The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I've admittedly been sleeping on the works of Jodi Meadows for a while, but recently, when there erupted a furor over the cover of her upcoming series starter, Before She Ignites, I realized I might have been missing out on some good books. So I'm going to be combing through her oeuvre for a while to get a taste before BSI - which I really want to read - hits shelves.
As a first impression of Meadows' work, I probably would've found a better one with her Incarnate series, because The Orphan Queen certainly isn't as stellar as its first 100 pages or so might imply. Sure, the book has a pretty interesting premise - its main character being a lost princess stolen from another kingdom, raised in cozy captivity, but now wreaking havoc in a gang of thieves - but those first 100 pages or so, the most five-star parts of the book, quickly give way to a slow remainder. The world-building is pretty minimal, although we do get enough details to notice certain strong similarities to competing fantasy books. Like those of Leigh Bardugo - a distant dark entity toxifying the landscape like in the Grisha Trilogy, heisting and magic like in Six of Crows - or V.E. Schwab - Wil's tendency to cross-dress as needed reminding me strongly of Lila Bard - or Sara Raasch - lost princess fighting to get back to her magic kingdom.
There's not a lot that's new in The Orphan Queen, but it does have that strong beginning going for it, and I certainly hope the sequel is an improvement. And also the Incarnate series. And certainly Before She Ignites, which looks like it'll be really unique and fun to read.
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