ARC Review: The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

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When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen? 


**** Huge thank you to HarperTeen for sending me an ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review ****

This was kind of disappointing because I felt it had a lot of potential to be amazing but it was just….extremely slow. It wasn’t terrible by any means but I just felt it was boring.


Essentially the plot revolves around Brienna who is studying to be a passion of knowledge at Magnalia house with 5 other girls who are studying each passion as well-arts, drama, music, wit, and knowledge. She is left without a patron though and is swept up in a plot to overthrow a king! That’s the story! There’s also a kind of subplot where we are left wondering who Brienna’s father/family history is the entire book too, but this is literally given away by the family tree at the beginning of the book! Why would they do this? You want us to sit in suspense and make it a big mystery throughout the story and yet reveal it in the family tree at the beginning of the book? Needless to say I DO NOT recommend reading those before you read the book.

The plot was extremely slow paced and at times very boring. Brienna’s time at Magnalia house is spent gossiping with the other girls and they talk about their passions and such. It was tedious, so very tedious. From there I usually love the whole “rebellion” side of plots but this was very underwhelming, it completely lacked any action or twists. What twists there were, were completely predictable and in no way surprised me. That was probably one of the things that disappointed me the most since it took away any suspense from the story for me.

I also felt a lot of things were a little too convenient in order to move the plot forward and the ending felt rushed.

I DID like the family dynamics and lineages though, they were fun to keep track of especially with all of the political intrigue.

Also I really loved the idea of the passions and what little world building there was, was really interesting. However, I felt that there could have been a lot more world building and what there was could have been expanded on. I liked the magic system too, in which magic passes woman to woman and not to men whatsoever. Very feminist, which I loved.

The writing did flow well and was very descriptive, I think it’s one of the few reasons I managed to push through the entire 464 pages.


Overall the characters were kind of “meh”, they were all likable enough but I definitely felt like they could have used a little more complexity.

Brienna was an okay protagonist, I didn’t love her and I didn’t hate her. I did like that she was very brave and bound and determined to help aid the “rebels” and that she didn’t make a bunch of stupid decisions either.

There were quite a few side characters such as Brienna’s peers who were all fine, but I really liked the rebel characters the most such as Alderic, Luc, and Yseult. But as I already mentioned I thought everyone could have been developed a bit more.


The romance was definitely my least favorite thing about “The Queen’s Rising” right up there next to the painfully slow pacing. There is a developing romance throughout the book between Brienna and her teacher, Master Cartier. It was extremely awkward, lacked chemistry, and not to mention completely inappropriate. Sorry but I do not enjoy teacher/student relationships and that’s just my opinion.

Plus the romance became too much of a focus at times and was completely unnecessary.

in conclusion

Overall, this book just fell really short for me and I’m left feeling kind of disappointed with it. I expected a lot more action, suspense, and build up.

What I Loved:

  • Liked keeping track of the families and politics
  • Feminism!
  • World building was okay
  • Writing was good

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Complete lack of tension and suspense
  • No action
  • Extremely slow paced
  • Family tree provided at beginning RUINS a plot twist
  • Plot twists were predictable
  • Characters could have been more complex
  • The romance was unnecessary


Sorry, but I can’t really say I recommend this book as it wasn’t anything new to the YA Fantasy genre at all and was slow an predictable.

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The Sassy


12 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

  1. Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 15, 2018 / 4:04 pm

    Ugh, man, what is it with some of these YA fantasy letdowns lately? I haven’t started my eARC of this one yet because I honestly have had a feeling it isn’t for me, and seeing your review makes me think that even more haha. Great review as always, though! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heather @ The Sassy Book Geek January 31, 2018 / 11:07 am

      I know right? I kind of had a feeling it would end up being too slow for me and I was right, I don’t blame you at all for not wanting to read it now! Thanks Destiny! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ashley January 15, 2018 / 6:00 pm

    I always love reading your reviews because of how you break down what you liked and what you didn’t like. After reading your review, this book is one that I won’t pick up. I don’t read much YA fantasy, and I’m kind of happy that I don’t because a lot of it seems to have the same recycled themes over again, and they lack originality from some reviews of YA fantasy books that I have seen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heather @ The Sassy Book Geek January 31, 2018 / 11:14 am

      Thanks Ashley! I’m glad to hear it, it’s always nice to know what people like about my reviews so I know I’m doing something right, haha! I don’t blame you for not reading a ton of YA Fantasy because you’re 100% right, a lot of them are the same recycled plot over and over. This book really isn’t anything new or special.


  3. MetalPhantasmReads January 16, 2018 / 2:45 pm

    Yeah another reviewer brought up the spoilery family tree and I just don’t get why they put that stuff into the book, basically not making part of the story necessary. I might skip this one. Great review as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heather @ The Sassy Book Geek January 31, 2018 / 1:50 pm

      Thank you! And yes I couldn’t believe that they would put that in the book at all let alone the beginning! It made no sense to make her father such a big plot point when it’s spoiled right away. I don’t blame you for skipping this one, that’s for sure! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. amortalreader1 January 17, 2018 / 8:08 am

    Fantastic Review, this was one on my TBR but I won’t rush to get it now. I’m really not great with books which are super slow, with slow romances and no action or tension. I always need something that boosts it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heather @ The Sassy Book Geek February 13, 2018 / 11:19 am

      Thank you Hannah!
      I seem to be the black sheep with this book, lots of other people seem to be loving it! But I thought it was just too slow and like you said I need a bit more action! I’m always so awkward with my book reviews because I’m always thinking “Wait! No! Don’t listen to me you might like the book!” haha! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • amortalreader1 February 16, 2018 / 6:46 am

        Ahah I get you completely! It’s like hey I didn’t like it but you might so don’t listen to me… but do listen to me. Just go in neutral and not expect greatness 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Heather @ The Sassy Book Geek February 19, 2018 / 4:10 pm

        Oh my gosh yes that’s exactly what I need to start saying haha, just go into it neutral! I love it! 🙂


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