Monday, March 12, 2018

Review: The Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross

Title: The Queen's Rising 
Author: Rebecca Ross
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Format: Hardcover 

Page Count: 464


When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen? (taken from

"There is no passion without pain.

I have been so excited to get my hands on this book for months. Queens, fallen kingdoms, and secret uprisings are basically my aesthetic, so obviously I needed to devour this 2018 release ASAP.

Having just finished The Queen's Rising, I must admit that I have mixed feelings about this one. Parts of it I thoroughly enjoyed while others I was less impressed with. In cases like these, I always find it easy to break down my review into The Good and The Not-So-Good. Simplistic, maybe, but definitely an effective way to convey my thoughts.

The Good

1) Rebecca Ross' writing is downright poetic. Seriously, there were so many times I paused between pages to appreciate her lyrical, old-fashioned wording. Every scene, outfit, and character is meticulously described with carefully chosen phrases that roll off the page with ease. Yes, sometimes these descriptions got a little lengthy, but overall I enjoyed Ross' writing immensely.

2) Brienna is pretty great. She's not your cliche heroine who's good at everything, and I liked her down-to-earth personality. The other characters are equally interesting, and I loved the bond of sisterhood between Brienna and her fellow passions.

3) Mavena and Valenia: these places are very interesting. I can only assume that Mavena steals qualities from ancient Scotland and Valenia leans towards French culture, and I liked seeing fantasy weave its way between these two kingdoms. Plus, who doesn't love the idea of a kingdom ruled by a fierce warrior queen?

The Not-So-Good

1) Everything was a little too easy for Brienna. As soon as she encountered a problem, a solution would magically present itself without requiring much effort on her part. I rolled my eyes at several scenes where *gasp* a secret passageway randomly appeared or the stars miraculously aligned. Give me a little more complex problem-solving, please.

2) Personally, I would have liked to see this book move along a little faster. The first 160 pages are spent purely setting up Brienna's character, her background/education, and leading her towards her future. I think that could have been cut down by at least fifty pages or more. Thankfully, things pick up speed as the plot progresses, so I can't complain about the pacing of the second half.

Overall, I did enjoy this book, but some of its faults were too glaring for me to ignore. If Ross had sped things up and worked on crafting more intelligent solutions to conflicts, I think the story easily could have worked its way into five-star category. Still, I'd recommend this to someone in look of intriguing world-building and lovable characters.

There's definitely a healthy dose of girl power in this book, and I like it.