Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Reluctant Queen (The Queens of Renthia, #2)” as Want to Read:
The Reluctant Queen (The Queens of Renthia, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Reluctant Queen

(The Queens of Renthia #2)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,576 ratings  ·  429 reviews
Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .
And those spirits want to kill you.
It’s the first lesson that every Renthian learns.

Not long ago, Daleina used her strength and skill to survive those spirits and assume the royal throne. Since then, the new queen has kept the p
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published July 4th 2017 by Harper Voyager
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Reluctant Queen, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Reluctant Queen

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,576 ratings  ·  429 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Emily May
Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, young-adult, 2017, fantasy
I'm just going to say it: I think this series is REALLY good and should be read by more people.

There's so much bad in YA fantasy. So much recycled I-pretend-the-world-is-in-danger-but-really-I-just-need-to-choose-between-two-hot-boys nonsense. I personally really feel this series is a hidden gem in a huge pile of the same. It sounds familiar, with the usual titles like "The Queen of ___" and "The ___ Queen", but, for me at least, the story is something different.

Maybe it's just that so much time
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, arc
$2.99 Kindle sale, March 16, 2018, for this second book in a very good fantasy series. The third (and final, I believe) book in this series will be published in May 2018. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature. Some spoilers for the first book in this series here:

Sarah Beth Durst continues the saga of the QUEENS OF RENTHIA in The Reluctant Queen, the second book in this series (definitely read the first book, The Queen of Blood, before this one). Renthia is in a world where everything
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, own, firstreads
As a mom who is just starting to get some gray hairs, it is very, very pleasing to read a fantasy book starring a mom who is starting to get gray hairs. It is very, very pleasing to read about a "Chosen One" who is like, "No. I didn't want this. I don't want fame or glory. I don't even care about saving the world. I only care about my family, MY life."

I was like, YEAH. You go, girl!

Too often moms in books are relegated to being the kindly farm lady who raised the Chosen One, taught them manners
Maggie ☘ (Wonderland-Reader)
Once again, being in this magical yet bloodthirsty world was an amazing experience. I love the setting and the magic system so so much.

Everything has a spirt - the earth, the wind, water, fire, ice or the wood of the great trees themselves on which the people of Aratay live. And those spirits crave one thing - violent death of all humankind. The only thing standing between their wish is the Queen of each land, who gains the ultimate power over them in a sacred ritual. But what if the Queen's co
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copy, fantasy
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The opening volume of the Queens of Renthia series, The Queen of Blood, was one of my most surprising reads of last year, both in how the story turned out as well as how much I enjoyed it. As a book that contained many elements of your average Young Adult fantasy, I confess I hadn’t really expected much from it at all, though ultimately I came out of it very satisfied and impressed. Needless to say, I’m glad I picked up Th
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
An excellent sequel, this book was very different from The Queen of Blood. We get a good follow up on established characters, plus introduction to some interesting new ones.

I loved the new central character introduced in this book, Naelin. We don't often get older women, particularly mothers, taking a such a central and positive role in YA fantasy - and here we even get a little bit of romantic tension! Honestly, she really made the book for me.

Durst is doing something different here, and as a
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"What did you want?" Still cradling her children, Naelin watched the guardswoman clean her blade and then splash water on her face and neck. Patches of dirt turned into mud that dripped over her shoulders.

She shrugged. "Not that life. Far too boring."

"Peaceful isn't boring."

"I wanted to matter. For my life to matter. So many people die and no one knows they ever existed. They're ripples in a stream, disappearing when the wind blows."


The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst is the second book i
I'm fluctuating a bit on this one. THE RELUCTANT QUEEN had a slow start that nonetheless completely enthralled me by the end. We shift gears quite a bit coming out of book one and into this middle installment of the Queens of Renthia series and I was hesitant about that shift after everything that had been earned in THE QUEEN OF BLOOD. But I like where this is going -- or at least where I think this is going. And again, that ending/build to the big climax was fantastic.

"They're no longer callin
Oct 18, 2016 marked it as to-read
As long as Merecot is in this one, I'm happy.
Cori Reed
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This series is so underrated.
Bob Milne
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-epic
The Queens of Renthia is very much a traditional fantasy, full of elemental spirits, forest settings, and a legitimate sense of wonder. It is also surprisingly violent, with the dark, bloody, treacherous climax of The Queen of Blood genuinely impressing me.

While I felt the first half of The Reluctant Queen was too much a repeat of the first book, with yet another heir being trained to take the throne, there were enough differences to keep me intrigued, giving Sarah Beth Durst time to orchestrate
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is the second book in the Queens of Renthia series. I absolutely loved this book and have loved all the books in this series so far. This is a fantasy series; while it is appropriate for YA it features a lot of adult characters.

I love the world and the characters in here. The writing is easy to read and flows well. I have a really hard time putting this book down and ended up reading it very quickly.

I enjoyed seeing Daleina on the throne and struggling through her reign. However, even bett
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A return to Renthia with a new heir being needed almost immediately after the last Queen was crowned.

Naelin has power over spirits that she has denied all her life, but she'll do anything to protect her two children, even reveal that power to Champion Ven when he seeks her out. Meanwhile Daleina is sick with a horrific disease that leaves her unable to control spirits for short periods: catastrophic when the whole country relies on her control.

Naelin is a great character; "mother bear" as Ven ca
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
More action, more drama, more death and uncontrollable spirits.

It was absolutely wonderful andni cant wait for the next book!
Colleen Houck
Liked this one just as much as the first. The world building in this series is incredible! If you love fantasy, you'll really enjoy this one. I really related to the reluctant heroine and I liked her a lot. Great characters!
Aug 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
This may be the most boring fantasy book I've ever read, and it wasn't even that long. Nothing happened for the first 100 pages, and after that I started skimming.
And I liked the first book! I still like this world, but I'm definitely not continuing the series. This was just terrible.

I didn't hate the protagonist—I liked the idea of her. However, she wasn't that developed, and it took her 100 pages only to decide to start training. At that point, I had already lost interest in her.
The romance be
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
You know, what I realised is that even though I am fond of the general themes (and the genre in itself), I could slowly move on from YA, not because I didn't like this book, but because I liked it MORE.

And that's in part because the characters were older - while some people might have struggled with Naelin, I just loved her for her deep stubbornness. I have a child, he is the world to me, I would do anything for him and if faced with her choices I would be just as reluctant.

Like with Hunger Ga
Beth Cato
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, fantasy
This second book in the Queens of Renthia series can stand well on its own, but also works as a strong sequel to The Queen of Blood. At the end of the first book, Daleina has survived a bloody massacre of warring nature spirits and become queen of Renthia. However, it soon becomes clear that she is deathly ill. As the nature spirits rally against her and political woes increase, Daleina must accept that she may be dead within months--and Renthia needs a new candidate for queen. A major problem, ...more
Claudia ✨
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: year-2018, four-stars
My rating: 4.5 stars

After reading this stunning sequel to one of my favorite fantasy books ever, The Queen of Blood, I am now even more baffled by the fact that this series isn't more talked about.

In this book, the stakes are even higher than in its predecessor. Daleina is now the queen of Aratay, and all should be good - except that she finds herself terminally sick. And if she dies without an heir, all of Aratay will fall to the bloodthirsty spirits. It's up to Champion Ven to try to find an
Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
Me when I realize (after just finishing The Queen of Blood) that the second book is not about Daleina...
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Like how dare you!? You made me fall in love with the characters from Book 1 and now you're taking them away from me! Ugh....
 photo 15476172_zpsthyiluau.gif

Sidenote: If the main character is a mother with graying hair and we obviously know Valek is probably an old man by now, shouldn't this book be considered Adult based on the characters? Or is that not how this works anymore? In the first book, Daleina and all her fello
Danielle N
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, fantasy
*As always this is a review for a sequel. I will try to omit potential spoilers, but recommend visiting at a later time if you have yet to read the first in the series and plan to do so. You can find my review for the first book The Queen of Blood here.

I only recently read and reviewed the The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia #1) in eager anticipation of exploring a new series. I had this lovely arc in my hands and simply knew it was going to be worth my time. While appropriate for the YA
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, audio
3.75 stars

This one definitely got better as it got farther along. The mystery was engaging, the new female lead is mature and likeable if a bit frustrating in place. This addition to the series had a bit more romance than the first book.

I like the novel resolution to one of the biggest problems facing the MCs.

I had some frustration with some tropes early on, in the last book it was the lack of communication as plot pacing trope that was most vexing. This entry in the series could, in places, ri
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favourite, i-own
I don't think I've ever felt this emotional about a book before. Consider me destroyed.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf-d
The book is too gruesome for me to continue. I was hoping it'd get better in this book but it didn't
Katie (Melting Pages)
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book just as much as the first one!
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
We got a bit til this comes out so I'll just say these things:
- what's more important, protecting your family with your power or protecting the world so they are safe?
- what price do family ties take?
- Is there a moral right when both sides are struggling equally?
- there is always a third option. the world is not black and white, the world is not made of such simplistic categories. Always find the third option that works best for you.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm actually really enjoying this series. There's something so compelling about it. I love the characters and in this one we have a new batch of characters added to the mix. Loved them all. I will say Durst is just terrible at writing romance. I don't understand why she's so bad at it when she's great at plot and characters and setting... Her romances fall flat. It's not enough for 2 people to be in the same place and since there are no other options, just end up kissing. This one was slightly b ...more
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
*I received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
3.75 stars

Okay, the ending redeemed a lot of the problems that I originally had with this book. To be honest, I would only want to read the third book of this trilogy for Bayn the wolf. Please, PROTECT THE WOLF AT ALL COSTS.

This was significantly better than the first novel in this series. A lot of things that were only hinted at in The Queen of Blood were given detailed explanations here; the world-building was furt
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I really liked things this book does. While set in an entirely fantasy world, it introduces a main character who is a mother with two children and a husband. The story includes (quite early-not a spoiler) her divorce from her husband, her feelings of frustration with him, her worry for her children, her desire to do what's best for them, and her putting up with their childish antics.

In short, it has very modern themes that I've never really seen in a fantasy novel before. Mothers can't go on adv
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Kekkaishi, Vol. 16 (Kekkaishi, #16)
  • Basara, Vol. 16
  • The Lost Steersman (The Steerswoman, #3)
  • Firebrand (Steeplejack #2)
  • The Moment
  • Halls of Law
See similar books…
Sarah Beth Durst is the award-winning author of nineteen fantasy books for kids, teens, and adults, including The Girl Who Could Not Dream, Drink Slay Love, and The Queens of Renthia series. She won an ALA Alex Award and a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for SFWA's Andre Norton Award three times. She is a graduate of Princeton University, where she spent four years studying Englis ...more

Other books in the series

The Queens of Renthia (3 books)
  • The Queen of Blood  (The Queens of Renthia, #1)
  • The Queen of Sorrow (The Queens of Renthia #3)
“Don't confuse mercy for forgiveness.” 2 likes
“In the history of the world, telling someone to ‘calm down’ has never done anything but piss them off more.” 2 likes
More quotes…