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The Reluctant Queen

(The Queens of Renthia #2)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,973 ratings  ·  477 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
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published July 4th 2017 by Harper Voyager
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  2,973 ratings  ·  477 reviews

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Emily May
Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, arc, young-adult, 2017
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, fantasy
$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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: firstreads, fantasy, own
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
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, review-copy
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
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1) The Queen of Blood

"The two things that a true queen needs are the instinct to survive and the instinct to protect."

After finishing the second book of this trilogy, I'm even more confused about the reason this series isn't as popular as others YA fantasy on goodreads. I could understand if after the first book it became bad, but it's the opposite. This universe and the characters are amazing. I honestly have no idea why it's so underrated, maybe because the covers aren't attractive for many
Zoe Stewart (yerabooknerdzoe)
I think I almost like this one better than the first? Maybe? I don't know, but I love them both. This definitely doesn't suffer from second book syndrome, which is all I ever ask for. We see so much more of this world and from such different perspectives, but it doesn't take away from everything we've learned from the last book. It sets it up perfectly to learn even more about the wider world in the third book, and I am READY
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.

It took we a while to get back to this series, even though I enjoyed the first book when I read it. It had been a while so I wasn't sure if I was still going to be into the story, but I shouldn't have worried, this ended up being just as good as the first book. That
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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'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
Oct 18, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
As long as Merecot is in this one, I'm happy.
Cori Reed
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series is so underrated.
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
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
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
4.5 stars, officially.

I just really love this world. It's so unique!

I was surprised by quite a few things that happened (in a good way!). The characters continue being interesting and fun to read about... the new characters introduced in this installment were great.

I have SO many questions now, though, and I really want to get to the third and final book a.s.a.p.!
Claudia ✨
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: four-stars, year-2018
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
*Source* Library
*Genre* Young Adult, Fantasy
*Rating* 4.0


The Reluctant Queen is the second installment in author Sarah Beth Durst's Queens of Renthia trilogy. This story picks up 6 months from where The Queen of Blood left off. Daleina is Queen of the Forests of Aratay, and the sole survivor of the coronation day massacre. But, she is losing control of the spirits that she is supposed to keep from harming her people and her villages. Killing the Queen would set the spirits free, and boy
Beth Cato
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
Me when I realize (after just finishing The Queen of Blood) that the second book is not about Daleina...
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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
Danielle N
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ya
*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: audio, fantasy
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,
Gunjan (NerdyBirdie)
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
I know I’ve already said this but I’m surprised that more people aren’t talking about this series. The Reluctant Queen has just further confirmed that Sarah Beth Durst has created a memorable work with The Queens of Renthia series.

In my review for The Queen of Blood I mentioned that I felt its purpose was to set up the plot for this current book. And Durst definitely delivered. This book opens up with high stakes, mysteries, and an intense race against the clock for the significant powerful
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own, fantasy, favourite
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 ...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)
“In the history of the world, telling someone to ‘calm down’ has never done anything but piss them off more.” 3 likes
“Don't confuse mercy for forgiveness.” 2 likes
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