Sixteen-year-old Elli was only a child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic in service of her people. The only life Elli has known has been in the temple, surrounded by luxury, tutored by magic-wielding priests, preparing for the day when the queen perishes—and the ice and fire find a new home in Elli, who is prophesied to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.
But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.
Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between her love for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must choose the right side before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.
When I first began The Impostor Queen, I questioned if I would actually be able to get into the story line. For me, sometimes fantasy just doesn’t strike the right cord with me. However, I was surprised to find that I was hooked after making it about 100+ pages in. I suppose part of my hesitation is that there are so many YA fantasy books like this one. And at times, I found myself comparing parts of this book to other books. However, I didn’t seem to get hung up on the similarities like I have with other books.
I think one of the best parts of the book comes in the form of the main character, Elli. As the sitting Saadella, she’s basically been cut off from the world outside the temple since she was four years old. Every whim of hers has been attended to. She hasn’t even had to ever dress herself. So as the reigning Valtia meets her end and she fails to receive the magic of the Valtia, Elli finds herself running for her life and completely ill equipped to fend for herself. I usually have an issue with Mary Sues or pathetic characters, but what she lacks in other areas of normality, she makes up for with her deep desire to help her people and especially those she loves. She’s far from perfect, but I admit, I found it amusing that the author decided to chop off two of her fingers. Most author would balk at the idea of disfiguring their main character. She also expresses bisexual feelings and desires throughout the book, which makes her even more interesting. My biggest complaint is her constant walking around naked as if she were Daenerys from Game of Thrones. Which as much as I like her in this book, she’s just not a badass like Dany. Sorry.
As for the rest of the characters, I’ll admit there could have been some better development among them. Hopefully some of the ones that need more development will get the chance when book two comes out next year. Especially since the major showdown at the end of the book was a bit anticlimactic as well as a little too convenient. But I can’t really explain that without possibly spoiling the ending, which I don’t want to do.
When it comes to things like world building and pacing, I felt the author did a pretty good job establishing the start of what is going to be at least two books. I like the fact that as a reader, I got to explore the world for the first time, just as Elli was. After all, everything she knew (or thought she knew) came from what others told her. So it creates an interesting experience to have things unfold for both her and myself. Could there have been more development during the process? Yes, of course. But I felt there was an appropriate amount for the character who was narrating this book. Especially since it’s clear we will discover a whole new side of the world with the second book/narrator (whom I’m not naming for the sake of avoiding spoiling certain aspects of this book.)
Is this best book ever? No. But it’s an enjoyable read that can really ensnare you if you go in with an open mind. Which I know happens to be hard when you read as much as I do. However, I would highly recommend this book as a must read for all of my fellow bookworms who enjoy YA fantasy. Can’t wait to see what you think!