This book is not about a Vampire Queen despite the rather leading title… These are my spoiler free thoughts!
My Rating: 5 Stars
Goodreads Rating: 3.91 Stars
Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .
But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.
With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood
This book is slept on. People, you should read this book. It was so good. It’s been a bit since I read it but I wanted to put it out there that this is one of my favorite books of this year.
This is how fairies or fae should be portrayed. [Did that sound like shade? I’m not sure either but I’m sticking with it.] This world is wonderfully imagined and strong. It’s not a leap to imagine a world of people living in trees: if you’ve seen Avatar, you get the picture. But Sarah Beth Durst did something really cool with this world and created Fae that are almost completely original. The fae have this dichotomy between wanting to create and wanting to destroy. They would and will kill all humans if they could but they also want to create houses and palaces out of nature. The way to control these “spirits” as they are called in the novel is to have one extremely strong Queen who can basically tell them to stop being ass hats. Which is cool and all but that doesn’t mean that the Queen can’t be corrupted…
With the stage set like that we meet our heros: Daliena and Ven. These two were an awesome pairing. I loved the fact that instead of this being a love interest reliationship it was much more like a mentor father/daughter scenario. Ven is grumpy and lovable and Daliena is hard working, strong and dedicated to the cause that she has set for herself. She also is a really awesome friend. There is a character in this novel that screamed mean girl: Mercocet is beautiful and magically way more talented than Daliena but they end up becoming friends. This surprised me in one of the most amazing ways. I detest girl hate to no end. But Durst actually spun that trope on its head and made them companions. I also foresee maybe a Magneto/Professor X relationship in the next book.
Daliena, herself, made this book for me. She really is the most interesting main character that I have ever read about. Every time someone says “bad ass female heroine” I think of Katniss, Daenerys and now Daliena. In a way Daliena is faced with a major disadvantage that she struggles to overcome constantly. It’s like the opposite of the “Chosen One” trope because Daliena in no way was chosen for this gig. There is a super cute romantic storyline in this book as well but it is not at all in the forefront. Just enough to make you go “Awww.”
This book also doesn’t protect anyone. No one is safe. Just so you know.
That’s all for now! Thanks for reading!