Title: The Orphan Queen
Author: Jodi Meadows
Type: Action. Adventure, High Fantasy
Rating: 3.5 stars
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.
This book was pretty good, but not extraordinarily well-written. It had no defining characteristics that set it apart from other books, which was a shame because the book had so much potential to become something more. There were some good points, like the characters and the concept, but ultimately, it just didn’t stand out.
The main character, Wilhelmina (otherwise called Wil), is a princess trying to reclaim her old kingdom. I actually liked Wil. She was badass, decisive, and willing to sacrifice her own happiness for the sake of the kingdom. She also was very helpful to her friends, even if her friends were doing questionable activities. So there wasn’t a problem with the main character at all in the book, and just for that, this book deserves a full 4 stars. Of course, no main character is perfect and she makes pretty bad decisions over the course of the book, but, come on, doesn’t everyone?
The other characters were pretty well-developed too. Wilhelmina’s best friend Melanie isn’t the happy sidekick most YA books have, and she had her own hard decisions to make. The prince was also an interesting character to read about, since he wasn’t what he seemed to be later in the book. I liked how the prince complimented Wilhelmina in action, and he was not a royal brat which is commendable.
Now for the Ospreys. Wil thinks that the Ospreys are her family since she lost hers, and I feel for her. Who wouldn’t want to be part of something when you lose everything you care about? I just regret her decision to even spend some time with these guys. It may just be me, but I was uncertain about the group leader, Patrick, and some of the other guys from the start.
The concept was satisfactory. In the book, using magic gives power to The Wraith, and the Wraith destroys everything, so therefore the kingdom bans magic everywhere. However, the main character still uses magic despite the restriction of magic, and Wil’s own magic power is interesting (she can bring inanimate objects to ‘life’). There are other creatures in the story that I haven’t heard about before like the glowmen and the evil kitties destroying homes, which adds to the allure of the story.
Which brings us to the not-so-good parts in the book. First, the book was predictable. I knew who the Black Knife was from reading just a third of the story! There were just hints all over the place concerning the identity of the Black Knife. Princess Bride much? Also concerning character predictability, we pretty much see Melanie’s choice from the start of the book. It didn’t take much brain power to figure it out. Second, the ending. I banged my head when I read about the prince’s choice and the ‘shocking’ event at the end of the book. And of course Wilhelmina is the ‘chosen’ one. Why wouldn’t she be? This book fits the mold almost too perfectly for Young Adult fiction. There’s magic, a girl, a boy, a best friend, and a dystopian world. I would really appreciate at least something else that sets this book apart from other YA novels, which exasperates me because as I said before, this book had so much potential. It had a ‘meh’ feeling all throughout, but maybe I’m just a little bit harsh.
The Orphan Queen was an enjoyable but not really a notable read, however, I still would read other books by the author, Jodi Meadows. I’m still interested in the writing, which is not that bad. The book just needs a little flavor to make it good to great. I do recommend this book to others, as a quick read. Despite the ‘meh’ I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. Hopefully, the storyline will improve greatly. Until next time…