Finding a YA fantasy with a unique quality is always a priority of mine when choosing a new series to become invested in.
For The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross, the quality seemed to have been in part to its subject being born to unique qualities that manifest in one of five passions.
Did Ross’ take on passions push The Queen’s Rising to the forefront of YA fantasy or did it leave the reader wanting more? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.
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The Queen’s Rising (Untitled Trilogy #1) by Rebecca Ross
Publisher: HarperTeen (February 6, 2018)
Print Length: 464 pages
Audiobook Length: 12 hrs and 50 mins
Narrator: Suzanne Elise Freeman
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?
The Queen’s Rising is an atmospheric read with a lot of potential that is, hopefully, fully explored in its sequels.
The Queen’s Rising follows the story of seventeen-year-old Brienna as she sets out to find a patron that will aid her in developing her passion for knowledge in a wold rife with secrets.
As this is the first book in a trilogy, The Queen’s Rising is very plot heavy. This could have been the reason for the pacing being a bit on the slow side, however, the world in which Ross has created is rife with class systems, political ties, and magical abilities that need to be explained for the reader to enjoy the novel. I did rather enjoy the passion system, which is separated into five key roles – art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge – and felt it added a unique layer to this YA fantasy novel.
I rather enjoyed the importance of women, their relationships – both platonic and romantic -, and their choices in The Queen’s Rising. For all her flaws, Brienna is one of the more real protagonists I’ve read about over the past several months. Her choices are weighted with both consequence and reward, making each choice have meaning. I rather enjoyed her relationships with both her passion sisters and her passion family. It was nice to see that even though she began the story as an ‘orphan’ her ending saw her have family both by blood and by choice. I also enjoyed the slow burning relationship between Brienna and Cartier, though the only thing I was confused about on that front was how big of an age difference there was between the two.
Now on to the reasons why I couldn’t rate The Queen’s Rising higher. First, while I found the family trees helpful to keep the characters coherent in my brain, having them at the beginning of the novel didn’t quite allow the ‘who’s Brienna’s father’ mystery to pack a serious punch. Secondly While the action of the novel was spread out rather evenly, I felt as if the last fifty or so pages wrapped up so nicely that I don’t quite understand how The Queen’s Rising is the beginning of a trilogy rather than a stand alone. I suppose on the later point, time will tell.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
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And those are my thoughts on The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross. Do you have any epic YA fantasies that you think I should check out? Leave it as a comment below and help my TBR grow.