Series: The Impostor Queen #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pub Date: January 5th 2016
Format: Hardcover | Source: Library
Genres: Fantasy, LGBT, Young Adult
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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.
I thought The Impostor Queen was such a fantastic fantasy, it’s everything I always look for! The world-building details are doled out in just the right way. I loved learning about the Valtia, the Kupari, and life in the temple. And I loved Elli from the start. She goes on a huge journey, physically and emotionally, throughout the book and I thought she was wonderful—strong, inquisitive, compassionate, and ready to learn. It’s also worth noting that she is bisexual, which is all too rare in YA and YA fantasy especially. I really loved how naturally it was presented as part of her character, and I loved Mim and Oskar both as love interests and as individuals.
Even the smallest secondary character had defining traits and a part to play. I loved Freya, Raimo, Sig, so many of the cave dwellers, and I absolutely hated the priests. There are quite a few surprises in the latter half and I really enjoyed seeing how the story unfolded. There is a lot of action and politics mixed in with the magic and romance. I also loved the magic system and how it was used in the book. It took an unoriginal idea (ice magic and fire magic, dual opposites), and made it feel fresh and original in how it manifested itself. There were some heartbreaking moments and scenes that were hard to read but overall I would recommend this without question to fantasy fans.