The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross (ARC Review)


Goodreads: The Queen’s Rising
Series: Untitled trilogy #1
Source: Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review
Published: Feb. 6, 2018


Brienna has grown up in Valenia, never knowing the name of her father, who hails from the neighboring land of Maevana.  Still, she always feels split.  But for now she has to focus on attempting to passion–proving that she has a talent for knowledge and being chosen by a patron.  However, when no patron chooses her, she chooses as her patron a lord who wishes to overthrow the king of Maevana.  She dreams of the day the rightful queen will rule over Maevana again, but, as she spins her webs of intrigue, she soon finds that she may have entangled herself too far.


I really wanted to love The Queen’s Rising.  It has all the elements I love in a YA fantasy–magic, court intrigue, and a disinherited royal claiming their own.  Unfortunately, however, the book feels a bit like a jumble, almost like it’s more than one story crammed into one volume.  Furthermore, the pacing is off, the book betrays its own plot twists through its formatting, and the romance is a little too forbidden for me to support it.  I kept on reading because the premise of the book had me convinced I had to like this book.  In the end, however, I had to be honest with myself and recognize that, objectively speaking, the book is poorly constructed.

Writing a summary for The Queen’s Rising proved a challenge for me because I could not figure out how to connect the various threads of the book.  About a third of the book focuses on Brienna’s education at what is essentially an elite boarding school where young women study for seven years to master one of the five passions–art, drama, music, wit, or knowledge.  Brienna has spent four years studying the first four and now has to cram seven years of learning into three in order to passion.  This  makes it seem like the book is about Brienna’s coming-of-age or her intellectual development or her subsequent passion career.  Actually, I can’t really figure out why this part of the book is there because Brienna does not do anything with her education, really, after she “graduates” or passions.  Instead, she gets involved in a secret rebellion to overthrow the king of the neighboring country.  (It’s actually quite odd how many Valenians are personally invested in overthrowing the regime of a neighboring kingdom.  I’m truly surprised the 1) follow foreign politics and 2) care about what happens in other places.)

Once the story moves to the political intrigue, the pace seems to speed up abruptly.  We spent about 160 pages on Brienna’s education (the bulk of which focused on eight days leading up to her passion ceremony) and then suddenly we can overthrow a king in much less time?  To achieve this, personal relationships were formed amazingly quickly,  alliances formed and shifted at lightning speed, and treachery was revealed and overcome in a few pages.   Sadly, this did not come across as exciting, but rather as messy.

The excitement is hindered in other ways, as well.  There are some identity reveals that are, one assumes, meant to be surprising.  However, the book conveniently begins with a series of family trees revealing the secret identities of many, as well as Brienna’s true heritage.  Watching Brienna reel in shock over the revelations just does not have the same impact when the reader has known everything even before they began reading the story!

I’d go into more detail about why the romance is completely inappropriate and vaguely disturbing, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers.  However, look forward to an upcoming spoiler-filled review to enjoy my full shock and horror.

The Queen’s Rising has all the trademarks of a typical YA fantasy, however, so I imagine it will delight the majority of its readers.  Some may find the book a little too predictable, a little too like every other YA fantasy out there.  But I foresee this one selling very well, despite its many flaws.

3 Stars

26 thoughts on “The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross (ARC Review)

  1. Valerie says:

    I was eyeing this, and I’m glad I didn’t end up picking it up because it does sound a bit confusing with all those plot lines. I’m excited to read your fuller review about the romance!!


    • Krysta says:

      I feel like I just don’t get it. Like…is she a passion of knowledge because she needs knowledge to overthrow a king? Her education is only used for a cover story about why she’s consorting with people. But I never felt like her education gave her skills everyone else around her didn’t already have.


  2. dawnabron says:

    I’ll be waiting for your spoiler edition full of shock and horror-LOL You were far more generous than me with this book; this was one of the worst fantasies I’ve read in about a year. I gave it 1.5 as I did not enjoy any of it; not even the first 25 pages.


  3. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    How… peculiar. I will admit the Goodreads synopsis doesn’t really appeal to me either. It’s a bit too vague. I love the IDEA of Passions. But it sounds like there is a lot which is poorly executed. That’s a shame. I hope that Rebecca Ross’s new series finds a following. This is a debut novel, yes?


    • Krysta says:

      I had to read the summary more than once because I found it confusing, actually. I couldn’t figure out why she was in one kingdom and trying to overthrow a different one. You don’t see that too often in YA.

      I think it’s a debut. But I see that she has pretty good reviews on GR. It might be a love it or hate it type read. She seems to be planning two more books. I suppose if she has a contract already, she’s safe. If not, perhaps the “love it” crowd sales will help her publish book two.

      Also, I think the premise is enough to get a lot of people to buy the book. I don’t think the majority of readers refer to book reviews before buying, just go into the store and grab something exciting off the shelves. Court intrigue and lost rulers seems to be a new trend in YA, so that might help it sell. It probably doesn’t matter if readers don’t like it after the fact as long as the sales numbers support publishing book two.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

        You see something similar to a woman being in one kingdom and “overthrowing” another in The Daughter of the Lioness Quartet and in The Girl of Fire and Thorns, but those are really well and clearly set up to help you understand why the protagonist is doing all this.

        I am consistently surprised at the number of people who buy books without really doing any research. I have been thwarted far too many times to trust reading a blurb if I don’t already know the author. I have some publishers I trust, but even then… Regardless, I am always intrigued when we have love it/hate it books to see if the second book in a series is ever published. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the future!


        • Krysta says:

          I think I was confused because the summary doesn’t really explain. I just noted that she lived in one country and then suddenly she’s meddling in someone else’s politics and I thought, “Wait, did I miss something?” But the summary really doesn’t go into that.

          I used to like going into the bookstore and looking for a book I’d never heard of but that seemed good from the cover/summary. But I think it worked for me because I read a lot and tend to know what I like. I also do have authors and publishers I trust. I used to like Alfred Knopf growing up and Penguin (because classics). And now I like Candlewick. So even if I’m not sure I’d like something, I might give it a try if Candlewick published it.

          I think it would be sad if book two weren’t published. Even if I’m not a fan of this series, I am in the middle of a series that was never finished and it’s a terrible place to be in as a reader. I wouldn’t want fans to be disappointed! And it would be nice for the author to make money and have a second chance at another series.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

            I love your point about the author having the opportunity to continue the series. I am always heart broken when a series is cut off before the ending. There are so many reasons why that might happen– and honestly, I couldn’t be happier with Brandon Sanderson finishing The Wheel of Time because I would have been crushed without knowing the ending. That was FAR too many books to read to not have a conclusion!

            I haven’t spent a lot of time considering the publishers I trust. I’ve only recently started to pay attention to the publishing houses– my problem is that with all the Imprints I struggle to make proper connections between the larger publishing houses. I really should pay closer attention to which publishers have my favorite authors and publish books I know I can trust to be awesome!


            • Krysta says:

              I don’t even know how Sanderson keeps track of all the books he’s writing or how he decides which sequel to work on next. I am still waiting for my Rithmatist sequel….

              Ah, yes, I can see that. I do know of two imprints I don’t like, but it is difficult to keep track of everyone.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

              I have no idea how he does this either! There are trackers on his website, but seriously… does he just pass back and forth between worlds in his head all the time? Madness.

              I want a Rithmatist sequel TOO! I didn’t realize it was part of a series when I picked it up, but alas. Now we wait.

              Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Yes, it’s a debut. That’s a good point that her writing can improve with more practice! Many authors do! I guess I’d be somewhat worried about what she’s already set up in book one, though. She’s stuck with some of her decisions for the next two books in the trilogy.


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