Adventure (Teen), Fantasy (Teen), Series, YA Fiction

The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst – Queens of Renthia #1

I’ve had my eye on this novel for a while. I really liked the premise of it, which reminded me a lot of the Queen of the Tearling series. I really like fantasy stories with strong female leads and this one showed a lot of promise.

Everything has a spirit, be it the wind or the stream or even a beautiful willow tree. But these spirits are malicious and they have only one desire: ridding the land of all humans. There is only one woman who can control these malevolent spirits, and it is the Queen. She alone has the power to bind the spirits and prevent them from harming or killing all of mankind. But even the queen is only human, and the threat of danger is ever-present. To protect the queen and safeguard the future of humanity, young women are chosen to train as heirs to the throne. These are women who are powerful, confident, and have an affinity for controlling the spirits. Daleina, is a quiet academy student, who simply wants to protect the weak – even as she knows she has no real claim to the throne. Ven is a disgraced Champion who has spent his time in exile fighting against the growing spirit attacks on villages in the outskirts. When these two join forces, they embark on a dangerous quest to find the source of the attacks. It is a journey that will test their courage and loyalty, as they make difficult decisions to protect their home… before it’s bathed in blood.

I really enjoyed this book. No, seriously, I really loved it. I sat down in a really uncomfortable part of my bed, thinking I would only read a chapter or two and when I next looked up, the whole day had gone and I was pretty much done the novel. That’s how good it was. I don’t think I’ve had a reaction like this since Queen of the Tearling! If you liked that series, then this is definitely a novel for you!

I thought the magic system with these spirits and powers was really well developed and quite cool! It was out of the ordinary realm of fantasy novels, which made me pay more attention to it. The author gave the right amount of detail in every instance; I never felt the need to skim because it was too much information, and I also never felt like it was lacking! I loved the richness of the world this author created because it truly was unique!

Daleina is an awesome character. She isn’t amazing at anything; she works hard to achieve her goals, and I really admire that. I’ve started to get bored of the stereotypical badass heroine – Daleina is definitely not stereotypical. She has her doubts and anxieties and she isn’t the best at anything. What makes her special is her determination and drive, that she is inherently good and doesn’t let difficulties get her down. In short, she is a character you can root for!

There were some instances where the plot sped up to cover a number of years. We cover pretty much all of Daleina’s schooling through a series of time jumps. I wasn’t a big fan of this as I felt that the transitions were a little choppy, but I can understand why the author decided to get through that in order to get to the really juicy parts of the story. I didn’t mind too much, especially as the rest of the plot were worth it!

I liked how this story was not just about magic, but also survival and the fear of losing power and authority. I liked that the main character was someone who didn’t really have ambition, and was someone you truly felt had her heart in the right place. I liked the supporting characters, even though they didn’t really figure into the story too much. There were times when I wish the other characters had had more of a presence in the story instead of just going away but I’m hoping that the author will bring them back in some form in the second novel.

Overall, this book really impressed me with its intricate details and unique plot! I loved the main character, the action, and the overall power struggle. I cannot wait for the second book in this series! If you liked Queen of the Tearling, then definitely give this one a go!

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