment:

What is that?

4. Poor execution/lack of subtlety. There were multitudes of cool plot-twists-that-could-have-been that were either ruined by Meadows' impatience or by saying things that were obviously happening could not be happening b/c reasons.

This is also the reason the plot twists weren't so twisty.

6. Grab bag sans any kind of originality. I know there's no such thing as a new idea, but you have to put your own mark on it. You can't just cobble together a bunch of odds and ends, slap a title on it, and call it a day.

7. Ignored obvious solutions and ignoring this obvious solution in particular was ground zero for basically ALL the problems in the last half of the book:

8. REALLY flimsy main concept. Use of magic has been outlawed in Wil's world b/c overuse is being blamed for the explosion of BAD magic (called Wraith) into existence, warping and/or destroying anything it comes into contact with. It's covering the land like waves creeping up a beach at high tide.

But this is all we get:

“That’s the theory,” Clint said. “The overuse of magic triggered a cataclysmic reaction we haven’t been able to reverse.”

Except there's very little evidence to support the theory, and what they do have is circumstantial.

Maybe that's the point, b/c despite Wil's back and forth on the issue, I'm not convinced they haven't been digging their grave with their assumptions.

BUT if that's the case, the world leaders made BIG decisions based on . . . nothing of substance.

Either way, it's a problem.

So yeah . . . a lot of issues. THE ORPHAN QUEEN is definitely not for readers who need well-planned, well-executed, logical worlds and plots. BUT. It was an entertaining and easy read, and when I finished, I didn't want to hunt down Meadows and demand my day back (<------always a good thing). I'd recommend it to someone looking for a brainless way to spend a Saturday.

Jessica Signature


B/c I'm in the mood for YA fantasy and who the hell cares that I DNF-ed the first book in Meadows' other series, or that this one apparently ends in an epic cliffhanger of DOOM?



Profile Image for Jodi Meadows.
Author 23 books4,620 followers
February 10, 2015
This is a book I wrote. Obviously I like it. I hope you do too.

More about the cover.

For every thousand adds to Goodreads, I'm sharing a teaser.

2k teaser: http://instagram.com/p/pj78MrTRLj/

3k teaser: http://instagram.com/p/q2xffHTRBP/

4k teaser: http://instagram.com/p/sBXeD2zRAn/

5k teaser: http://instagram.com/p/tT0auHzRPB

6k teaser: http://instagram.com/p/uJyX-7zRI7/

7k teaser: http://instagram.com/p/vPwrniTRFf/

8k teaser: http://instagram.com/p/v2Z7NezRLN/

9k teaser: http://instagram.com/p/xGFlo3TRBf/

10k teaser: http://instagram.com/p/xvHzoVzRP-/

11k teaser: http://instagram.com/p/yV-Zp7zRCi/

12k teaser: http://instagram.com/p/y7kMJSTRAr/ -- new on February 10

There have been a lot of questions about why THE ORPHAN QUEEN is a sample on Edelweiss. Here are your answers: http://www.jodimeadows.com/?p=2657
Profile Image for Cece ❀Rants, Raves &Reviews❀.
250 reviews896 followers
September 24, 2022
The worldbuilding? unique as fuuckkk
the character development? glorious
the plot twists? Up the godddamn wazoo


In all honesty I really adored this book. We have a snooty prince, a group of thieves, a city vigilante, a toxic mist, and a total badasss named Willa

Willa is what really made this whole book reach another level. I was really looking for something MORE than the basic --"hi there, imma baddie who hits stuff really hard"-- vibes that the past couple books hEaViLy relied upon to describe their heroine.

But then there's our heroine, Wilhelmina, who has a hundred identities. She is a princess. She is a spy. She is a threat. And now one of my favorite heroines !!

And what has she been up to?? Oh you know just leading a group of thieves that look out for each other and rob shitty people. But its totally for a great cause .... of taking over a kingdom !!


And the mindgames!! Holy shit the tricks and plots within the book kept me on the edge of my fucking seat! Both Willa and Tobias each had their own schemes trying to maneuver political mayhem to achieve their own *conflicting* goals

And there was so much mystery around who everyone really was, who were the true allies and the real enemies here... At first Willa recognized Tobias as prince and he only knew her as thief.

But there is so much more to these characters!

They each have histories and motivations and goals...and they both lowkey assholes I mean people willing to do whatever it makes to get their way * yah I ship it*


The way the author built up each of these characters, each working their own manipulations while toxic magic is spreading across the land and gangs and rebellions and GODITWASSOFUCKINGGOOD!!!!

The only thing that kept this book from a 5 star for me was a cliche thats even worse than a love triangle like come on, this honestly made me so sad because it just made the whole book lose an element to me.

Really, without the whole royalty shit I would love to just read a book about Black Knife, kingdom vigilante and Nameless girl strong leader of her gang. But i mean royal politics is cool too, on top of everything its a great concept and lets go for book 2!

This is some of the greatest shit I’ve ever read
"Who are you?"
"Well who are you?"
"You can call me *flips hair* the Black knife"
"But you're holding a sword...?"
"Well umm ya know sometimes i throw knifes, just tell me your name!"
"I dont wanna"
"Fine you can be Nameless girl"
*and shit goes down*
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews837 followers
February 8, 2015
Dang. I've had this book added on my TBR list since June 17, 2013. WOW.

Anyway. HOLY GUACAMOLE. 4.5 stars? The ending makes the rating take a hit, because I hate cliffhanger-like endings. BUT OMG HOW CAN I POSSIBLY WAIT UNTIL 2016 FOR BOOK TWO?! :O

***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Book One of The Orphan Queen series
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

Holy guacamole. This book. The ending. Oh my gosh. I literally just finished the book, so bear with me as I write this review. So... my review might not be thoroughly coherent. It might just be a bunch of flails. I might not even make it through the entire review. OH GOSH MY HEART.

Wil is an orphan, a princess - orphan queen - of Aecor. She and a ragtag group of orphans from Aecor are trying to take back Aecor. To do so, she and her friend Melanie masquerade as destitute nobles of Liadia, so that they can have refuge in the Skyvale Palace... and get information about Aecor, the armies of the Indigo Kingdom, anything useful that could aid the Ospreys (Wil and her group) in their attempt to reclaim Aecor. But little go as planned with the presence of wraith, Black Knife, and a danger against which even Wil cannot guard herself.

I love fantasy. I love epic fantasy. I love high fantasy. Basically, I love fantasy (if you couldn't already tell). It's my favorite genre, and I can't ever seem to get enough. I especially love fantasy in YA literature, because it's amazing and creative and wonderful, but not heavy and boring (like in adult fiction - in my opinion). Jodi Meadows masterfully creates the world in this book. Her writing is lush and rich, and her world-building is very thorough and imaginative. I had no problems picturing the towns, palace, and other locations in my mind.

Wil is a very likable heroine. It was easy to root for her throughout the book, it was easy to see her side of things, it was easy to like her. She is brave and fierce, selfless and intelligent. I liked the way her mind works, the way she thought through things. She stood toe-to-toe with Patrick (the Aecor boy who saved her and other Aecor orphans), challenging his ruthless decisions. She never threw her title in any of the Ospreys' faces, but she always commanded authority when she felt necessary. She fought with Black Knife (the vigilante who has actually been killing wraith creatures, which is pretty noble). She pretended to be a dead noble for weeks, and did an excellent job of it. I really liked Wil, and I hope I continue liking her in this series!

There are so many amazing secondary characters in this novel! Wil's best friend, Melanie, accompanies her to the palace, also a dead noble. I liked Melanie, though I definitely questioned her loyalty and her being at times. There was Black Knife, a masked vigilante who is curious about Wil, and always seems to find her. There is James, the prince's cousin and guard, who is a great friend to Wil. He's hilarious, and very flirtatious and sweet. There is the prince himself, who is (as Wil says) "sour". I liked him though. The Ospreys - the orphans from Aecor who are helping Wil reclaim her kingdom. So many well-written, three-dimensional characters that I loved.

This book is broken up into three parts. Wil goes to the palace with Melanie, to obtain necessary information for their plans. But there are things that Wil is curious about, like wraith in Liadia. Wil goes to investigate the fallen Liadian barrier, hoping that no one at the palace will question her feigned illness. I love that there is more than one plot in this book, more than one story. Wil needs to sneak around the palace, to get information. Wil is trying to find out more about wraith and the wraithlands. Wil is also leaving the palace at night, and sometimes tangles with Black Knife (meaning they fight and threaten each other, and possibly kill wraith creatures every now and then). There is a lot going on in this book, so you can't get bored... you might get bored with one part of the story (probably not though), and there is another part of the story to pick you up!

There IS romance in this book. I'm purposefully not saying much about the specifics, who is who. But I will say that I LOVE the romance. It's complicated, it's twisted, it's difficult - and what's new, when it comes to romance in fantasy novels? But there isn't a love triangle, there is no insta-love, and I have high hopes for the romance (though I probably should be more wary, for certain specific reasons).

The ending is AWFUL. Awful as in awfully heartbreaking. I hate the ending, but it definitely adds to the story, and I see why the author chose to end this book in such a way. It's cliffhanger-y, so if you hate those, perhaps you might be better off waiting until closer to book two's publication (in 2016?!). But then, we'll probably have to wait for a book three... reading and waiting for books is so difficult! ****EDIT: the author confirmed that there will only be two books in this series - a duology! So, not too much waiting.

What I Did Not Like:

This book loses an entire star from me because of the ending. The cliffhanger is so mean. Like I said above, I get it, but... it's a heartbreaking ending. And so this book gets one less star. Sorry not sorry.

Would I Recommend It:

I TOTALLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO EVERYONE! Fantasy lovers especially, but anyone who enjoys a well-written story (so like, all readers?). Just beware of the ending - it WILL break you. You might be better off waiting for a completed series (see my edit above though - there are only two books to this series!). But hey, I'm not trying to make anyone's decisions for them. I obviously couldn't wait to read this one, so, I'll just suffer quietly.


4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars. Because of that ending. I love/hate it. I love this book though. It's definitely a favorite so far (despite not earning a 5-star rating), and I can't wait to read the novellas, and the sequel novel! In 2016. Ugh.
Profile Image for Katerina.
420 reviews16.8k followers
April 29, 2016
Guess who stayed up all night reading The Orphan Queen and now looks like a mutant zombie that feeds on coffee!

“I was Julianna,a general,and occassionally the orphaned Princess of Aecor.I was anyone I needed to be.”

Being the heir of a conquered kingdom,Wilhelmina will do anything to free her people and avenge her family.She knows how to fight,to steal,to forge,to spy and now she has to accomplish the most dangerous task of all;impersonate a duchess and gather intelligence on her enemy's whereabouts.Without her loyal friends by her side,she must choose carefully who to trust and find a way to defeat the tainted magic that threatens to destroy and alter any form of life.But what if her beliefs are shaken and the enemy is not the monster she thought he is?What if the vigilante known as the Black Knife is right and people who wield magic must be stopped in order to save the world?What if her heart betrayes her and beats for the wrong man?Between balls and fights,deception and stolen kisses,in a city full of mirrors,Wilhelmina will find out what is the cost of taking her kingdom back and whether she can afford to pay the price.
“People will come to our call when they hear we have the most important piece of all:Princess Wilhelmina.She's alive.She's with us.And she's going to take back her kingdom.”

I'd wanted to read this book for a while,but the mixed reviews made me hesitate.The thing is,I understand both the positive and the negative ones.I have to admit that it was predictable and many times I wanted to scold the heroes for not seeing the obvious,and some parts lacked originality,especially since I got many Snow Like Ashes vibes with the lost queen and the enslaved people and the miasma.Moreover,the pace was not consistent,there were times I almost lost interest and times I couldn't put it down.
Of course you may wonder why I gave it 4 stars then.The answer is simple:despite its flaws,I enjoyed The Orphan Queen so,so much!

I got everything I wanted,needed and expected!Politics.Intrigue.Balls.Fights against outlaws and monsters.Secret missions.Espionage.An independent and determined heroine.Sweet romance.Forbidden magic.And my personal favorite,a hot vigilante dressed in black!

There were a couple of times when Wil annoyed me,but in general she was a likable heroine,stubborn and fierce,and her need to protect her people was touching!I admired her for having the strength to admit that her parents might have been wrong,and for the way she handled things when she found out Black Knife's commitments,that was very mature of her!The romance wasn't on the spotlight but it developed naturally and managed to give me all the feels,especially towards the end!Speaking of which,I am very glad I decided to wait until The Mirror King was published because apparently Jodi Meadows is one of those authors.The ones who write cliffhangers from Hell and watch the world burn from their villain lair,rubbing their hands.

“I was going to have to face the man who'd destroyed my kingdom, and the boy who was the reason.”

Do I recommend The Orphan Queen?That depends on your expectations and standards,but personally, I had a great time reading it!
Profile Image for Jenna.
263 reviews77 followers
September 6, 2019
For a book with so many mixed reviews, I really liked it!!

Wil' short for Wilhelmina is a Princess of a kingdom conquered by the Indigo Kingdom. Orphaned, she and the other children of deceased nobles have banded together. They have spent the last 10 years training, stealing and surviving in the Indigo Kingdom. They are planning to take her kingdom back.

Although Wil' has a secret of her own. Magic has been outlawed because of an overwhelming magical mist that is taking over the world called 'wraith'. It is believed that magic is the cause of the 'wraith' which is why it was banned. Wil has magic and only uses it in emergencies. Her fellow orphans are unaware because it would make her even more vulnerable.

The wraith is moving faster and recently destroyed an entire kingdom. With refugees flooding in, Wil's group of orphans (they call themselves the Osprey's) have decided this is the best time to infiltrate the Indigo Kingdom's court. Wil' has to infiltrate her enemy's kingdom while trying to get information for her own uses. This is until she realizes that the wraith is a much more impending issue and she must try to figure out where her priorities will be.

My Review
This book had some really interesting aspects to it. I really like the idea of the wraith and think it's intriguing and unique. Although one of this books biggest faults, is its predictability.

From the beginning it was easy to predict who would like who, the identities of others and where some loyalties lie. I will say that there were some things I was caught off-guard by which helped me liking this book. Such as
This book was full of common YA tropes as well.
I enjoyed most of the characters, but also feel like Jodi Meadows could go deeper, expand the characters depth, I think that would make for a better series. Like Meredith, I don't want her to be some 2-dimensional character, I want to see depth. I don't even know what is going on with Melanie because although I understand what/why she does stuff, it feels inconsistent to her character. I really like Wilhelmina but she could also use some depth. OVERALL MORE DEPTH OF CHARACTERS PLEASE.

I believe the first chapter of this book is written as if this were a tv show.
Sidenote: This series would make an amazing tv show, I have some fab ideas so Jodi Meadows, hit me up!
One of the first thing I noticed was that the world building strategy was sort of weak for a book. For a TV show, it would work splendidly but as a novel, it could have been incorporated in different ways.
The second thing I noticed was the annoying catch phrase Wil and Melanie say CONSTANTLY. 'Say it again'. It is this world's version of 'You can say that again'. My issue is how often they say it. In Harry Potter you don't see Ron saying 'Bloody hell' every single chapter do you?? It is said so often that it actually irritated me. Repeating it a few times in the book would have been fine, but this was too much.

At first I didn't like the relationship between Wil and Black Knife but I really grew to like it. This series is hard to ship because even though I like Wil and Black Knife together, I don't think I'm at the level of shipping it. They are the characters with the most depth, yet I still find it hard to connect to them.

This is probably seeming like a really bad review and y'all are probably wondering why I gave it 4/5 stars. WELL I almost gave it 3.5 because there were some serious room for development in this series like I listed above. In contrast, I really enjoyed it. It was a very quick read for me and I just couldn't put it down, I needed to know what happened next. I would not give it above 4 stars due to all the issues, but I can't deny that I enjoyed this book way more than a 3 star book. That is why it earned 4 stars. If the other issues were not there, it probably would have been 5 stars for me. Unfortunately, they are there and I cannot ignore them. I hope in the next book, the mirror king, Jodi Meadows improves.

Seriously though, I have some AMAZING ideas if this was a tv show. I am super into scriptwriting, editing and filming because I used to want to be a director/producer. So Jodi Meadows, trust me when I say, that if this ever becomes an adaptation, you want me on your team to do this book justice, but to also expand the story with more depth and story arcs needed for a tv show. That's my pitch haha
Profile Image for Mizuki.
2,928 reviews1,168 followers
July 12, 2017
Fantasy! Magic! A lost Queen and her pals try to reclaim their kingdom! Wraiths! Court's politics! Forbidden Love! Pretty book cover! What can go wrong!?

Well, everything, almost everything.

1.5 stars. I'm breathing fire and brimstone after reading the whole book.

(1) The heroine and her friend's plan to reclaim their kingdom is *RUBBISH*, plain and simple

If you think the rebels in Red Queen and The Young Elites are bad, just wait till you see what the heroine and her friends had done!

Some 19 orphans (the Ospreys) banded together to try reclaiming their lost kingdom from the invading kingdom, among them the supposedly 'lost' princess. How will they take back their kingdom? I don't know! After reading a whole book I still don't know! Supposedly they has been stealing to support themselves, some operations had been ran, supposedly there are some resistance groups, but the details and the goals of those Ospreys have hardly been made clear.

(2) The court's politics in this book are on the primary school's level

The Indigo Kingdom and its royal family doesn't do anything to discover the whereabouts of the lost princess! The princess simply walks into the Indigo's court with no disguise even though she knows the crown prince might recognize her! Examples like these are countless in the book!

(3) The heroine did a shit job as a spy and a thief

For example, guards are going to reach the heroine's rooms but she only hides her important items under the mattress?! I have no idea why the publisher still insists on me to believe she is a 'strong woman'!

(4) The supposedly fearsome Black Knife turns out to be so lame

The fearsome Black Knife who fiercely tracks and catches magic-using outlaws with no mercy suddenly decides he doesn't want to turn the magic-using heroine to the polices! And then........teenage romance happens between those two, when the heroine hasn't even seen the guy's face underneath his mask! Last but not least Black Knife also turns out being this....you know who person later on, and I (along with countless other readers out there) can totally see this coming from miles away!

(5) Characters with perfectly modern English names like Patrick, James etc and words like 'police' are used in the story, which is supposed to be Fantasy/magical fantasy

I know, it's a story supposedly takes place in an 18th century European based fantasy world so it is safe to guess this fantasy world would be somewhat similar with our own world. Yet when those perfectly modern English names mentioned above show up in the book, I still feel the author *isn't even trying* when she creates this supposed fantasy world.

*sighs* The setting about the destructive wraiths and magic is nice, but too bad that the rest of the book isn't so nice. Still, I will give this sequel a chance just for the sake of finishing a series.

Review for book 2: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Profile Image for Andreea Pop.
320 reviews2,123 followers
August 27, 2015
This beauty of a book, called The Orphan Queen, stole my heart really easily, despite its numerous flaws.

I won't lie, the beginning was far from impressive, because probably this book's biggest flaw was its predictability. I saw plot twists from miles away, but what saved the novel from my putting it down was actually the unraveling of said plot twists. It was entertaining and satisfying and done in a clever manner.

Another aspect that had me cringing was the originality. In terms of characters, for the first half or so, Tobiah (the Crown Prince of Indigo Kingdom) and James (his bodyguard) were very much Dorian and Chaol from ToG, only with their personalities reversed. Then there's Wilhelmina, a disguised orphan queen who's after taking back her conquered kingdom, and that again struck me as a deja-vu with the newest books in the ToG series, not to mention the whole dynamic between Wil and Tobiah (I'm a sucker for Dorlaena anyway).

Plotwise, the initial opening of the book reminded me a lot of Snow Like Ashes. In both books we have a very small group of rebels fighting to free their country, but in this case the group is made entirely out of teenager orphans and that detail reduced the plausibility of the story -- let's be honest: there's no way a group of children have survived for ten years on the run and trained and actually managed to gain intelligence and information. But hey, it's fantasy.

And still. You can see that I could damn the rating of this book for its multiple faults, but I don't because I really really liked it. I loved the characters, I loved the story, I loved the atmosphere and if that doesn't make a story worthwhile, I don't know what does.

For instance, Wil, although no Celaena Sardothien, is a strong heroine, brave and moral and compassionate. She fights her own battles fiercely and it covers up the fact that sometimes she can be incredibly over emotional, overwhelmed and inexperienced. I admired her wonderful development that ensured we will be seeing more of her queenly demeanor.

Black Knife -- oh, may I swoon? He was the perfect blend of danger, sarcasm, dedication and selflessness, with a dash of sexy. I loved everything about him and my heart was really happy about his and Wil's developing friendship. Ahem.

“The best mask is a face no one will remember.”
“Oh,” he said, and looked at me as though I were a mystery. “I don’t see how anyone could forget your face.”

A small regret is that I would've liked to get to know James better. Melanie, as Wil's best friend, kind of sucked. Oh, and Patrick, cut the crap and stay put.

The story itself involves a lot of magic and how its overuse has terrifying consequences -- the creation of the wraith. No one knows what to do with it or how to stop it since it's basically ruining kingdoms every left and right. The Indigo Kingdom is the next in line for its destruction, but soon Aecor (Wil's kingdom) will meet the same fate, so that makes it Wil's responsibility to deal with the unnatural. This plotline offers a lot of excitement and I honestly can't wait to get to know more about magic in the next book.

I absolutely loved how romance wasn't the main focus of the book, but still somehow managed to be important. It developed naturally and also added a shade of forbidden excitement to the story. And oh my, the romance itself, although never crossing beyond kissing, was all kinds of wonderful, butterflies-inducing and lovely. There was tension, there was slow burning, there were exquisite feelings and finally -- courtesy of that cruel ending that delivered two sucker-punches one after another -- aching yearning, helplessness and deep regret. Perfect.

“Why are you always trying to leave me?”

It's my first book by Jodi Meadows but I assure you it won't be the last. After all, there's still the sequel, The Mirror King, waiting for me in April (but I have faith Edelweiss and HarperCollins will do their mojo and save me the eternal torture). And I just want to add how happy and grateful I am to see this series is a duology! I honestly thought it was going to be a trilogy, but lucky me I was wrong. We need more duologies anyway.

Coming back to Meadows' books, I'll be sure to pick up her Incarnate series right away since they drew me in with their prettiness a few years ago and now I don't need any more persuasion to read them. Don't expect an extraordinary writing style; it's nothing special or fancy, but she managed to make her world-building compelling even if it's not the definition of awesomeness and I have to give respect where it's due.

Thrilling from start to finish, threaded with toe-curling romance and woven with enigmatic magical elements, The Orphan Queen is a new favorite of mine and if you're looking for a captivating fantasy read, then I wholeheartedly suggest picking it up.

Profile Image for Reynita ★ The Night Reader ★.
122 reviews935 followers
February 10, 2017
here's my review the first time I read this book :
26th November 2015 - 3rd Desember 2015
5 Stars

here's my review the second time I read it :
6th May 2016 - 14th May 2016
3.5 Stars Rounded down to 3 Stars

Almost ten years ago, an 8 years old prince of Indigo Kingdom was kidnapped and being held hostage at Aecor. The father of the prince was angry. He commanded his armies to rescue her son and killed the king and queen of Aecor. the chaos made Aecor burning in flame. Every adult living in the palace was slaughtered but the king gave mercy to the highborn children and the king and queen's daughter to be brought to Skyvale, The Capital of Indigo Kingdom. But he never found her or the highborn children that were still alive.
Almost ten years later, Aecor is different. The people of Aecor are suffering hunger, opperession and crippling taxes and the sudden disapperances of all know flashers. The people of Aecor don't know that they still have hope because Princess Wilhelmina Korte, The future queen of Aecor is still alive and She will take back Aecor.
She'll do everything to take back Aecor, even she has to risk her own life

My Opinion
the first time I read this book which was a few months ago, I liked it so much wait... No I didn't like it, I loved it so much I even gave 5 Stars to this book and I cried so much at the ending. But after I passed a few months, I didn't really care about reading the second book but I remembered how I loved this book so I decided to re-read it again before reading The Mirror King.
this was my expression when I reached 50% of the book

and this was my expression when I reached 80% of the book

and this was my expression when I finished this book.
honestly, I was so happy when I finished this book and when I read the ending, I was like " Yeah, Yeah, whatever, , this is very boring..."*roll eyes* instead of crying like I did when I read it for the first time.

The Romance
it's slow burn romance, enemies to lovers and No love triangles for sure.
at the first time I read it, I actually thought that the romance was really really sweet
I seriously don't know what happened to me that time, how could I think the romance was sweet?!?!
because at the second time I read the book I totally didn't think the romance was sweet, but it wasn't bad either. it was...quite good but didn't make me swoon.

You must be wondering Why did I give this book 3.5 Stars if I didn't like it?
I gave this book 3.5 Stars because the story is original and it's pretty good but I don't really like it, just...pretty good.

will I read the sequel of The Orphan Queen?
Hell no!! I can't make myself to read the second book, I just can't. Tried finishing The Orphan Queen was such a terrible torture to me but I managed to finish it and I was am kind of proud to myself that I could finish this book because while reading it, I thought several times to DNF it.

But I won't tell you not to read this book because I'm not like that, if you want to read this book, then read it maybe you'll like it and I'd love to read your review about it too.
Thank you so much for reading my review, guys!!
Profile Image for Mandy K.
463 reviews31 followers
July 6, 2019
Full Review

I'm still reeling. I stayed up way way late last night, I'm talking 4 hours later than I usually do, because I couldn't go to bed without finishing this book. Let's just say that by the time I finally went to bed, some people where just waking up for work. Yeah. But, it was worth it. Even though the story and characters and ending infiltrated my dreams.

The story pick up in the middle of a robbery, and the story never stops from there. Chock full of spy missions, vigilantism, betrayals, secret identities, and plans to take back a kingdom, this books will suck you in and keep you there until the very last page.

Beneath all the action is some awesome world building. Magic has been outlawed since Wraith, the byproduct of magic use, has been creeping across the lands devouring and destroying everything. We get to see Glowmen, people who abused wraith like a drug and are now mutated and less than human, wraith creatures, things like kittens and bugs that the wraith has twisted into scary monsters, and all kinds of crazy other anomalies like floating roads and trees growing upside down. The visuals here are great and I can picture all of the terrors from the wraith so vividly.

And let me just take a second to rant about that ending. It's cruel, it's criminal, there should be a big ol' warning on the cover: "major devastating cliff hanger, precede with caution". I'm having a hard time articulating how this cliff hanger left me feeling. It's like I was standing a thousand feet up in the air, overlooking one of those views that just brings a bit of hope, and suddenly this trap door opens up underneath and I'm plummeting down down down. There's even #OQsupportgroup on Twitter.

I loved the characters here. Wilhelmina, Melanie, the Ospreys, James, Black Knife, even Prince Tobiah and the King. Meadows did a great job making complex characters, especially making you second guess assumptions you made about characters and creating sympathy for certain characters. And can we just take a second to talk about Black Knife? He was my favorite character in the book. I kind of fell a little in love with him. Dark and mysterious, is he a hero? Is he a menace? What are his intentions? Who is he? Just love.

I don't read fantasy books too often, and this book had me asking myself: Why the heck not? I can not wait for 2016 to get here so I can see how this story ends. I have to know. Time to build a time machine so I can read The Mirror King.
Profile Image for Katerina  Kondrenko.
498 reviews826 followers
December 30, 2020
4 out of 10

Ревью в моем блоге/This review on my blog
Living A Thousand Lives
(please use Chrome/Yandex browser or Android/IOS to see the page; otherwise, spoiler-tags I use to make my post compact may not work)

Carnival Youth - Never Have Enough
Ian Dolamore - Vigilante
Raz Ohara and The Odd Orchestra – Kisses

Genre: high-fantasy, YA
Stuff: the wraith, magic, rebels
Fail: predictability and uneven writing
WOW: the main concept
POV: 1st-person, female
Love-Geometry: none

“May I get anything for you?” Information. Lists. My kingdom.

The Orphan Queen is a mess. Jodi Meadows created a very interesting world, gave it a solid problem to deal with, but forgot to develop her heroes and grace the plot with logic instead of I-do-what-I-please-ness. Forced twists aren't twists. And feelings toward MCs can't appear out of the blue.

The main idea is good. Magic causes the wraith - an echo of somebody's power, a twisted substance that comes and covers your city up, mummifying everything and everyone, it changes people and animals, making them bigger, vicious, and merciless. Many kingdoms had already fallen, but those who are still standing decided to sign a treaty: magic is treason, no one's allowed to use it. Only Aecor refused to join the alliance, its rulers believed that pre-dosed magic is a blessing and shouldn't be completely forbidden. That's why the Indigo Kingdom took over their land. The King and the Queen were killed along with local noblemen during the One-Night-War. Their children were sent to the orphanage, but soon ran away and started to plan revenge.

And that is my first complaint. Kids and revolution? Like really? Mind that we speak not of an army of children but of a few little 'warriors' (~15 persons). Their leader - Patrick, a son of the late Aecor's General - has useful acquaintances and a sharp mind, the others steal supplies, our MC - Wilhelmina, who is the rightful heir to the vermilion throne - is a pretty talented forger. Good for them, but I'm still not convinced. Also, they ran about 9 years ago? How, may I ask, 3-old-year kids did that? I see no way for them to survive being homeless in a company of 8-10-year-old children as their 'parents'.

Well, what do we have in the present? When the wraith conquers yet another county - Liadia, Wilhelmina and her best-friend Melanie go to the Skyvale's palace (the heart of the Indigo Kingdom), impersonating two dead noblewomen, to spy around and get some crucial information. They are welcomed ('cause, duh, the treaty's condition) and unrecognized (as if not a single person at the court has been in Liadia or Liadia's ladies did never leave their homes). That's how the story starts.

Wilhelmina and Co want their kingdom back, never giving a second thought to the fact that their princess knows nothing about the ruling. They also blame the Indigo Kingdom for what they've done with Aecor, missing the point - Aecor used magic, magically attracted the wraith, and the wraith means death without any exceptions. No matter how accurate you were or how many good things you committed with spells and powers, consequences are deadly. Sorry, I can't sympathize with the narrow-minded bunch of pseudo-rebels.

We have a prince. His names is Tobiah and he's boring. He has a fiance, she's boring too. And he has a cousin, a cliched puppy whom I did like.

We have a masked vigilante, who fights Glowing Men (people corrupted with the wraith), chasing criminals and bringing justice in da Zorro-style. They call him Black Knife (which is a bit ridiculous, but not as much as visible bruises after slaps or flicking off a little finger instead of showing a middle one, just imagine this gesture and laugh your ass out) and have no idea who's hiding behind the mask. Ooookay, they haven't, but readers do! And I was really surprised to see in the author's review for the first of Black Knife's novellas that they would be spoiler-ish for the first installment because of the vigilante's identity. Was it supposed to be a secret?

Wil hates Tobiah (and her reason is fucking lame), Wil is intrigued with the Black Knife. She meets him on the streets to work together from time to time, and they slowly fall in love. Which is leading us to, the romance, yeah... Meadows is good with romantic scenes (the one with a blindfold, a silk mask, and a lot of kisses was really hot), but fails when it comes to creating tension, building love-suspense, and doing a proper development of characters interactions. During the kissing scene I was shipping the heroes hard, but before and after had nothing in me to ache for this couple.

The writing was bad. Not the wording (which was fine), but the way the author reveals her story: it's either naked info-dumping or rushed retelling. The book needed better editing. Some parts were underdeveloped while some overdone. Potential twists had no chance to shine. The simplicity of relationships and shallow dialogues didn't help either.

Someone had to tell Jodi Meadows that her plot was made of contrived coincidences. And that, that unforgivable. Shit has to happen and not only when MC is ready for it. People have to act as real persons and not as marionettes.

The ending wasn't shocking, 'cause Meadows gave us too many clues. Why oh why? If you want to torture your readers, do it without preludes. I've been more devastated after way happier finals. Here I knew what would happen and that it would mean nothing, 'cause we'd already seen the same situation in one of the previous chapters.

Now to the WTFs those would contain spoilers.

To read or not to read is up to you. This isn't the worst book ever, it has the good moments, but it lacks too many important things to actually blow your mind, especially if you prefer your reads to be well-thought-out, logical, and unpredictable.

PS: I will continue with this series hoping for more kissing scenes. I can't deny that Jodi Meadows knows how to write them.

The Orphan Queen (Королева сирот):
The Hidden Prince (Оберегаемый принц) #0.1/2
The Glowing Knight (Раскаленный рыцарь) #0.2/2
The Burning Hand (Пылающая рука) #0.3/2
The Black Knife (Черный нож) #0.4/2
The Orphan Queen (Королева сирот) #1/2
The Mirror King (Зеркальный король) #2/2
Profile Image for Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink.
258 reviews4,865 followers
July 22, 2016
I did not expect to like this one... but I was actually really pleasantly surprised. I went into it with low expectations based on friends ratings - but I actually rather enjoyed myself reading it.

I thought about landing this around 3-3.5 stars but when I think back.. I was pretty giddy during many scenes and I really enjoyed myself. Definitely had some nice feels. This was a mashup between "Ruined" by Amy Tintera and "Snow Like Ashes" by Sara Raasch.

For those of you who are interested.. let me help you out with what to expect.

1. This book is definitely cliche and full of YA tropes (i.e. lost princess) ... but I didn't really care because I know what I like to read.
2. It is predictable. Whatever. While I could predict *who* certain people where and such.. I still enjoyed watching the characters figure out the plot twists. Plus... who doesn't love a man in a mask regardless if you know who he is?
3. The world building was weak and the magic was not explained well at all. I still enjoyed the premise regardless... at least it wasn't a crazy info dump.

Either way, even with these complaints aside.. I actually had a lot of fun. I liked the heroine enough (though can someone please tell me how you come up with a name like "Wilhelmina"... I couldn't get past that one.) I actually enjoyed the bit of chemistry between Wil and Black Knife.

All that to say- I already got book 2 and I'm gonna go read that now.. yay!

My Blog ~ Instagram
Profile Image for Sue (Hollywood News Source).
781 reviews1,600 followers
March 21, 2015
Me: I'm just gonna see and read the first few chapters to see what's the fuss is all about.

*10 minutes later.

I have been trudging reading books lately and I'm so happy The Orphan Queen didn't disappoint. I genuinely adore this book. I need to collect my thoughts and feelings. Mini review to come.
Profile Image for Grace A..
370 reviews40 followers
August 20, 2022
I had a great time with this book. Strong heroine, magic, monsters, espionage, battle against evil...everything I like about fantasy neatly packaged into one; what’s not to like?
A 17-year-old Wil, heiress to a fallen kingdom, after 10 years of hiding with other kids of nobility, went under disguise, infiltrating the palace with plans to take back her kingdom.
The mission got complicated quickly, first she crossed paths with a vigilante named black knife, and partnered up with him despite her dislike of him taking the law into his hands, then she started disagreeing with the leader of the refugee group that led the mission. One thing was clear through it all, there are certain moral boundaries she won’t cross.
It was a fantastic read, ended with a cliffhanger, heading off to find out what’s next in the second book. 5 stars!
Profile Image for Norah Una Sumner.
848 reviews447 followers
January 2, 2017
This definitely has a potential and I've heard that the sequel is better which makes me very happy!

I liked this story and the characters. Yes, the plot twist was totally predictable but it was still fun. I liked Jodi's writing style as well. So, in overall, this was quite fun and interesting and I am definitely giving sequel a chance. I would love to see what happens next even though the last 10% of the book were a bit confusing and at times hard to follow. We shall see.
Profile Image for Sydney.
129 reviews66 followers
Want to read
June 18, 2013
I'm intrigued with this book. I have a mixed vibe on Meadow's book but with that kind of descriptions?

Profile Image for VDC.
232 reviews80 followers
June 17, 2013
Author friend perks: reading the book 2 years before it hits shelves.

Game of Thrones meets Batman = epic Jodi Meadows.
Profile Image for Seda.
538 reviews74 followers
January 7, 2020

Bayıldım. Elime aldığım gibi yarıladım. 2. kez elime aldığımda bitmişti. Zalımın kızı yazar yüzünden koşarak 2. kitaba geçiyorum.😍😍
Profile Image for Sophie.
1,131 reviews437 followers
December 31, 2015
My god, this book was utter perfection! Ever since ARC reviews began to appear in the blogosphere there has been a ton of hype surrounding this book, hype that was not misplaced. For some reason, I was still hesitant to read it. Perhaps I thought the hype would ruin the reading experience, or something like that. However, this was not the case at all.

In The Orphan Queen, we follow our heroine, Wil, as she tries to infiltrate the main palace of the Indigo Kingdom, whom had conquered her kingdom of Aecor nearly ten years earlier. Her motive for the infiltration is simple: to discover vital information which will help her to retake her throne. However, not all is as it seems. For the past 100 years, the Indigo Kingdom had banned the use of magic, as the industrialisation of magic had brought wraith to the land, destroying everything in its wake. Wil's use of magic in emergencies catches causes problems that have major consequences. On top of all of this, she has to deal with her conflicting emotions about Black Knife, the so-called vigilante who, rather than capture her for using magic, enlists her help in ridding the city from the wraith problem. Though he could lead to her ruin, she grows more and more attached to him, an attachment that nothing good can come from, especially when she discovers his identity.

Having a wonderful protagonist makes any book special, and this was no exception. Wilhelmina was a spunky, fierce princess, who'd faced major hardship since the assassination of her parents and the loss of her kingdom. Through all of this, she has remained strong, and does everything in her power to reclaim her lost throne. I loved everything about Wil, and kind of wish she was my best friend. She is fiercely loyal her fellow orphans, the Ospreys, and is reclaiming Aecor as much for them as she is for herself. Even when faced with solutions that could make everything easier in the long run, she stands her ground, and sticks by her morals. She goes after what she thinks is right, and isn't shy about stating her disapproval.

To make this book even better, if possible, the love interest was someone who helped to make Wil better. Black Knife was mysterious, though I had guessed who he was, but then talked myself out of it. Whereas he knew stuff about Wil that could have hurt her, and her chances of reclaiming Aecor, he never told on her. He went so far as to help her at every possible opportunity, following her as far as he could when she went into the wraith lands. Their relationship was also slow-burning, just the right amount of longing so that it didn't turn into a complete angst-fest. I was extremely glad with how the big reveal occurred, though I'm apprehensive with the amount of angst and suffering will be in book 2, The Mirror King, considering the cliffhanger-y ending.

Out of all the characters, the only one I disliked was Patrick, who, to me, was a condescending SoB, who deserved a good slap. He was presumptive, and rash, and even though he said he was loyal to his princess, his queen, his actions were not in her best interests. When more is discovered about his father, the old General, he seemed more and more like him, and his actions could be the ruin of Wil. Hopefully, he'll get his comeuppance in The Mirror King.

This book is a wonderful new addition of the high fantasy genre, and lovers of that will adore this book. From The Orphan Queen I have a ton of new fave's: a new favourite heroine, a new favourite world, and a new OTP. The wait to April seems far too long, but luckily there is the #OQsupportgroup to help. Quite frankly, you should just go out, buy this book, and read it ASAP - you will not be disappointed!
Profile Image for Nemo (The ☾Moonlight☾ Library).
616 reviews301 followers
May 20, 2016
This review was originally posted on The Moonlight Library

Please note: this is a review of the sample offered on Edelweiss, which was about one-third of the total book (Part 1), and is not a review of the complete book.


Wilhemenia is the orphaned queen of a conquered kingdom, a girl disguised as a refugee duchess in an enemy kingdom helping to free her enslaved people and their right to use magic even though other kingdoms believe wraith, a dangerous by-product of magic, is slowly destroying the world.


The worldbuilding in this book is phenomenal – there’s so much culture and different beliefs and even small gestures and sayings used by the characters. The one issue I had with it is how much of the world-building is relayed through dialogue – even Wil herself acknowledges that people are reciting lessons or indulging in hearing their own voices. Perhaps I would be more sympathetic if the words were coming from Wil herself – there’s nothing wrong with passing on information and world-building so long as it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story. I also wish I had access to the map that’s supposed to be in the beginning of this book, because the three main kingdoms and the minor ones around them sound so interesting, and also because the main threat is environmental and moving ever closer, so I’d like a better grasp on how much wraith has eaten how much kingdom.


Wilheminia is pretending to be Duchess Juliana of Liania, which has fallen to wraith. She’s really the lost orphaned queen of Aecor, on the other side of the Indigo Kingdom, which forced other kingdoms into signing a no-magic agreement in an effort to curb the wraith. Wil’s a totally awesome character – she’s quick with her mind, wits, her physicality and her bravery. Oh, and she’s an illegal magic user, and I’m pretty sure none of her gang, the Ospreys, know that. Other characters of note include Melanie, who’s up to something she won’t let Wil in on; Tobiah, the surly crown prince of the Indigo Kingdom, who’s newly engaged; the other Ospreys, who were left behind when Wil and Melanie entered the Indigo Kingdom palace; and Black Knife.


Can I just say oh my, Black Knife? That is one masked vigilante I wouldn’t mind being captured by. Of course, in the sample I read, which is only about one-third of the book, Wil and Black Knife aren’t friends yet, but are becoming uneasy, if still suspicious, allies. I’m certain I know his true identity – it’s a bit hard to write this kind of Young Adult novel without being all obvious about it – and I’d really like to see Wil realise it, too, and then get on with the kissing. I mean, there’s nothing romantic between them in the sample, but I just know it’s got to work out that way. Why else were we introduced so early? It’s the basis of YA!

I am aware of another book with a similar theme I recently read, Sarah Raasch’s Snow Like Ashes. Both contain young women leads who are capable warriors, who are  from kingdoms that have been enslaved by a neighbour due to a policy on magic use. Why did I rate the sample of The Orphan Queen 5 stars and Snow Like Ashes, which I read in its entirely only 4, if they are so similar and both enjoyable? It’s as simple as this: I didn’t feel the romance at all in Snow Like Ashes, and although there was not yet any romance written into The Orphan Queen, I could have cut the sexual tension with a knife.


I need the rest of this book right now. Like, RIGHT NOW. And I'll probably track down Meadows' Incarnate books as well, because I just really enjoyed reading this sample of The Orphan Queen.

Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
853 reviews3,765 followers
June 3, 2019
I thought the magic and history of this world was a little muddy. This was slow to get into but the last 1/3 of the book was exciting and well paced. A lot happens near the end that made me feel invested in knowing the outcome.
Profile Image for Sarah (thegirltheycalljones).
412 reviews285 followers
June 14, 2016
DNFed around 57%.

I tried to hold on as long as I could but I'm totally unable to finish this one.
I'm sure it's an okay book if you haven't already read a fuckton of fantasy YA about a magical princess/queen in hiding, planning to recapture her realm from the Big Bad Usurper (who's probably not that bad, because our MC doesn't know shit about what happened after all).
I tried to care. I tried very hard. But I didn't.

Wil, our MC, is very inconstant. I don't understand wat the author tried to do with her. One page she's all combative and defiant, and the next she's whiny and overwhelmed with emotions.
The fact that she "couldn't breathe", "couldn't speak anymore", was "choking" every time somebody talked about her fallen kingdom was very irritating.
See, Wil was an undercover spy, posing as a random noble in the Big Bad Usurper castle in order to overthrow the current king.
The fact that she was so lame at her spy job was exasperating. She constantly had a weird attitude, jeopardizing the mission - but in theory only! She acted crap in public but we were told she was successfully doing a lot of spy stuff without ever showing it to us! All her actions were summed up in a few lines like "yesterday, I searched all the offices and I found nothing".
Oh, okay then. Better get back to the suitors parade!
In order to avoid spoilers, I'll stay very vague, because we got a masked man in the lot, which identity was not yet revealed when I stopped reading (but you don't have to graduate from an Ivy League school to guess who that dude could be...).
So we had the prince, the prince guard and the vigilante, also known as Boring, Cliché and Kinda Hot. I have nothing to add.
Also, it was completely implausible that Wil didn't guess who the masked man was.
But again, I DNFed the book so maybe we get a good explanation later.

The other characters were meh.
I liked that Wil couldn't trust her team, that changed a bit. Melanie and Patrick were not very reliable and their intentions were not clear, it was an interesting premise to surround the MC with multi layered characters.
But the result was average. Their dialogues were more irritating than interesting and the suspense was not handled very well. Everything was guessable from a gazillion miles.
But again, I DNFed the book so maybe we get a good explanation later.

The story was not original. Same old song "I lost my kingdom, I want it back" and "magic exists but we're not allowed to use it". Zzzzz. I mean, at least SJM gives us smut steam. Kinda.
But again, I DNFed the book so maybe we get a good explanation later.

I kept reading for the masked man (cf. nickname given above - and you know it can't be good when you're holding on just for the sake of a hot dude) but he was definitely not enough to get me to the end.
I'll gladly read something else now, preferably a good book without lost princesses.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,406 reviews9,539 followers
December 20, 2015
MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List


When I first started this book, I couldn't get into it, it was slow, or maybe it was just my reading slump. Who knows, at any rate after I got back into reading it I enjoyed it. After a bit it picks up and is a really good story.

Wilhemina (Wil) is the orphan queen of Aecor. Her parents were killed many years ago during the 'One Night War' Wil and a bunch of other kids were taken to an orphanage. The Aecor kingdom is now watched over by some jerk. Anyway, a guy named Patrick, who is the leader of the Osprey's, rescues all of the kids and they join his group. They are all trying to get Wil back to Aecor and make the kingdom prosper again. But, not all is as it seems in this group.....

Here's a real Osprey if you interested ↓ He/she says hello!


Soooo... those that do magic can't do it any more because it has been banned. The reason for that is that the magic creates wraith, it's called a toxic by-product. What it does it gets into people and animals and mutates them. They are evil and try to kill everything when that happens. They have glow men, gargantuan cats, insects.. you get the picture. They can transform into whatever in some cases.


There is a guy that runs around in a mask killing the wraiths and taking anyone that uses magic to the police. People call him Black Knife.


Black Knife is trying to figure out Wil and her band of merry men and women to see if they are thieves or use magic... etc..

Wil has magic by the way and uses it every now and again.

Wil and her best friend Melanie, that is in the Osprey group too, plant themselves in the Palace acting like other noble women from another kingdom. This happens to be where the king that killed Wil's parents lives. Isn't life grand. But not all is as it seems of course. Oh and his son is there as well and she doesn't like him either.

Anyhoo.... Patrick is the leader of the Osprey's and he turns into a big ole jerk, trust me.

Wil starts going out on missions with Black Knife, yeah, they become friends and then fall in love.. isn't that sweet and they kill wraiths together and save people on the streets. Well all of that sweetness goes away when we find out who Black Knife really is.. that's always the case.. well mostly anyway.

The ending of the book was like.. um.. cliffhanger like that... really? Of course now I'm going to have to read the next book as I have a fondness for Will and Black Knife now. I like people that have bad arseness in them :)

I'm glad I pushed on through the book because it did turn out really good for me. I try to do that because a lot of times that is the case.


Profile Image for Elena.
569 reviews180 followers
September 25, 2015
Very enjoyable read! While I found the twist to be pretty obvious, I have to say: THAT CLIFFHANGER ! Can't wait to see how this continues in book 2!
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