Goodreads: The Impostor Queen
Series: The Impostor Queen #1
Published: January 6, 2016
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 admit that, for the longest time, I judged this book by its cover. Despire the fantasy-sounding title, I was put off by the distinctly non-fantasy-looking cover and vaguely assumed The Imposter Queen might be a contemporary novel, and that’s just not my preferred genre. I was enlightened as to my mistake after actually taking the time to read the blurb at the library (genius, I know), and I quickly realized I had missing out on a distinctly creative story.
Though the protagonist of The Impostor Queen is spunky, hardworking, and brave, I was really drawn into the story by the worldbuilding. I love the way the magic system functions and am impressed by the detail Fine puts into creating the society. I feel as if I could enter this book and live in it, and that (despite some flaws with the society), I might actually want to. There’s magic in this world, but also a strong spirit of the people and the land that I have to admire.
The plot is interesting, though at times predictable and at other times confusing. At a few different moments I thought the characters had decided upon some important point, solved some mystery, only to realize later that they hadn’t. Overall, however, I enjoyed watching the characters fight for their homes, their people, themselves. I also loved watching the history of the wold unfold.
The love interest I can take or leave. He’s fine. I just wasn’t particularly invested in him or the relationship, and it takes a cliche YA turn. (YA authors just love throwing in drama wherever it fits.) Even without this predictable move, however, I’m not sure I would have found the romance particularly swoon-worthy. There’s nothing wrong with it I can pinpoint, just no spark for me.
Nonetheless, The Impostor Queen is a stand-out fantasy. It has a strong protagonist, breathtaking magic, and world rich with history. I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about this book.