by Sarah Fine
Series: The Impostor Queen #1
Published on January 5, 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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.
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When it came to The Impostor Queen, I can’t quite place it but it just didn’t… wow me. This novel falls in the realm of fantasy with ice and fire magic holding domain over the world. A prophecy foretelling the most powerful queen. I mean there’s plenty here that could’ve done well, that could’ve been spectacular. But at the end I felt this book was nothing but average.
Elli was quite unmemorable when it comes to heroines. She has a lot going for her — the unusual nature of her gift, the whole destiny in the stars describing her future, etc. But the execution was a all-too-inquisitive (yes, you CAN ask too many questions) girl who never really took the reins on her future and let others drive her toward it instead. By the end she grew on me enough that I might read a sequel in the hopes that her story reaches some sort of conclusion.
Her love interest also seemed interesting with all the icy power but Oskar fell down the Lovey McLove hole after their initial meeting and became nothing more than a fawning fool. His “brother” Sig claimed an opposite role with his fiery nature, a revolutionist, that one. But he wasn’t about to stand around and do nothing. Though his actions may have been a tad… extreme, I take that as being better than letting it all happen as Oskar seemed likely to do.
While I give this book points for avoiding a love triangle and the ever-annoying insta-love between Elli and Oskar, their romance became a big point in the second half of the book and held none of the “fire” that Elli describes feeling for him. Lackluster at best and I certainly wasn’t swooning over this couple.
The world didn’t offer much more than the characters, with magic running in circles around the characters. The idea of the fire and ice contrast isn’t new but that they’re the only two kinds of power made this book different from others with elemental magic. And we’re told that this land is ruled by the Valtia who can balance the two powers.
I think that’s my biggest issue with this book is that everything SOUNDS interesting. The story is all there. But I was missing…something. Everything? Excitement? I just never felt that final hook to hold me through. The writing is fabulous and easily devoured but I felt that it was the only saving grace of this book that set it on the upper side of average.
The Impostor Queen is too much of the Chosen One plagued with a prophecy about a young woman who wasn’t quite up to snuff. The ending (and several points along the way) left much unanswered from this story and I hope to see some resolution in a future book as I’ve learned the sequel, The Cursed Queen, is more of a companion and doesn’t even feature the same characters. As for this one, I can’t say much more about this one.