Monday, March 9, 2015

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

The Orphan Queen
by Jodi Meadows
Read: December 14 - 18, 2014
Published:  March 10, 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books *TOMORROW*
Source: Borrowed from Andi @ Andi's ABCS (THANK YOU!!)
Category: YA Fantasy, queens, masked vigilantes 
Series: The Orphan Queen #1 (Duet + 4 prequel novellas)
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository 

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 Orphan Queen is the first book in a new fantasy duet from Jodi Meadows, and from the start I fell hard for Wilhelmina. She has to be many things at all times - princess, spy, forger, caretaker, soldier, thief, friend. Some roles she wears with pride, and others she takes on for the survival of herself and her captured kingdom. I can't imagine juggling all the plates she does or being as adaptable all the time. But Wil is a doer who will not rest in her mission to rescue her people, including nearly traveling into hell for them. She has magic inside of her, which fills her with both power and fear - because it might be the key to saving her people by stopping the wraith that plague the landor instead, it could be what destroys everything. I can't imagine making all the decisions Wil has to make, or being all the people she has to become, but she keeps pushing forward despite it all. Wil inspired me throughout this entire book.

Wil must infiltrate the palace of the rival Indigo Kingdom, pretending to be a visiting noble from a land that has been overtaken by wraith. She has a very specific mission in the palace, and to complete it, she assimilates herself into the royal society. Wil is good at acting and does this well. Despite the importance of this mission, Wil can't help but shed her fancy dresses and sneak out the palace at night wearing all black and armed with her knives. This is one of Wil's most secret roles and one she takes on because it's something she enjoys, not because it is part of her mission. Although I think Wil tries to be true to herself in whatever role she is assuming, this is in many ways when she is most at peace. It is also when we are able to see more clearly the person Wil really is, including her fierce heart for her country and for anyone unable to defend themselves. I loved her even more for that. 

It is at night that Wilhelmina encounters Black Knife, vigilante and magic hater. Wil is both intrigued and repelled by this masked character, and I couldn't wait to learn more about him. Their relationship starts off antagonistically, but it slowly builds into a bond of trust - in each other's work - and camaraderie. Then it changes again into maybe something more. But there's also complications in their relationship that stop them from getting too close. Namely the fact that readers know Black Knife is someone else in his real life, though he's not saying who he is. Although Black Knife intrigued me, he is a character that I didn't felt like I could fully grasp. I ended this book more in love with Wil than him, but still desperate for more. I'm excited that we get the opportunity to know him better in four upcoming novellas.

This story has a very slow building romance that had me equally cheering for and worried about, because of the different identities each person wears. I could see the perfection of them together, and clearly understand their connection, but I also got why it was a very bad idea for them to get involved. But oh how I want it to work out! 

One of my favorite aspects of this story is the way it examines identity. Many characters have several identities, but not many know all of each person's different identities. This made things interesting, because some characters know more than others realize, and it affects their interactions in different settings. But which identity is the real mask and which is the true self, and can each person's multiple selves find peace with each other? I had a great time puzzling this all out and examining different scenes based on what I knew characters knew about each other. Have I confused you yet? 

This book ends on a pretty terrifying cliffhanger, and I have many questions about a lot of things, especially about wraiths and Wil's magic, and how everything will work out in the end for everyone!! But this was a fantastic first installment, and I cannot wait for the second book in the duet. Even sooner, I can't wait for Black Knife's novellas, the first of which releases in June.

Love Triangle Factor: None/it's complicated. (highlight for more information>> This is a tricky one. There are some extenuating circumstances that affect the romance that make it not an easy situation. But it's not a feelings triangle. Although Wil has a lot going on that isn't her love life, she is clear about who she wants and doesn't waver. << end spoiler)
Cliffhanger Scale: High

Tomorrow, I'l be revealing a little bit more about Black Knife as part of The Orphan Queen blog tour, and giving away a copy of the book. Make sure you stop by again! 


  1. I've heard that while this is a solid fantasy, it also doesn't bring anything new or unique to the genre. Is this true? Does it read like a lot of other YA fantasy--so much so that it doesn't bear a read? From what you've said I feel as though I'd enjoy this but I also don't want to pick up a book that reads a little too familiar. Still, glad to see you've got only positives to say about this and that there isn't love triangle as a true factor in the romance at all. Wonderful review, Lauren! :)

  2. Another evil cliffhanger??? I don't know if I can take it. I love Jodi Meadows so I'm definitely reading this book, but maybe I should wait until the second book comes out. Great review! ~Pam

  3. I can't wait to finish this book! I only read the first 12 sample chapters months ago. Great review!

  4. I love your review! I am so happy to hear that there isn't any instalove!

  5. Fantastic review! I really like how you broke it down into different sections so you could discuss each one in more detail. I've been seeing a ton of reviews of this book on other blogs - and everyone is raving about it! I can't wait to read it myself. :)

  6. LOVE how she has to be so many things to so many people. It shows she's a deep thoughtful character.

    LOVE the romance! It sounds intriguing.

    Lovely review :)

  7. Ah, amazing review Lauren. <3 I am so glad you loved this book :D I cannot wait to read it! Hoping my copy arrives tomorrow. <3 But omg, you are worrying me a bit with the romance :( I'm worried I might have an issue with it.. but oh, I hope not. Because I really want to love this book too :D Anyway. Thank you for sharing your amazing thoughts sweetie. <3

  8. Great job on your review. It does matter to me if there is a bit of romance in the story or not. I do like it but does not have to have it all the time.

  9. Ha, I have not read this book but I can only guess that he is a main character. :D Maybe a long distance friend or something like that.

  10. I'm super excited that for ONCE, there is going to be a book with no love triangle! :D But that cliffhanger factor...idk about that. I can't wait until I get to read the book! It's going to be quite different, from some of the things you mentioned in your review though.

  11. I love what you say about identity, Lauren! I think that's a really neat theme to explore, especially with masked vigilantes and the likes running around. I'm really curious about Black Knife, and if I'll be able to form a connection with him. Though we've talked about the romance already, I am apprehensive about the "it's complicated" bit, but hopefully I can power through. I do really want to read this!

  12. I want to read this so bad! The cover! The story! The beauty! Great review. I can't wait to start. :)

  13. I've seen a couple of other events at other places, but this was my first time in here. It was amazing! Great convention center, it's smaller than those bigger places but it is still a fair sized venue. Food was great and I think it's recently renovated - it didn't seem old or anything.

  14. Wait so... you liked this one? I can't really tell, with out a rating or an obvious YES THIS WAS GREAT or NO IT WAS TERRIBLE or EH IT WAS OKAY. It sounds like you liked it? I really enjoyed this book, and can't wait for the novellas and conclusion novel. Yay duologies!

    Fabulous review, Lauren!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!


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