Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows: Review


Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.


“The pain of what happened – it won’t last eternity.” A lie. I knew very well how pain could last, and fester, and shape a person in unnameable ways.

I had high hopes before I started The Orphan Queen. While the start of the book might be a little bit bumpy, it gets interesting rather fast. The book doesn't fail to deliver what I wanted, and I enjoy a lot of moments.

Wilhelmina is the lost princess of Aecor. And after the One-Night War that destroyed her home and her family, she vowed to take back her kingdom. The Ospreys are her followers. Friends that has sworn to protect her and help her get back her throne. Wil is deadly smart and is a great actress. She is able to attain different personalities and keep her secrets in the deepest place. But in this situation where it's practically impossible to be the true self, her own characters still shine through. Her candor surprises me. She can hardly tolerate betrayals or violation of her ethics, and she makes sure her thoughts are heard. But despite being cunning, she still is sympathetic in ways that is totally unexpected from her, considering she is determined to take back her own title and is a sort-of bitter person. She's an enigma of a character, but this is one of the best parts of the book.

My favorite moments are the interactions between Wil and the vigilante Black Knife. Oh yes, he is an awesome character. He has this odd mix of intimidation and gentleness that has already captured a part of my mind. Since he's a vigilante, the air of mystery is think around him, and I love this faceless, nameless, hidden-in-the-dark hero. The conversations between Wil and the Black Knife is wonderful. It's the perfect mix of bickering, chemistry, and wariness. After all, they are supposed to be enemies. I practically live for them while reading this book. There are a lot of exciting moments in the book, particularly ones involving the wraith. But even the action scenes can't compete with these little moments, with Wil and the Black Knife traveling at midnight, protecting the people in The Indigo Kingdom behind everyone's back, and trying the hide their true identities and intentions.

The background of the story, however, can be improved. Jodi Meadows has done a decent job in it, don't get me wrong. But with such dynamic characters, I'd like the read more about the past. It seems like an entire kingdom is destroyed over simple misunderstandings, which is both realistic and ridiculous at the same time. Realistic, because even people nowadays start wars over the tiniest conflict. Ridiculous, because it's just so hard to compartmentalize this situation logically. If the history were richer and more complex, the scenes in this book will become infinitely more interesting. But, a part of me actually likes this ridiculousness. I don't know, maybe because I have grown accustomed to cruel and deceptive characters and expected a lot of dangerous political games, so much so that I have forgotten what a simple and innocent mistake is like.

I need The Mirror King like air, after what happened at the end of The Orphan Queen. This is the moment when I realize just how much I like the book. I enjoyed it, of course. It's a nice book. But I have never imagined I'd get attached. The ending is bittersweet. A perfect cliffhanger. I don't know how to wait a year to get the sequel.

Rating: 8/10

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