Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.
She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.
She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.
She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.
Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.
I finally decided to take a stab at Jodi Meadows’ The Orphan Queen after hearing a lot of praise over it and while I can’t say I fell deeply in love with it, I still quite enjoyed it! It was a fun read filled with magic and suspense, mystery and action, and naturally the smatterings of laughter and romance!
Wilhemina is the lost orphan queen. Her kingdom was dismantled years ago when she was a child and she’s presumed dead. Though, in reality, she and some of her friends from over the years have banned together to take back the throne that is rightfully hers. But Wil hides a secret from her friends and that is that she can wield magic. Magic is strictly forbidden in this world, and to be a magic user is dangerous.
Wil and her friends plan to infiltrate the castle and learn all the necessary secrets and to report back to their “leader” of sorts, Patrick. Wil and her friend, Melanie, disguise themselves as royals and plan to “seek shelter” in the castle.
I think one of the hardest things about starting a new fantasy-ish read is getting used to the world. World-building is SO important when it comes to fantasies because you need to establish what this world is, what it runs on, any necessary history…so many things! And if you don’t execute it properly, you’re bound to confuse a lot of readers. And I must say that Jodi handled the world-building rather well. In fact, as I read, I realized that this is sort of a mix of fantasy and dystopian. Unless I totally read that wrong, but it definitely seems like the setting might be more futuristic than not.
I quite enjoyed Wil and her ragtag group of misfits. They were like a modern day Robin Hood in a way. Though while they were stealing from the rich it was more to serve their own purposes which would in turn help their people out in the end. Then there’s the Black Knife, another mysterious vigilante that stalks the night to try to right wrongs or protect the people from the monsters. Because yes, we get monsters in this one! They are wraith creatures and wraith apparently is the end result of using magic. It was along these details of wraith that started to get confusing. While I could get a base understanding of it while I read the book, turning around to describe it here is a little beyond me! LOL!
We also see Wil in a more royal form, as she’s pretending to be a Lady from elsewhere. And there’s a prince of course. Tobiah is a bit of stick in the mud. He’s rather cold and aloof, but from the moment I met him, I pretty much had him pegged down! Though it was more like a 99% guarantee…as I always leave room for doubt!
I want to say that I loved Will and Tobiah’s interactions, but really these two didn’t interact all too much. Tobiah was hardly around and when he did show up, like I said, the dude was pretty standoffish. But Wil and the mysterious Black Knife…they had quite a few interesting conversations and interactions!
The scandals that were afoot in this one were quite shocking, though I felt like I could sort of surmise a few of them. I won’t say that that is a bad thing in regards to this book. Just that I felt like I was right in my guessing of certain characters or their actions.
It’s hard to pin down the romance of this one too. For awhile I wasn’t sure who Wil would fall for, would it be the mysterious Black Knife, Tobiah—because apparently there’s always something to those cold shoulder types, or even James, Tobiah’s cousin and bodyguard who has quite the personality! He and Wil shared a few dances and fun little chats that left me to wonder, is there something more here? And let’s just say that I wasn’t too surprised with who Romeo turned out to be!
The ending was quite surprising! As I mentioned before, there’s quite a few scandals going on. Or for lack of a better word, mysteries. There’s secrets that we aren’t too sure of and before we can even really get things solved, it ends. With a huge freaking cliffhanger! Oh I feel so sorry for all you who read this one right away, or gasp, as an ARC! That ending was dreadfully painful! It’s one of the worst kinds of cliffhangers to endure. I can only thank my poor timing—for once, ha!—that I waited until now to read this duology. For you can pretty much guess what my next read is…if the next up to the right of my sidebar wasn’t any indication! Lol!
So if you haven’t yet picked up this fun duology, then now is the time, mainly because NO WAITING! The Orphan Queen is an intriguing duology that borders the lines of fantasy and dystopian and has remarkable characters who only continue to surprise me. I’ll be sad to see this one end, but at least I have that 500+ page book to read now! Onward!
Overall Rating 4/5 stars