The Queen’s Rising is Rebecca Ross’s debut novel and if this is anything to go by – sign me up for everything she writes in the future! I absolutely loved this world, the characters, the writing style, everything about The Queen’s Rising! I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy of this at New York Comic Con back in October. This can easily be read as a standalone, but at the time of this review, Rebecca has tweeted that she is working on a second book!
Title: The Queen’s Rising
Author: Rebecca Ross
Release Date: February 6th, 2018
Rating: 4/5 stars
The first few pages of The Queen’s Rising begin by showing family trees and listing important characters. Immediately I was confused and worried this would be overwhelming – but fear not! It will all make sense once you begin to meet the characters. When you start, skip over the family trees and go back to them later once you know whom the characters are. (It’s fascinating to read the family trees later once you know who everyone is!)
In that sense, this book reminded me of Game of Thrones from the beginning – large histories, a lot of families ruling different areas of the kingdom – but none of the violence, blood, and murder that comes with Game of Thrones. The back cover says this is great for fans of Game of Thrones and I agree, if you’re interested in the family history and character relationship aspect – this is perfect.
We start off with Brienna’s grandfather bringing little 10-year-old Brienna to Magnalia House to become a passion. (Her mother passed on when she was young, and she never knew who her father was.) There are five passions, and each girl attending the school has a natural talent for one of the five —art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge. They study under a master of that passion for 7 years before coming of age and excelling in that passion, leaving off into the world with a patron.
The story starts off a little slow and confusing, but it quickly picked up as we meet the six girls who are studying at the school. Typically it is only one girl per passion, but Brienna was an exception and even she does not know why she was accepted to this school as she struggles with the passions. We learn a little about all the girls and the friendship and sisterhood that has formed between them over the years. I loved seeing female friendship that turned into sisterhood shown in such a positive way. The girls all encourage each other and work together, despite their different areas of expertise.
One of my favorite things in the book is the lack of strong romance. There is some romance, Brienna does have her eye on a certain someone (and I’m rooting for them! I love forbidden romance!), but it is very minor part of the story and Brienna keeps her mind on her mission. This isn’t a story about love. This is a story about bravery, about putting the rightful queen back on her throne and about family and the bonds of friendship.
There are two kingdoms – Valenia, where Brienna lives, and Maevana to the north, a kingdom known for valuing daughters over sons. Maevana always had a queen on their throne – until the queens magic overcame her in battle and a king was placed upon the throne. The Queen’s Rising covers all of this history and information and how Brienna is involved in placing a queen back on Maevana’s throne.
I honestly couldn’t put this book down once I started reading it. It captures you and makes you want to keep reading, finding out what will happen next! I’m terrible at predicting what will happen, so to me, nothing in this book was predictable.
There is also a very interesting aspect that I loved that deals with – I’m hesitant to call it this – “time travel”. We learn about things that happened in the past in a very unique way, and I loved that! (So it’s not exactly time travel but… you’ll find out when you read it.)
My only complaint would be that the ending felt rushed. Everything wrapped up quickly and easily at the end. Not to say that things felt dragged out at all during the novel, but the ending simply felt like it was too quick. I am satisfied with the way the story ends and the way that it ends, it could be read as a standalone or there could be a continuation. (At the time of writing this review, there is no scheduled Book 2, although the author has tweeted she is currently editing a second book for this series!)
If you are a fan of Game of Thrones or the Shannara Chronicles and are looking for a great fantasy tale, I would highly recommend this one! I loved the journey and look forward to reading more about Brienna!