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 apologize for the extreme tardiness of this review (almost a year!) but better late than never! As a result this will be a little shorter than usual.****
6 Reasons You Should Read “The Impostor Queen”
1.) The Magic System
This book contains one of the most fascinating and well executed magic systems I’ve ever read about, it’s simple and yet intricate all at the same time. In this world magic wielders can control either fire or ice and the only one that can control both is the Valtia (the queen) who uses it to serve the Kupari people. The thing about the Valtia’s magic is that while it makes her the most powerful magic wielder it also consumes her, the magic is so strong it can only be contained within its vessel for so long ultimately killing it.
I just really enjoyed how unique it was and also that instead of having all elements represented it’s only fire and ice and how the magic isn’t all-powerful and can sometimes be dangerous and uncontrollable.
2.) The Story
While it starts out a little slow (and slows down quite a bit in the middle) the story in this book is so suspenseful and addicting that it’s just un-put-downable. Not to mention how unique it is! We essentially start out with Elli who is going to be the next Valtia and is prophesied to be the most powerful one the Kupari have ever had. Basically the “Chosen One” trope we see a lot in YA Fantasy books but boy oh boy did Sarah Fine throw us for a loop. Turns out Elli is not who everyone thought she was because the magic does not enter her body and she isn’t going to be the next Valtia. The thirst for answers to these questions will have you turning pages until you finish, trust me!
The story also gets pretty gritty and brutal, which I loved (I’m not weird, okay?). Sarah Fine puts our heroine through hell and back and it was painful to read about sometimes but also very important and I understood why it was happening. It added a bit of shock value that I think fits in with this genre (and this book) really well.
Really my only complaint about this book is, as mentioned, the occasional slow pacing.
3.) The World-Building
Usually when reading YA Fantasy I always find the world-building to be way too lite and lacking depth, this was definitely not the case with “The Impostor Queen”. This is how world-building should be done, there’s enough information provided so you know what’s going on and so you feel completely immersed in the world without ever info-dumping.
4.) Elli, The Main Character
Elli is a fantastic, likable, flawed heroine and what she goes through in this book it’s easy to root for her the entire time. While she isn’t what I would call a badass female protagonist she’s admirable nonetheless with her courage and selflessness. I also liked the addition of Elli’s bisexuality and while it didn’t take it center stage I thought it was a nice touch and one that we rarely see in YA Fantasy.
5.) The Secondary Characters
If there’s one thing I love in a book it’s well-developed secondary characters, which this book has! As the story unfolded I grew quite attached to a lot of them especially Sig and Oskar, the little darlings.
6.) The Romance
As I mentioned earlier there is a bit of LGTB romance in this story but it isn’t the main romance it’s more of a crush. The main romance between Elli and Oskar is adorable, sweet, and never actually took precedence over the plot. I also just ship them really hard because they’re just so sweet and both characters could use some happiness.
Overall this is a great book and I highly recommend reading it, especially if you enjoy YA Fantasy books!