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?
Full disclosure, I went into this book thinking it was a standalone, and I spent the majority of my reading time still thinking that, so that affected my view of the book. I later learnt that The Queen’s Rising is the first in a series, so now my feelings are a bit off.
The beginning was incredibly slow, but something about it drew me in. Ross’ writing style made this book a very easy read, so while I wasn’t loving the slow plot, I was enjoying it all the same.
The concept isn’t all that original. The main character chooses to study a passion while she is being hidden from her father. Then there’s talk of overthrowing a king, and it’s all very standard YA fantasy. That said, it was still an enjoyable read.
One thing I really didn’t like about The Queen’s Rising was the student/teacher relationship that was brewing from the beginning. It made me so incredibly uncomfortable because this guy had known Brienna from a young age, and he had been teaching her for the past three years. It really didn’t sit well with me, especially as he was so much older.
I would really have preferred this book to stay a standalone, because that’s one of the things that really made it stand out from the YA fantasy crowd at the moment. There are so many series that really could have been condensed into a single longer book, and I really thought The Queen’s Rising worked well as a standalone. The story wrapped up really well and I’m not sure where it could or would go from here.