Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst

Series: The Queens of Renthia #2
368 p.
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Published: 7/4/17
Source: From author for review
Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .
And those spirits want to kill you.
It’s the first lesson that every Renthian learns. 
(minor spoilers for first book in blurb) Not long ago, Daleina used her strength and skill to survive those spirits and assume the royal throne. Since then, the new queen has kept the peace and protected the humans of her land. But now for all her power, she is hiding a terrible secret: she is dying. And if she leaves the world before a new heir is ready, the spirits that inhabit her beloved realm will run wild, destroying her cities and slaughtering her people. 
Naelin is one such person, and she couldn’t be further removed from the Queen—and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Her world is her two children, her husband, and the remote village tucked deep in the forest that is her home, and that’s all she needs. But when Ven, the Queens champion, passes through the village, Naelin’s ambitious husband proudly tells him of his wife’s ability to control spirits—magic that Naelin fervently denies. She knows that if the truth of her abilities is known, it will bring only death and separation from those she loves. 
But Ven has a single task: to find the best possible candidate to protect the people of Aratay. He did it once when he discovered Daleina, and he’s certain he’s done it again. Yet for all his appeals to duty, Naelin is a mother, and she knows her duty is to her children first and foremost. Only as the Queen’s power begins to wane and the spirits become emboldened—even as ominous rumors trickle down from the north—does she realize that the best way to keep her son and daughter safe is to risk everything.
My thoughts (spoiler free):

You hear so much about sophomore slump in series but this one has none of that. I really liked the first book, but I have to say I enjoyed this one a bit more. This may also be enjoyed more by adults than the first one as one of the heroines in the tale is a mother, Naelin, who is quite mature to start, but still grows and has even more maturity in the end.

This book is split between several POVs (more than the first book) but you are never lost and it flows well. The multiple POVs enhance the story and bring you more fully into what is going on. We do get less of Daleina, our heroine of the last story, and her role and character feel like it is more relegated to a secondary character which might be my only complaint about the book. I really wanted to be with her as she also grew into more maturity. However, this is really a minor niggle and I still enjoyed the character who has fully embraced her new role in the story.

There were red herrings I fell for, some twists I figured out early and one huge twist I didn't see coming. This was an interesting adventure and a harder puzzle to see come together. It did fall into place well in the end and the book feels complete. You are left with open roads to more books in the series but no real cliffie... until... the epilogue. It wasn't the kind of cliffhanger I hate but it is one that does the job nicely in making me want the next book NOW.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I really think this one was even better than the first book, but do not skip that first book. The first book solidifies the world and the problems within it. It is also a good book and should not be missed on that merit. I highly recommend this series to those that enjoy fantasy. It can also be easily enjoyed by those that don't foray too deep in fantasy since it isn't heavy handed but an enjoyable adventure.

If you missed it, the review of first book, The Queen of Blood.
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52 comments:

  1. Omg yes I do need to read book1

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    1. Yes you do!! :D I think you will love the second book like I did. :)

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  2. Gah! I can't read this review because I need to read the first one but I can't wait!

    For What It's Worth

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    1. but... but... it's spoilerish free! LOL I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

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  3. I was really hoping this would be a good read so I'm excited you loved it so much! Now I need to get myself a copy. ;)

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  4. Yeah! Love the twists and red herrings kept you guessing and yeah to no sophomore slump!

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    1. I thought I should have seen one twist, but she totally got me. LOL

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  5. SO glad this one didn't fall into the sophomore slump for you! Great review!

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  6. New to me and yes, these sound great. I love that book two was stronger for you and gave you some good twists.

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    1. I think people will love the second book even more. :)

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  7. Great post! I just followed your blog! Mind checking out my latest review on "The Book Thief"? It can be found here: https://armchairbythefire.blogspot.com/ πŸ˜ƒ Thanks!

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    1. Sorry for the delay, but I will get to checking out your blog very soon! :) Playing catch up now.

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  8. Well that sounds really exciting! Love a good twist I don't see coming.

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  9. it is great to hear that this one was better than book 1! I don't think I knew about it.

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    1. It is a good series so far! I think you would enjoy.

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  10. being horribly tired, all I can think of is "ooo pretty spirit. ahhh don't kill me!" hahaha definitely terrible of me. Hope new queen gets chosen soon

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  11. I am impressed and wow do I like the sound of this. I am adding book one Melissa!

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  12. Yay to no sophomore slumps! Nowadays I'm more worried to series finales it seems. This sounds great and adding to my tbr.

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    1. I'm with you. I've had bad luck with finales but love it when it doesn't happen. :)

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  13. It's always exciting when a second book manages to be just as strong as the first. So glad that was the case with this one!
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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  14. I have never read this author but it is always a good sign when the second book is as strong if not stronger than the first!

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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  15. I suffer so badly from the sophomore slump when it comes to series. There are so many series out there that I've read the first one, loved it, read the second book and gave up on the series all together. I always thought it was me but I guess it's a thing. Glad to hear this one was even better than the first book.

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    1. I don't usually worry about it too much but I know a lot of people really look out for it.

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  16. I love it when a series gets better book on book and this sounds like a good one. ☺️

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  17. Glad to know book 2 is better than its predecessor. I will be putting this on wish list. Great review.

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  18. I'm so glad you enjoyed this! I have been hearing so many good things about this series, I need to pick it up ASAP! Wonderful review!!

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  19. I've heard good things about this series, but I haven't read too much about it before. I read your review of the first book too, and I'll have to check it out! It's always good to know the second book is even better than the first when starting out! :) Great review!

    Rachel @ Paper Cuts

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    1. Thanks for coming by, will check out your blog soon. I do hope you give this author a try! :)

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  20. I got this one in the email recently. Happy it was good. I'll need to get the first book.

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  21. Love the cover. I'm so glad the book is as good as I'd hoped it would be looking at the artwork.

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  22. I've had book 1 on my radar for a while so I am glad to hear this one doesn't let you down. I don't always mind multiple povs, but it can be confusing. Again, good to know that the book still flows despite

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    1. Oh nice. I do hope you enjoy. The POV changes were so easy to follow.

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  23. Oh! Totally sounds like my kind of book! And the second one already? Wow. That felt quick. lol. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Yep, I do think this one is a series you would love.

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  24. I so need to start this series. Love the premise, the covers, and even the beginning when I read it. Soon ha ha! Great review, glad this was even better than the first one!

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    1. I hope you enjoy as much or more than I did! :)

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  25. Ohh, haven't read anything from this author before but reading your review makes me want to try it. Plus, I love the cover!

    xx
    Vanessa @ Blushing Geek

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Thanks for commenting! I ❤ comments!