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The Impostor Queen #2

The Cursed Queen

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Ansa has always been a fighter.

As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day her Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes.

Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she seeks to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts.

With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed.

432 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 3, 2017

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About the author

Sarah Fine

46 books2,002 followers
When I'm not writing, I'm psychologizing (really, I even get a paycheck for it). Sometimes I do both at the same time. The results are unpredictable.

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Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews843 followers
December 30, 2016
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine
Book Two of The Impostor Queen series
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Rating: 3 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

Ansa has always been a fighter.

As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day the Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes.

Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she tries to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts.

With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed.

What I Liked:

While I didn't think this was a terrible follow-up to The Impostor Queen, I'm not totally impressed with this book. I knew beforehand that it was a companion sequel, following the other important girl, the other side of the balance. I loved The Impostor Queen, and perhaps my expectations for this book were too high. My expectations for the author, maybe? This is the thirteenth book I've read by her. This would rank in one of my least favorites by her - though again, it wasn't bad.

Ansa is a fierce and vicious Krigere warrior, and she is hungry for Kupari blood. After the Kupari witch queen decimates the Krigere tribe, the Krigere are forced to combine with another tribe, led by a traitor to the Krigere. Ansa is loyal to the Krigere and to Thyra, the chieftain's daughter. But now Thyra is the new chieftain, and she has been challenged over and over. What's more, Ansa thinks she has been cursed by the witch queen - she is suddenly able to wield fire and ice, uncontrollably. Held captive by the traitor Nisse and unable to control her witch-like powers, Ansa must choose between her unshakable loyalty to her love and her thirst for vengeance on the Kupari. But the Kupari might not be the enemy Ansa is looking to hunt down...

Ansa is so different from Elli, the protagonist in The Impostor Queen. Ansa is bloodthirsty, a true Krigere (despite obviously being Kupari). She has copper hair and ice-blue eyes (signs of the Valtia - though she doesn't know that), but she was captured and dragged to the Krigere when she was five. She doesn't remember that... all she knows is how to be a Krigere; how to plunder and thieve, to kill and to vanquish. The Krigere are warriors, but they are merciless and senseless in their killing. This book was really good in going deep into Ansa's head, and in her past. She has worked so hard to become Krigere, which explains her bloodthirstiness. She is Thyra's wolf, and she is very desperate to be as Krigere as possible and belong.

Thyra, an important secondary character and Ansa's love interest, becomes the new chieftain of the Krigere, and she begins to take the Krigere in a different direction. She doesn't like the murdering and plundering, the stealing and capturing. This makes her seem weak, because she isn't a merciless warrior like the rest of the Krigere. But Thyra is more than a visionary chieftain; she is clever and wants the best for her tribe. Thyra is an immensely important character in this book, and not just because she is the love interest.

So, the female representation in this book was kickbutt. Ansa is fierce (why I disliked at times, but it was good to see at the same time), and Thyra is intelligent and fierce in her own way. There are other tough ladies in this story - for example, Halina, who helps Ansa even when Ansa doesn't know it.

And props to Sarah Fine for the LGBT representation, in terms of Ansa and Thyra's relationship. They struggle with their feelings for each other in this book, so they're not a couple to be exact, but they're getting there. Both have done terrible things behind the other's back, for the sake of the tribe, and both must learn to trust each other again. I liked seeing the development of their relationship; it was good to see Ansa remove the rose-colored glasses she has on when it comes to Thyra. It's not a swoony romance, but the relationship becomes strong.

We only see a few characters from The Impostor Queen in this book, one of which is Sig. I won't say more, but I wish we could have seen Elli and Oskar. But that will definitely happen in book three!

Moving on to the dislikes, because those are plentiful.

What I Did Not Like:

I don't know what it was about this book, but I just couldn't get into it. I never felt a sense of urgency while turning the pages; I just didn't care enough. Which is so sad, because I really really wanted to care. I LOVED The Impostor Queen! Why couldn't I love this book. I wanted this book to be just as interesting and wonderful and nail-biting as The Impostor Queen had been; it wasn't.

While I liked Ansa, I didn't really connect with her. She's so bloodthirsty and merciless, and her desire to kill was disconcerting. I will say that Fine did a great job in shaping Ansa's character, but I didn't like those aspects of her and really didn't connect with her. That made following the story a little more challenging, because I just didn't connect with Ansa, and the story is told entirely from her point-of-view.

Maybe I just didn't care about the Krigere, the Vasterutians, Nisse (the traitor chieftain)? There was something about this story that just wasn't doing it for me. I was a little bored as I was reading; I kept waiting for the hook that would drag me into the story, but it never appeared. Maybe I was too invested in Elli and Oskar, and missed their story? I don't know. I just know that I didn't totally love Ansa or her story, and I wasn't satisfied with "this side" of the story. I understand what Fine is trying to do here - tell both sides of the story - but I didn't really love this.

I also just didn't believe in Ansa and her magic. That aspect seemed forced - Ansa coming into her magic, and her struggle with it. It felt like the magic didn't belong in Ansa and shouldn't be there. I know Ansa is the supposed Valtia, but it felt weird that she had the fire and ice magic. I personally think she would make an awful queen, given her temperament and her tunnel vision.

I thought the romance was interesting, but it wasn't swoony or sweeping, like Elli and Oskar's. Perhaps because Ansa was already so in love with Thyra (and vice versa). There wasn't much to the romance; Ansa is practically obsessed with Thyra (which is fine? I guess?), and that's that. I was happy to see Thyra get taken down a few notches, in Ansa's mind. Ansa had made Thyra to be perfect, and it was far from the truth.

The plot of this book drags, to be honest. Ansa and the Krigere are taken to the tribe of the traitor chieftain, Nisse, and he holds them captive. When everyone finds out that Ansa is a double wielder (it's pretty impressive how they find out), Nisse jumps at the chance to use Ansa to destroy the Kupari. Ansa has to learn how to control her powers though. All of this was very... tedious. Uninteresting. The most interesting part of the story was the very end, when several big things were revealed. Even then, meh, okay.

I think I'm mostly just disappointed by how little I was able to connect with the main character, and the story. I just wasn't into it. It wasn't captivating, like The Impostor Queen. The spark wasn't there - literally, and figuratively.

Would I Recommend It:

I highly recommend The Impostor Queen. But given that this is companion novel, I think one might be safe in skipping The Cursed Queen and jumping straight to book three, in which Elli and Ansa converge. This book takes place concurrently with The Impostor Queen, so I'm sure book three will pick up right where both The Impostor Queen and The Cursed Queen left off.

So... I don't really recommend this one. It wasn't Fine's best work. It was a step down from The Impostor Queen, and lacking in something (or perhaps a lot of things). The vibrant world-building and mesmerizing story that Fine usually writes weren't in this book. As a huge Sarah Fine fan, I'm a little disappointed... but I also think it's good if you read/liked The Impostor Queen and have been dying to read this one, that you read it. This "meh" feeling could very well just be me (though I doubt it, since I've seen several DNF reviews on Goodreads).


3 stars. I'm hoping that book three will redeem the series and capture my heart once more. I miss Elli, and Oskar, and the other (more sane) characters of this world! While I appreciate Ansa and her strength, and enjoyed learning more about her and her background, I definitely prefer Elli's perspective. I hope there is a lot of Elli in book three!
Profile Image for Drew.
450 reviews501 followers
February 7, 2017
“Loyalty is precious, little red. Hard won, hard lost. Easily given, easily betrayed.”

3 1/2 stars. THAT is how you do a young adult fantasy.

I was so nervous to start this book after being recently disappointed by another eagerly anticipated 2017 release, Windwitch. I had the usual recurring thoughts: Am I finally growing out of YA? Was the first book REALLY as good as I remember? I needn't have worried, though - Sarah Fine is a masterful writer with sweet, searing prose, a gritty, intelligent storyline, and detailed characters you want to root for.

Another thing I was worried about were the new characters. When I heard this sequel to The Impostor Queen was following a whole new cast of characters, I inwardly cringed. Why couldn't we have the same awesome characters from the first book, Elli, Oskar, and Sig? I usually hate when authors change narrators mid-series. But when I was introduced to the lead lady of The Cursed Queen, Ansa, oh my - she was a whole new creature altogether.

Ansa is part of the cunning and bloodthirsty Krigere tribe and fought for her position as a warrior next to the Chieftan's daughter, Thyra. When she was little, she fought against the invaders who killed her parents. Fighting is all Ansa has ever known.

“Tears streaming down her face, shrieks bursting from her throat, she had dodged between legs, jabbed at soft spots, squirmed away from grasping hands, and sliced at thick-knuckled fingers. A tiny five-year-old exacting a blood toll from vicious barbarians.”

"Blood and victory" has always been the thought driving Ansa, until the day she gets cursed by the Kupari Queen. Forced to hide her new fire and ice powers lest her tribesmen call her a practicer of witchcraft, Ansa is suddenly thrown into confusion about where her loyalties lie.

I absolutely loved the writing. When the very first sentence made me catch my breath and sent shivers down my spine, I knew this was going to be good. Also, I was beyond impressed with the magic system! It was so complex compared to most magic in YA fantasy - heck, even adult fantasy - which usually only has some vague mentions of an evil ruler in a land where some people have random, magical powers with no rules. Throw in a prophecy and that just about covers it.

In this series, though, magic is limited to fire and ice. Everyone has some amount of magic - think of it as a 1-10 scale - and people use it in different ways, whether it's for farming, entertainment, or staving off enemies.

While I really enjoyed this book, one thing did bug me and it's the same thing I disliked in the first one: the romance. I don't understand why the author had to put it in; it didn't add anything to the plot, but rather distracted from all the awesome battle scenes. Plus, when Ansa wouldn't stop going on and on about Thyra's mouth, it made me want to skip ahead a few pages and get back to the action.

“…when she moans and parts her lips, a taste of heaven is my reward…”

“…She kisses my forehead, and the feel of her lips is heaven…”

Thankfully, Ansa had more important things to focus on than Thyra, and the romance wasn't the center of the plot. When I reached The Cursed Queen's perfect, cliffhanging ending, I was bursting with anticipation for the third book that will bring Ansa and Elli together. I am so pumped.
Profile Image for Norah Una Sumner.
855 reviews453 followers
Want to read
June 3, 2016
Edit: Look, there's a cover. I... don't know how I feel about it to be honest.

Oh, I didn't really expect the author to introduce a new narrator in the sequel! Interesting, indeed.

Profile Image for Justine.
1,158 reviews312 followers
June 7, 2017
Not quite a 4, but I'm rounding up largely because of the very well done relationship between Ansa and Thyra.

This book takes place contemporaneously in time with the events of the first book, The Impostor Queen. When Elli didn't inherit the magic of the Valtia, it went to Oskar's cousin Ansa instead. Ansa was taken as a child in a raid by the Krigere, and raised to become a warrior of the tribe.

There is just as much intrigue and scheming for power among the Krigere as there is at the temple back in Kupari. But one of the most interesting parts of the book is the development of the relationship between Ansa and her fellow warrior leader, Thyra. There is so little in the way of LGBTIQ romance in YA fantasy and it is nice to see it done well, with no sign of a triangle or other such complication in sight. There are still complications, of course, but they are grounded in the different personalities of Ansa and Thyra and the difficult circumstances they find themselves in.

Like the first book, this one took a bit to get going, but there is plenty of action and I thought the fight scenes were particularly well written. It was great to see the other piece of the story that was hinted at in The Impostor Queen, and like its predecessor, The Cursed Queen closes well but sets the stage nicely for the final book.
Profile Image for Fafa's Book Corner.
513 reviews306 followers
May 8, 2017

Mini review:

I loved the previous book The Impostor Queen! This was one of my anticipated releases of 2017. Unfortunately I did not enjoy it.

A lot of the things Ansa said and thought made me sick to my stomach. Ansa is raised in a very brutal tribe and for them this is the norm. It just didn't sit well with me.

I do still recommend it because a lot of people enjoyed this book.
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews710 followers
April 2, 2017
***This review has also been posted on Xpresso Reads

OKAY SO JUST READ THE IMPOSTER QUEEN and THE CURSED QUEEN and EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY. I dove in expecting to love The Cursed Queen and while I did struggle some with it, it packs just as much of a punch as The Imposter Queen. Both books have their strengths and weaknesses. The weaknesses of TIQ are the strengths of TCQ and vise versa in my opinion.

While both Elli and Ansa are strong heroines, they are also very different from each other and I enjoyed that. Ansa is not as easily likable as Elli was and that was one of the reasons why it took me longer to get into the novel but her journey and her character development is worth it. Even though Ansa is not as likeable, she is still a well-written character. She is complex and even though I AM SCREAMING AT HER NOT TO MAKE THE CHOICES she does, I still understand them.

The romance in this one is so painful too because I just wanted Thyra and Ansa to KISS but GODDAMNIT EVERYTHING IS PAINFUL and the OTP is painful and so much pain. They are perfect for each other though. They are foils and as cheesy as it sounds, they make each other better people because in their own ways, they push each other to strive to be better. Thyra is also more than just a love interest. She is a complex character and one you aren’t always sure of but….. I am going to leave that sentence hanging because I love being vague.

I am not entirely sure if it was the pacing or my getting distracted by my phone a lot but I didn’t ~really~ get into the book until the second half. The first half was GOOD and engaging but I didn’t get really sucked in until some shit went down and made me more than a little excited to flip the pages. I was about to put the book down for the night and just continue reading the next day BUT THEN THINGS HAPPENED and I was up until 5:30 AM reading the book :’)

Ansa’s world is very different than Elli’s. They’ve grown up amongst very different kind of people who value very different things. I dont like writing in books but I had to mark a couple passages in this one because Fine makes A+ commentary about social issues through the differences in these worlds and her words are so powerful. That’s one of the amazing strengths of this book and one that made me cherish it even more.

Politics, betrayals, magic, first love, this series has it all. At the end of The Imposter Queen I was sure I was #teamElli for queen but after finishing The Cursed Queen, I am not so sure anymore about where my loyalities lie. Either way, the both of them will give each other a good run for their money and I am going to want the next book right now so I can DEVOUR it and also have cute OTP moments. PLEASE READ THESE BOOKS. They are so so underappreciated but so amazing and should be read and loved by a whole lot more people.

Note that I received an advanced copy of this book for review.
Profile Image for Jordon.
305 reviews22 followers
July 22, 2018
Review originally posted at Simply Adrift.

The Cursed Queen is a companion novel to The Impostor Queen .

- When I first started reading this I thought there was only going to be two books in this series, I only realised half way through there were more. Which made way more sense. Because nothing was making sense when I thought that this was the last book in the series.

What I liked

- Thrya. Thyra is Ansa's love interest and she is one amazing, mature, and strong woman. She believes in herself and her thoughts despite everyone else around her trying to pull her down. She was the sole thing, and character I liked about this book.

What I didn't like

- Ansa. Oh my god. She was such a brat. Immature, annoying, selfish, just a really self-centred and mean person. I did not like her in any capacity. This made it really hard for me to enjoy this book at all. How can you enjoy a book when you HATE the main character?

- There were major trust issues in this book. One minute Ansa was on Thyra's side but then the next minute she would talk to Thyra's uncle and would all of a sudden be on his side. Ansa couldn't make up her mind but then the reader couldn't either. I didn't like this because I felt so lost, I didn't know who to believe, I didn't know where the story was going, and I was bored of trying to figure it out.

- This book is set at the same time that Elli's story in book one is happening. We read Ansa's story, and it feels like the story as a whole doesn't progress one bit. I was bored. I really wish that The Impostor Queen had simply chosen to have two POV's and we had got to read Ansa's story in book one instead.

- The Cursed Queen did not live up to my expectations at all. I didn't like the main character a single bit, and I kept waiting to read Elli's story but she doesn't make an appearance.

- While I didn't enjoy this book that much, book three will be worth it. I mean The True Queen is the title, so how can it not get better? I definitely have to pick up the next book in the hopes it gets better, I loved the first book so I really don't want to leave this series with this book as the memory of it.


This review was originally posted on Simply Adrift
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,365 followers
February 10, 2017


The Impostor Queen was an amazing book for me last year. While I was very eager to read The Cursed Queen, part of me was a little nervous as well because I learned that The Cursed Queen would not follow Elli & Oskar. Still, I was giddy about the thought of a F/F fantasy romance, and having read most of Sarah Fine’s books, I was certain this book would not disappoint. In the end, I had mixed feelings – there were bits and pieces that I really loved, but there were also elements that frustrated me to no ends.

With companion series, it’s hard not to want to compare the main characters in one book to the other. I think this is where my mixed feelings really stemmed from when it comes to The Cursed Queen. I loved Elli, but Ansa, the protagonist here, was a little tough at times. I am all for flawed heroines in my books, but their growth needs to feel realistic to me. With Ansa, while I got the flawed part, I didn’t think she grew all that much. In all honesty, she wasn’t the most likeable or even tolerable. Her personality throughout The Cursed Queen was very much understandable. She has her whole life turned upside down when she gains her destructive powers and she’s completely terrified, but I wish she hadn’t lied so much or tried to evade the truth at every instant. Ansa was ruthless and rarely ever showed guilt or remorse in The Cursed Queen for her deadly actions, something that I had a hard time with. I will say that by the end Ansa was a much different character, she was stronger and much more stable, but I wanted to see the progression of her character and that didn’t feel natural here to me. I felt very similarly about her love interest, Thyra. I admired her and her resilience, but at the same time, I wanted to see more of a growth to her character.

What I did really enjoy in The Cursed Queen was the background we get on the politics in Sarah Fine’s world. It’s intricate, and at times, complicated, but Fine does a terrific job at building her world from the foundations. We learn so much more about the “other side”, the different societies and communities and the magic/curse that Ansa acquires. I was curious to see how Ansa’s story would tie in with Elli’s, and by the end of the book, those loose ends were tied together. All the revelations and twists have me really eager for Ansa and Elli to come together in the series finale. I really loved the idea of the romance between Ansa and Thyra, and they had some serious potential, but it was difficult for me to actually ship these two because of all the lies and betrayals between them. I also think because there was a lack of build up to the romance, I was just disinterested in it. There were moments here and there, especially towards the end, where I really loved what I saw of Ansa and Thyra as a couple. I really do hope that the finale will build more on those romantic elements and give me the swoony romance that I so want for these two girls.

For me, The Impostor Queen was a stronger story because I liked the characters there better. However, plot and world building wise, The Cursed Queen was superior. Even though I wasn’t entirely impressed with this sequel, I am desperately looking forward to reading The True Queen. More than anything, The Cursed Queen was a terrific set up for that final book.
Profile Image for Jesse Nicholas.
281 reviews65 followers
July 31, 2017
The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine is the sequel to last year's action packed fantasy, The Impostor Queen. The story picks up across the sea with our new main protagonist, Ansa. She was part of the big take over that we see in the first book and as events intertwine with both stories, we get to explore a new side of this world!

The Good

New Characters

As this is a companion novel to The Impostor Queen, we get a whole new cast of characters to explore. In The Impostor Queen we met Elli, the one they believed to be the next Valtia but as we read wasn't true. But in The Cursed Queen we meet an orphan to the Krigere tribe, Ansa, that happens to be the real Valtia without her knowing. I loved how strong Ansa was. She has fought her whole life to fit in with the people that destroyed her life and stole her away from her village. This shows in her bloodthirsty demeanor and attitude.

The Cursed Queen does not fall in terms of their strong representation of tough female characters. We also meet Thyra, the chieftains daughter. She was one of my favorites in the book. She proved that you didn't need to kill to get what you want. She proved her skills on the battlefield as well in the mental fields!

World Building

We cross the sea in The Cursed Queen and get to witness life away from the Valtia's reaches. Life across the sea is savage and primitive. They are filled with warriors that kill and maim their enemies and innocents alike. We explore new cities and villages and it shows how vast the world Fine has created really is!

Fine's descriptions are vivid and beautifully depicted. I did not have trouble picturing what was going on!

LGBT Representation

LGBT representation is not a must have for me in every story I read, but when it's there I jump for joy. Especially when it is harder to come by in the fantasy genre. Our main characters Ansa and Thyra both harbor feelings for each other. We see them struggle with them throughout The Cursed Queen. Do I think they are a good fit for each other? You'll just have to read about it below. Just know that I really enjoyed having LGBT characters in the story.

The Bad

Bad Romance

As I said above, Ansa and Thyra have blossoming feelings for each other. But sadly it falls flat for me. I don't think they connect well with each other and I don't see a spark between them. Does this mean that one won't develop in the next book? Who knows, maybe I will change my mind then. But as of now I just don't see them being a a good fit for each other.
Profile Image for Ara Montoya.
152 reviews28 followers
October 29, 2017
No me gustó tanto como "La Reina Impostora" pero está muy bien. ¿Lo mejor? La autora se tomó el tiempo de ampliar este mundo y es fascinante. ¿Lo peor? Ansa. Mejoró un poco hacia el final pero las últimas páginas volvieron a dejarme desconcertada. No la entiendo en absoluto. Me pica la curiosidad por saber como convergen los caminos de Elli y Ansa en el final de la trilogía.
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 18 books2,499 followers
April 13, 2017
I like this series so much and I'm so happy I enjoyed this one at least as much as its predecessor if not more so. F/f fantasy FTW, always, and I loved reading an MC who's a warrior at heart, and Thyra was such a great counterpoint in someone who could seriously do the killing that needed to be one but didn't really share Ansa's thirst or values. So much intrigue, so many good characters, and it was cool to see how it tied into the first book although I think you might be able to read this without that and be fine? Curious to hear from someone who does!
Profile Image for Paula Reyes Wagner.
401 reviews42 followers
February 9, 2018
Fue una fortuna llegar a estos libros, literalmente, ya que la Tole se ganó el primero en la FILSA2016 y yo este en FILSA2017, gracias a la editorial Zig Zag =)
Me encantan los libros de fantasía y estos son pura pura fantasía, por lo que me lo he pasando genial leyéndolos, confío en que la editorial traiga el tercero pronto (sería la vida que nos lo ganaramos jajaja).

Sobre el libro
En esta ocasión la protagonista es Ansa, que fue un botín del saqueo que hicieron los bárbaros a su familia donde murieron sus dos padres. Ansa fue adoptada por los Krigere y ahora es una guerrera que solo piensa en ganar marcas de muerte (una por cada asesinato que cometa) y en saquear a tribus más débiles. Lo único que quiere es pertenecer realmente a su tribu y ser aceptada.
Todo cambia luego de que los Krigere salen en una expedición para saquear a un pueblo () y Ansa es maldita con una brujería que no entiende y no puede controlar.
Desde ahí comienza su viaje, donde descubriremos información muy relevante, donde habrá muchas intrigas, traición, confusión y magia.


Fue una lectura rápida dentro de todo, cuando leía lo hacía sin pausas, más bien leí en cada oportunidad que tuve. El ritmo creo que estuvo bien, ni muy lento ni muy rápido.
Principalmente estaba muy metida, sabiendo las cosas que aprendimos en el libro anterior, me ponía impaciente porque las cosas salieran bien para los Kupari.

Muchas, pero muchas veces estuve confundida, no sabía en quién confiar y eso es principalmente, porque Ansa tampoco lo sabía.
Por un lado, teníamos a Thyra, la jefa de la tribu, a quién le debía lealtad, Thyra quería que la tribu se estableciera, que dejaran los saqueos y matanzas y cambiaran su estilo de vida, en general estaba de acuerdo con ella, pero sus formas no siempre me convencían.

Luego estaba Sander, que fue el compañero de entrenamiento de Ansa por años, prácticamente su hermano, nunca se sabía qué lado iba a tomar, sus comentarios casi siempre eran ambiguos.

Nisse, el tío de Thyra, fue acusado de traición y se llevó a miles de guerreros con él a conquistar la ciudad.estado de Vasterut, él siempre negó la traición, pero Thyra insistía en que sí lo había hecho, así que estaba muy confundida al respecto. Lo que no me dejaba confiar totalmente en él fue su actitud cuando los Krigere de Thyra llegaron a Vasterut .

Por último, Jaspar, me gustaba como personaje, y en general me sentía cómoda con él. .

Hubo cosas obvias gracias a la información del libro anterior, como que

Ahora a esperar el tercer libro y ver cómo se juntan ambas historias.
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,478 reviews1,894 followers
January 2, 2018
"You are an arrow, Ansa. You fly straight. You find your target. You do not twist and bend."

THE CURSED QUEEN was a very twisty tale of backstabbing and intrigue and betrayal and confusion, along with a lot of tribal politics and moral dilemmas littered with ethical self-reflection and questions about where one belongs. While I appreciate Fine sticking with her LGBTQ themes for this series (book one featured a bisexual female lead and this sequel featured a lesbian pairing) I definitely enjoyed the romance in THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN more. Infact I enjoyed book one in general a lot more. Though I can't really say whether the lead up was totally worth it, I was pretty happy with the ending and am really looking forward to the showdown between these two main female leads as their stories converge in book three.

Is it better to lead a soft, timid people or serve a fierce, strong tribe?

2.75 stars
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,395 reviews158 followers
February 7, 2017
Three stars: A book with a frustrating main character and a story that falls flat.

Ansa has fought her whole young life to prove that she is a fierce warrior. Kidnapped and taken as a raid prize after her parents were murdered, Ansa has carved out a life amongst the Krigere tribe. The Krigere are a fierce people, who raid and conquer weaker people. They are blood thirsty and violent. Their latest conquest is to take over the Kupari, who are led by a witch queen who wields fire and ice. After the horrifying battle, Ansa finds herself cursed by the witch queen. Her body possesses dark magic of fire and ice. To make matters worse, her people are threatened by their dead Chieftain's brother, Nisse. Ansa vows to be loyal to Thyra, the new chieftain, whom she is secretly in love with. However, Ansa will soon find her loyalties stretched to the breaking point. Can she come to terms with who she is and conquer the curse?
What I Liked:
*I was a big fan of The Impostor Queen last year, and I had high hopes for The Cursed Queen. While this book doesn't shine like it's predecessor, it still features an exciting story, complex characters and excellent world building. While I didn't love this one quite as much, I did like the way things ended, and I have high hopes that the stage is set for a brilliant finale.
*Ms. Fine's world building is always top notch. This book returned to the world we were introduced to in the last book, but it is decidedly different. This time, the reader is introduced to the Krigere: the fierce, blood thirsty tribe who attacked the Kupari in the first book. Once I found my footing, I liked exploring the other side of the story. I will be interested to see how these two civilizations collide in the next book.
*This book is all about the girls. Ansa, the main character, is one who I found required extreme patience. Even though I had my issues with her throughout the book, I was pleased to see that she finally reached her potential and came to terms with her identity, for the most part. The character who ended up stealing the show for me was Thyra. My opinion of her wavered throughout the book, but when all the chips were laid out on the table, I was impressed that she stayed true to her beliefs and that she stayed her course, no matter how bad things got for her.
*I liked many of the secondary characters. I adored Halina. She was brave and willing to stare down danger no matter the cost. Sander was another character who surprised me, in the end, he stole my heart. I also liked getting to know another side of Sig, I will be interested to see him again in the next book.
*I enjoyed the complexity of the plot. There are many story arcs that weave together. Plus, there is danger, treachery and some jaw dropping twists. It was hard to know whom to trust. I liked that I was constantly guessing.
*I was pleased that the book didn't end on a brutal cliffhanger. Yes, there are still story arcs needing to be completed, but at least this book ended neatly, for the most part.
And The Not So Much:
*I struggled immersing into this story. I felt so lost, and I couldn't figure out why. At first, I thought I was suffering from severe book amnesia because none of the characters were familiar and the story wasn't fitting in with the story lines from the first book. It was troubling. Finally toward the end, things began to click into place. I didn't realize that this was a companion novel. Readers be warned, this is a completely different story from the first book.
*Ansa.....where do I start with her? Don't get me wrong, I like strong female characters, which Ansa embodies. She is a fierce warrior, strong and capable. My problem with her was that she was rash, impetuous and unable to stick to her convictions. She is alway flip flopping, easily manipulated, unable to be loyal to anyone, even her beloved, Thyra. She is immature and frustrating. I kept expecting her to show signs of growth and maturity, she finally reaches that point in the final pages, and yes it was rewarding, but it was a struggle to put up with her until then. I am hopeful that she will be a character that I will like better in the next book.
*This book features a female/female romance. I struggled with the romance not because it was f/f but because it wasn't one that was subtle. From the first pages, all the reader gets is Ansa's lust over Thryra, it was bold and in your face. I like more depth and slow movement. Then it was disappointing to see how quickly Ansa changed her feelings. After all the chaos, it does move into a more positive light, and I am hopeful. However, I think my disappointment stemmed from the fact that usually I adore Ms. Fine's romances because they have so much depth and feeling and they are slow bloomers. The romance in this one doesn't even compare.

The Cursed Queen was a book that I had high hopes for as I loved the first book. Even though I was a harsh critic of this book, because I have grown to expect the best from Ms. Fine, this book still was worth the read due to it's interesting story, excellent world building and complex characters. Keep in mind, this is a companion book and that it features an independent story from the first book. At the end of this book, it was apparent that Ms. Fine has set the stage for what will hopefully be an epic finale.

I borrowed a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.
Posted@Rainy Day Ramblings.

Profile Image for Sarah.
137 reviews232 followers
January 2, 2017
"The Cursed Queen" by Sarah Fine was my final read of 2016, which was so perfect, considering my final read of 2015 was the first installment in the series, "The Impostor Queen" . If you read my review  last year, you'll know that I LOVED it. So, did I love "The Cursed Queen" as much? Well, you'll just have to keep reading to find out.

Although, some people have billed "The Cursed Queen" as a sequel to "The Impostor Queen", it definitely ended reading as more of a companion novel to me. While this book takes place in the same world and deals with the same conflicts as Impostor Queen, we follow a completely different branch of the story with new characters, new lands and new societies. The world that Sarah Fine so expertly crafted in her first book continues to expand in scope, which gave me an even greater understanding and appreciation of BOTH books. 

In Cursed Queen we follow Ansa and her quest to find her place in the world after having it completely turned upside down. Throughout the book she is tested and tried...her loyalties, actions and motives are all questioned, and she never quite knows where she fits in. For every revelation she makes, she's faced with another mystery, and that leads to a lot of twists and revelatory moments for the reader. The whole time I was reading this book, I never quite felt like I had it all figured out..and I loved it.

I found it refreshing to read a book in which same-sex relationships were a simple fact of the society. It wasn't a big revelation or plot device...it just was. Ansa's relationship with her love interest was complicated and dynamic, and it led to a whole lot of drama and confusion. Which, of course, only added to the intrigue of the story. 

Cursed Queen is a bit more of a slow burn than Impostor Queen was. There is a lot of build-up and uncovering of secrets in hushed tones and dark corners. I was totally intrigued by the competing forces working with and against Ansa and loved that fact that I was left guessing until the very end. I'm so eager for the third book, "The True Queen" , to be released so I can put it all together. By the end of Cursed Queen, it's clear the first two books will finally come together in an epic finale!
Profile Image for Alexa.
2,214 reviews11.7k followers
February 10, 2017
I can say pretty confidently that I think I enjoyed The Cursed Queen just as much as its predecessor. The story is very different, since the girl who we are reading about has an entirely different set of circumstances and journey to manage. But I thought it was interesting to read about a girl of two worlds, bred to be a warrior and still finding her own way. It was really well-done, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews908 followers
Want to read
August 5, 2016
Ok I need to find out if this is on Edelweiss.. Don't think I can wait until 2017 for it
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,127 reviews2,172 followers
January 6, 2017
I have to echo other readers on this one--The Cursed Queen is a disappointing sequel to The Imposter Queen. Fine set up a rich, intricate fantasy world with the latter that only continues in its depth with this novel. With The Imposter Queen we followed Elli, her succession to becoming the Valtia and the subsequent chaos that ensued when her magic didn't manifest as it was supposed to. Thus, going into The Cursed Queen, the reader already knows what's happening to Ansa as the Valtia's power flows into her. The strength of this story lies in the fact that Ansa, at a young age, was taken captive to the Krigere tribe where she was raised to be a warrior.

Ansa has never given a second thought to her true heritage, completely embracing the Krigere ways of slaughter and bloodshed. Especially compared to Elli, Ansa is a violent and impulsive protagonist, prone to enormous waves of emotion that threaten the delicate control she has over her abilities. Her Krigere upbringing has taught her that she is a witch, now, and Ansa despises herself and her powers. At the same time, however, the politics of her tribe throw her life into further turmoil. Thyra, the new chieftain of their tribe following her father's sudden death, has always been a pacifist. Though she is a deadly warrior in her own right, she believes that the Krigere way--plundering, murdering, and stealing another society's food and people--isn't right. Now that she's chieftain, Thyra wants to change it all.

But it isn't as easy as she thinks. Ansa is loyal to Thyra, and loves her deeply, but as the two girls fight their own battles--Ansa with her magic, Thyra as she tries to gain the loyalty of her tribe and find a peaceful way for them to continue onwards without coming to war--their friendship to one another is tested. Ansa and Thyra's relationship is at the core of this novel and while I loved that this homosexual romance was never ostracized or discouraged, I didn't come to feel for it the way I did Elli's romance in The Imposter Queen. Ansa and Thyra have not been strictly truthful with one another and they hold each other in an impossible regard, believing that the other is perfect. I enjoyed watching their relationship grow and change as they began to recognize that they were different people than they originally thought each other to be. However, their romance was a hard sell for me because Ansa loves Thyra, but she doesn't love Thyra's new ways of thinking. And, similarly, Thyra loves Ansa but she doesn't love Ansa's one-track mind and blinders when it comes to the flaws of the Krigere people.

In addition to the romance, Ansa as a heroine was difficult to sympathize with. I dislike the phrase "unlikable heroine", mainly because it implies that women are constantly meant to be likable and understandable. I like these "unlikable" heroines because they are the women who don't fit the mold and challenge our traditional values of womanhood. Ansa, by and large, does all this. She's violent, she's impulsive, and she's stubborn and unwilling to change her mind, even if it's Thyra begging her to reconsider how the Krigere people live. It isn't easy to read a novel from her perspective, mainly because she's so close-minded but also because she makes so many tragic mistakes while struggling with her power and in her quest to firmly belong to one thing and put herself in a box. I like the parallels between how both Elli and Ansa find themselves questioning everything they've known and their place in society. But, where Elli won my heart, Ansa is a heroine who takes a long time to grow up. I thought her growth would be more remarkable in the second-half of the novel, but instead she continues to be stubborn and repeat mistakes, only realizing her errors and growing up in the last few chapters.

I will say, though, that it was Thyra, finally, who I adored by the end of the novel. She sticks to her convictions, doesn't shirk her responsibilities, and is loyal to her tribe despite her misgivings about their lifestyle. She's willing to do whatever it takes to achieve peace, whether that be through a battle or another, less combative, means. I also love that Thyra pushes Ansa to think beyond the barriers society has erected for her and she never gives up on Ansa, even when Ansa is at her peak levels of stubborness. It was certainly an interesting choice to read this book from the perspective of Ansa--the character who believes in killing all other groups of people without regard for their culture or traditions or even peace just because she's more powerful--instead of the more rational-minded Thyra. But, I also give props to Fine for her daring and experimentation because, frankly, I think Ansa's perspective came across very well, which made it difficult to enjoy this novel but also seems necessary for the final installment.

Fine is a master of plot and world-building, and neither of those is lacking in this sequel. The Cursed Queen is thrilling and fast-paced and I particularly loved getting to delve deeper into the class and race relations of this world. I really love how they force readers to think about the prejudices we carry in our own society, too, and I am curious to see how all these different people and cultures can come together to find peace and balance in the final installment. Mostly, though, I am excited for Elli to return to the page. I missed her rational mind and calm thinking. Ansa is perfectly drawn up, in this sequel, but the pacing of her growth and the distinct lack of swoon in her relationship to Thyra (and by this I mean my confusion at why they were in love with each other when they clearly didn't really even know each other truly) made this a difficult novel to fall for. Of course, I am absolutely sticking around for the final book but I wouldn't rush out to pick this one up, especially if you were a fan of The Imposter Queen. In my humble opinion, lowered expectations are the way to go with this one.
Profile Image for Kelly Gunderman.
Author 2 books77 followers
February 6, 2017
Check out this and other reviews on my young adult book blog, Here's to Happy Endings!

For those who know me, you've probably seen me gushing over Sarah Fine's The Impostor Queen since before it was even published last year - it was instantly one of my favorite books. To be completely honest, this is only the second Sarah Fine book that I've read. I don't know why - her writing is magical and her characters are simply so well written that I feel like I actually know them in real life.

While reading The Impostor Queen is really helpful to understand some of the things in this book, the good news is that if you haven't read it, that's okay, too. You can easily pick things up as they go along. While The Impostor Queen told the story of sixteen year old Elli, the girl who was chosen to be the next Valtia in the kingdom of Kupari, despite the fact that she seems to lack any actual power of ice and fire, this story is told from the viewpoint of Ansa, a member of the Krigere tribe - an enemy of the Kupari.

So like I said, while helpful to pick up the first book prior to this, the events here happen at pretty much the same time as the events in The Impostor Queen are happening, and both books are leading us up to an explosive conclusion in third and final book, which releases next year.

Ansa is kidnapped from her mother when she is just a child, and raised as part of the Krigere tribe. She works hard to be a warrior, alongside her friend and love interest, Thyra, who is the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. Completely in love with Thyra, she faces her rejection on a daily basis, confused by all the feelings that she has to deal with, alongside fighting with her fellow warriors, and losing them all in a battle against the Valtia of the Kupari in a battle that occurs in the beginning of the book.

When the Chieftain of the tribe is killed, and Thyra gets her turn to stand up and lead the warriors, no one can take her seriously - after all, she is a small girl who doesn't like to deal with conflict, and instead would much rather take a passive approach to dealing with problems. Ansa offers her loyalty and assistance to Thyra, because despite everything else that is going on, she can't help but have feelings for her.

"She peels away my armor and pokes what's underneath. Part of me hates it. And the rest of me doesn't want it to stop."

During the battle that takes place in the beginning of the book, Ansa has an encounter with the Valtia, and once touched by her, notices that she has been given a curse - she can start fires and cause ice and wind, even when she isn't trying. When she starts burning shelters and killing those who offend her on accident, she has to do her best to hide the curse - unlike the Kupari, the Krigere reject magic and feel it is a sign of witchcraft, and they simply won't tolerate it. When she confesses to Thyra, Thyra tries her hardest to help her, but feels betrayed, which causes a rift in their relationship.

Brokenhearted and feeling alone, the group of Krigere make their way to Thyra's uncle's tribe - where he is the Chieftain and together the two tribes can join together, much to Thyra's dismay.

When they reach Thyra's uncle's tribe, Ansa has to deal with loads of new information about Thyra, her curse, and the real evil that threatens their tribe.

While I really loved The Impostor Queen, I felt like there was something missing in this book. It was a really great second installment, don't get me wrong, and I am so excited for the next book in the series! But at the same time, I didn't feel like I was able to really connect to Ansa's character as well as I was able to connect to Elli's in The Impostor Queen. This book, however, adds necessary story elements that will come about in the final book. While I found it a bit difficult to keep some of the other characters straight (there were an abundance of them, and a good portion of them seemed to lack any distinguishing personality traits), I really found myself liking some of them at the end of the book that I didn't really like much at the beginning, much to my surprise.

I loved that while Ansa's feelings for Thyra didn't take center stage, they did play a vital role in the story. It is a very complicated relationship that the two of them share, and while it wasn't an "over the top" love story, it added a nice element that made Ansa's character appear more realistic. She had to come to terms to figure out who she was and what she wanted, all while battling a weird curse that was causing her to accidentally kill people. Talk about awkward.

If you haven't read the first book in the series, and you like fantasy, go read it! It's a spectacular book that has so much going on. If you have read it, you need to read this one, too! There's a lot in here that adds to the first novel in the series, so it isn't one that you should overlook if you enjoyed the first novel.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Profile Image for Moony (Captain Mischief) MeowPoff.
1,567 reviews133 followers
July 7, 2021
I struggled with liking Ansa and Thyra for a while in the book. they were sort of annoying and not good annoying. Plus most of the time around 93% of the time, Ansa went around without thinking. Do first, think later and i felt that she was accsepted and forgiven too quickly. Thyra was annoying how she kept on deciving and twisting things around, and Ansa kept coming back. It was good, it just wasn`t as good as the 1th book.
Profile Image for Jenni Frencham.
1,284 reviews52 followers
December 11, 2017
Ansa has been brought up as a warrior. Even though she was kidnapped and brought to her tribe as a prize, she considers herself to be Krigere. When her people cross the lake in an attempt to raid another city, Ansa is cursed by their witch-queen. She tries - and fails - to control her curse, which has given her the powers of fire and ice, as her wounded, nearly defeated tribe treks to a city to join with a similar tribe. Ansa has to search her heart for what it means to be Krigere, where her loyalties lie, and how to live with the secrets she's been dealt.

This book is a fantastic follow-up to The Impostor Queen. I enjoyed the first book, but was interested to see the battle from the other side of the lake, as it were. One of the things I especially appreciated about this fantasy world was that same-sex couples were taken as a matter of course; Ansa herself is attracted to a woman and was raised by two men, but this is not seen as unusual in her tribe. I am very excited to see where the third book takes us.

Recommended for: teens
Red Flags: lots of fantasy violence
Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

Read-Alikes: Three Dark Crowns, Ever the Hunted, Graceling
Profile Image for Erin Arkin.
1,686 reviews357 followers
February 18, 2017
The Cursed Queen is book two in The Impostor Queen series by Sarah Fine and if you haven’t read that book yet, what are you waiting for? I really enjoyed book one so of course, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on book two. But…I was a bit confused. The Cursed Queen is listed as a companion and I wasn’t prepared to get a completely different side of the story but now that I finished I understand why Fine wrote the books the way she did and I honestly can’t wait to see how book three goes!

The Cursed Queen introduces us to Ansa as the main character and the Krigere tribe. Ansa’s village was invaded by the Krigere when she was young and she was taken as a raid prize. As she grew up within the tribe, she fought to be considered one of them even though they were the ones who murdered her family. If there was one thing that stood out most to me about Ansa, it was her desire to belong. She wanted to be a part of something and she actually blamed her parents for not being strong enough to survive the attack which I found interesting. Ansa’s biggest desire was to be a warrior and to be by Thyra’s, the daughter of the Chieftain, side no matter what.

The event that changes everything for everyone in the tribe is the Krigere’s invasion of Kupari. The Krigere are known for taking anything they want and the Chieftain’s plan is to invade Kupari and make it his. Unfortunately for everyone, the witch queen of Kupari has other plans for them. As she decimates almost their entire population of warriors, Ansa makes a last ditch effort to kill the witch queen and surprisingly, she survives but she has been cursed with fire and ice.

With the majority of their warriors gone and the chieftain dead, Thyra has to figure out what to do. As a warrior she knows how to fight but she also has this weird notion that they don’t always have to be taking and this makes some of the warriors think she isn’t a strong leader. Immediately, Thyra is challenged to earn the respect of the remainder of her tribe and Ansa is right there by her side to fight with her, despite the issues she is having with the curse.

In addition to all of those things going on, we find out the tribe is in even more danger Thyra’s traitorous uncle, Nisse, finds out that Lars is dead, he sends his son and a small army to bring them to him in a town he invaded and has been living in for the last year. There is definitely some bad blood between Thyra, Nisse, and Jasper (son/cousin) because of what happened to get them expelled from the tribe. As Ansa tries to not only control the curse, but figure out where her place is, she is pushed to make decisions that she isn’t prepared to make. That was one of the most frustrating things about her character. She wanted to belong so much, she was afraid to make the wrong choice – or to quote Sander – “jump”.

Fine did a fantastic job of building out the world these characters live in. Whether they are fighting for their lives in the water, trekking across the land to get to an invaded town, or surviving in a town that doesn’t belong to them, I was able to picture everything clearly. All of the characters were well developed and the secondary characters really helped push the story along. There are quite a few and I can’t name them all but Sander, Halina, Jasper, and Sig all stood out for me.

As I mentioned, this book is listed as a companion to the Impostor Queen and there were times where I was trying to figure out the correlation…outside of the invasion. But Fine ties I all together toward the end when we learn more about who Ansa really is and the curse she has. I was happy to see that when she thought about what Sig was trying to tell her, she was able to control herself and protect those important to her vs. just letting the curse take over. I do admit, there were times where I found myself flipping back to my copy of book one just so I could tie the stories together and I kind of wished I had done a reread of The Impostor Queen before I read this one just so it was all fresh in my mind as there are references to the Valtia and Kupari…things I wanted to remember.

With all of that said, I like how Fine set these stories up as separate books instead of alternating chapters in one or two books. Like I said, at first I was sad I wouldn’t get more of Elli’s story in this one but now that I see how Ansa’s and Elli’s stories will intersect I can’t even wait to get my hands on book three! If you haven’t started this series yet, you should totally fix that. If you are looking for something that has magic, friendship, danger, and deception…this is the book for you. Check it out when you can!

Thank you to the publisher for the review copy.
Profile Image for Nicole M. M..
Author 1 book290 followers
January 4, 2017
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

This second book in The Impostor Queen Trilogy takes us far from the action of the first book. Instead of continuing Elli’s story, this book leads us to the true Valtia, Ansa, who was kidnapped as a child and has been raised in a Krigere warrior tribe. Her whole life, she’s had one goal: to prove herself worthy of warrior status and to be accepted as a true Krigere. So, when she is suddenly imbued with magic, she sees it as dangerous and more than a little inconvenient. But she never imagines that she is now a queen.

What Fed My Addiction:

Ansa and Thyra.
The relationship between Thyra and Ansa is complicated for many reasons, but it isn’t the fact that they’re both female that keeps them apart (same sex relationships are accepted in their tribe). Ansa isn’t sure why Thyra holds herself aloof—if it’s because she isn’t interested (Ansa is fairly certain this isn’t the case) or if it is simply the fact that they’re both warriors and they will need to find non-warrior matches. As the book goes on, the twisted, complicated issues that keep Thyra from letting herself give into her attraction to Ansa become apparent, and it also becomes obvious that Ansa and Thyra see the world very differently. Throughout the book, I wasn’t sure if Thyra and Ansa were going to find happiness together or not—the book kept me guessing!

A bloodthirsty world.
Ansa has been raised to believe that killing is the ultimate goal. Her tribe sees anything less as weakness, and if there is one thing that Ansa cannot abide it’s weakness. Ansa’s story is filled with bloodshed and treachery and extremely high stakes!

Ansa’s struggle with magic.
It was really interesting to see Ansa struggle with her magic, thinking that she’s been cursed. Of course, as the reader, we know what’s really happened, but Ansa has no idea. I kept waiting for the moment that Ansa would discover the truth! And her struggle with the magic within her was more poignant because of the Krigere’s beliefs about “witchcraft.” Ansa fears that she will be her tribe’s downfall, and she can’t let that happen.

The ending.
The last quarter or so of the book was exciting, and I can’t wait to see what Fine has in store for us in the third book!

What Left Me Hungry for More:

A companion, not a continuation.
I wish I would have realized just how completely separate this story was going to be from the first one. It’s much closer to a companion novel than to a sequel (indeed, most of this book actually takes place at the same time as the first book). I kept waiting for Ansa to go to Kupari and interact with Elli and the other characters from the first book. But it isn’t until the end of the book that she meets up with anyone from Kupari at all—it looks like I’ll have to wait for book three to see Elli and most of the rest of the characters I grew to love in the first book. Of course, the history, magic and worldbuilding from the first book were still highly integrated with this book and we still get Fine’s magical storytelling, but this one is less of a continuation of the story than I was expecting.

I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in this series, where Elli and Ansa’s stories converge. I give this installment 4/5 stars!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
Profile Image for Tamara.
407 reviews24 followers
March 19, 2017
3.5 stars

I love how this book and the first book basically happen simultaneously. The third book sounds promising as I believe the two worlds will be clashing.
July 27, 2018
In the same trend as the first book, The Cursed Queen is a story with some real raw potential at its core, but again flops under short-sighted execution.

The Cursed Queen is the tale of Ansa, a young warrior in the Krigere/Soturi tribe. Stolen as a raid prize as a child, Ansa's fought fiercely for recognition and acceptance within the tribe. In the wake of the Krigere/Soturi intercepted raid on Kupari, the Krigere camp is in shambles. Over four thousand or 95% of their warriors were commited to the Kupari conquest, and they lay dead in the water. Four thousand widows have no body to bury. The Krigere chieftain is dead. Thyra, his daughter, has inherited his position, but with her hold is tenuous: the Krigere live for raiding, for blood and victory, and Thyra's suggestions to sit out the winter and plant in the spring are met with disgust. Ansa and Thyra have always shared a chemistry, but due to the Krigere pairing of warriors with andeners (non-warriors) they cannot be mates. Still, Ansa will happily be anything Thyra asks her to be: Her wolf, her fire, her knife, her blanket. All Thyra need do is ask.

But Ansa has a flame mark on her leg and inherits the Valtia's magic where Elli inherited her balance and control. Believing the "Witch Queen" has cursed her with magic, Ansa struggles to her unpredictable magic under wraps while protecting and aiding the young woman she loves during one of the biggest trials of her life.

The Cursed Queen is pretty decent until the midway point. I disagree with some choices -- Ansa initially lies to Thyra about the two she kills with her magic, and the expected drama comes into play, where it would be more interesting if Ansa confessed to Thyra immediately and the book tested her tipping point -- but the book has yet to suffer from the choice of a first person narrative as it does later on. There's a lot going on, and they meld well together. Jaspar, Thyra's cousin, arrives and invites their group to the Kriegere-held city-state, Vasterut, currently ruled by Thyra's banished Uncle Nisse. Thyra reluctantly agrees -- she doesn't trust Nisse or Jaspar, and worried about her uncles backwards ideas, but she has bellies to feed. As Ansa struggles to tamp down on magic and burgeoning identity crisis, Thyra struggles to win over her people as chieftain as Jaspar sows mistrust among them.

It comes to a glorious head on the night they reach Vasterut: during dinner, one of Nisse's warrior challenges Thyra's ability as chieftain. It's not an ordinary challenge for the fight circle: as chieftain, Thyra must fight to the death or bow out and face banishment. Thyra defeats him, but another warrior challenges her. Then another.

It's clever and devastating and unfortunately, the last interesting thing to happen in the book.

For the remaining bulk of the book, nothing happens. Ansa's identity crisis hits in full-force: Is she Krigere or Kupari? Is the Krigere way of life right? Is it sustainable? Is Thyra just weak and conniving? Where does the truth about the night of Nisse's banishment lie? With Nisse and Jaspar, or Thyra? The characters raise tons of good questions, but there's no plot to thicken it up. Ansa has a conversation with someone, briefly descends into increased emotion turmoil, and occasionally sets herself on fire. All of the plot is happening in the background, the other characters relaying it to Ansa in bits and pieces. It gives the wee twist near the end a boost but withholding information is lazy writing.

This is a series which desperately calls for a third person perspective. There are so many different elements and plans and tragedies happening in the background, Ansa and Elli aren't the only ones who should have a voice. What happens to Mim in the first book would have more impact if we had her point of view, not to mention Josefina and the temple wielders. The Cursed Queen desperately needs the input of the Vasterutian people during their resistance planning and of one of Thyra's widowed andenders at the very least. These people have stories and unique points of view. The Imposter Queen series could be bolstered to such incredible heights if only the author sprinkled in a few more perspectives. Thyra's alliance with the Vasterutians wouldn't be so white saviour-y if they had their own subplot and we saw more of their input -- they really were responsible for much more than they get specific credit for. There are so many stories, so much potential emotion and darkness here, and the author simply skims over all of it.

Prose is a mixed bag. The author has a solid vocabulary and a sharp vision in terms of setting and emotion, and there's a few great turns of phrase. But it's amateurish -- bogged down by adverbs and passive tone, filter words, and extraneous words: too many necessary thats, onlys, justs, etc. Ansa, like Elli does a lot of spelling out the obvious and belaboring everything which could possibly happen in her internal monologues. It's worse in the second half -- it's basically one long internal monologue. Action scenes tended towards messy and chaotic as they went on. It was especially hard to keep track of Ansa in the last one big one.

As much as I dislike the Krigere's bloodthirsty way of life from a moral point of view, it was oddly refreshing to read about, since we actually got same-sex couples with no homophobia attached. Elli had a crush on her handmaiden, and she seemed to feel some degree of shame in confessing it to Oskar, but with no other couples in the first book, there was no comparison to be certain where it stemmed from. The Krigere still have weird rules on top/bottom dynamics household roles. One person in the pair was a warrior who hunted and raided, and the other was an andener, who would take up any manner of non-combat duties in camp. Thyra, who was a good warrior but not a blood thirsty one, but also not an andender, raised good questions about their way of life, and it's a shame her feelings on the matter, as well as her roll, weren't explored more.

Although her impulsive nature was frustrating at times, Ansa was a solid character with a lot of history, some of it not explored as fully and effectively as it could've been, and went through solid character growth. Her issues about where she came from, her loneliness, her desperation to belong, her devotion made her a more well-rounded character than Elli, and though she was stalled up in the last half, certainly less wishy-washy. (She still suffered from a lack of decision making, unfortunately.) Thyra was an excellent counter-point to Ansa. Ansa struggles to understand if she is Krigere or Kupari, and if her fierce nature made her a better Krigere than it would a Kupari, while Thyra, born the chieftain's daughter, struggles with how she is not quite the Krigere she should be. I disagree with some of the choices in their relationship -- Ansa's lying, for one -- but overall I preferred them to Elli and Oskar. Ansa and Thyra actually had some goddamn texture and depth as characters -- Elli and Oskar feel like assembly line YA characters.

Ansa also had an strong dynamic with Sander, another warrior taken in as a raid prize child. As the antagonists, Nisse and Jaspar were believable as characters and bad guys, although Ansa's scenes with Jaspar were incredibly frustrating to read. (The first time I read the book, I put it down for two solid weeks, certain the story was going to Go There and Ansa would wind up in a relationship with Jaspar.)

But sound the bells! I can't speak for the series, but for this book we've got a bisexual girl who actually ends up in a f/f relationship for once! Except... it's hard not to compare them to how Elli and Oskar were treated. It seemed lots of time was dedicated to cutesy Elli/Oskar moments -- kissing, all the damn cuddling and hand-holding for medical reasons. Ansa spent half the book separated from Thyra, doubting her every word and arguing with her, and the contrived warrior/andener angle which keeps them romantically apart for the first half is painfully contrived. Ansa is still surrounded by more prominent male characters than not, it seems: Sander, Nisse, Jaspar, Sig. Too many issues, like what happened to Thyra's andeners, are left in the background. There was no disability representation. And there's a huge issue with how the Vasterutians are treated, and it's much more complicated than the white saviour issue of the Krigere aiding the resistance. The Vasterutians are dark-skinned -- Halina, specifically is black, and her hair is always, always referred to as wild. It's super sketchy and racist when the author's most frequent descriptor for the only prominent black character is a synonym for untamed. :///

The Cursed Queen is better than the first book, but still suffers from the choice to tell the story in a first person narrative, bumpy prose, and huge plot issues in the latter half. It's almost worth it if you're really, really desperate for fantasy f/f warrior couples.
Profile Image for Pearl Perla.
88 reviews
April 8, 2020

First at all, the story of "The Cursed Queen" and the story of the first book of the series ("The Impostor Queen") take place at the same time, in other words, this book is not the second part of the first one, but explaines too many doubts of that book.

Let's begin with this review, I'm gonna try so hard to avoid spoilers xD
In this book, the main female character is Ansa, a strong and lethal ginger shorty girl who lives in a tribe of Krigere (the enemy land of Kupari, where Ellie lives, the main female character of "The Impostor Queen") where Thysa become the tribal chief because of her father's death that occured in the battle against the Kupari.

The Krigere's people couldn't accept Thysa as a leader and warrior, so she was challenged by her people many times (the dead matches in this book made me get so nervous), but obviously, she was a freaking powerful and surprising warrior.

Many warriors passed away in the battle that I mentioned in the lines above and there's no food enough, so Thyra decide move her tribe on to Vasteraut, a land that was conquered by Nisse, her uncle and brother of her father. Actually, her cousin Jaspar was the warrior who convinced her to do that.

I LOVE THE BIG LOVE OF ANSA TOWARDS THYSA!!! (It's not a simple LGBT love, it's a pure and sincere love, that makes me scream like a teenager :3! )

This book contains everything you need! Betrayal, intrigue, unexpected strategies, magic based on fire and ice, revealing secrets and much action.

Profile Image for Jessie.
253 reviews107 followers
February 4, 2018
2.5 stars
The first half of this gave me a headache. I seriously couldn’t wait to finish this. I think the main reason I didn’t connect with this one was because of Ansa, the main character. She’s just always trying so so hard to be tough and strong and justifying killing others. I mean yeah, I guess if you grew up in this kind of environment you could get caught up in this. But I feel like I spent 4/5 of the book reading about her making stupid decisions and her lusting over Thyra and trying to suppress the magic and denying herself it just kind of got old. I expected character growth, but hat only came forth till the last 10%. And she keeps on thinking that the people around her mean her harm when they’re just trying to be helpful. Eh, Sander was the only character I felt for and he died...I feel like I only started enjoying the book when Sig and Kauko came along. The ending reveal with the truth was really surprising, the whole thing with Jaspar being the traitor. But then tbh, I feel like Ansa and Thyra lies to each other so much, they could’ve just told each other the truth from the beginning and everything would’ve been better. Oh, and I much prefer Thyra as our protagonist, I guess I just really can’t stand such an impulsive, blood-thirsty MC...I hope this one paid off cause now I can finally read about Elli! Hooray!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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