Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Rating: 2/5 stars

The Orphan Queen has a fantastic premise: in a world were magic produces a toxic waste called the Wraith, magic has been banned from most kingdoms and those who practice it are sentenced to death.

Wilhelmina is the lost princess of the Aecor Kingdom, which was conquered a few years ago by the Indigo Kingdom. After having witnessed her parents’ execution, Wil and other royal children who manage to escape form a street team name the Ospreys. Together they’ll plan an infiltration to the royal palace so they finally recover their kingdom and save their people from Indigo’s cruel regimen.

The problem with this book was, there was nothing remarkable besides the idea behind it. Despite the idea of magic producing wastes that encases entire cities in amber and a Princess infiltrating an enemy castle to free her people, none of those concepts are actually approached and what we got is a girl and her friend flirting with guards, dancing and complaining about the bustier royal ladies in Indigo (in case you didn’t’ know, having breasts makes you an asshole just FYI), flirting with a mystery vigilante and talking about clothes, leaving very little room for the actual take of the Kingdom.

Don’t get me wrong, I mean, clichés can still make a good story in the hands of a skilled writer, this however was not the case. The book was dumb, boring and frankly not what I was expecting.

When I hear a plot such as infiltrate a castle and take back a kingdom, I imagine mystery, danger and clever plans. Instead I came across really dumb ideas that work because the plot demands it, forgettable characters and predictable plot lines.

I’m sorry if I’m being harsh, but this was my first big disappointment of the year and it’s January 10th! This is not the best start for my reading year.

As I said, the plot has some original ideas, such as the Wraith, Black Knife (a vigilante who gets rid of thieves such as Wil) and Wil’s powers. The problem is, they are carried in a way that it’s so unoriginal that it takes away its value. There is no exploration on the world, which we know nothing about, or the characters, everything is simple and one-dimensional, something I wasn’t a fan of.

The plot consisted of Wil and her friend infiltrating the castle of one o the most powerful kingdoms in the world, and you know how they do it? They pretend to be ladies from a Kingdom destroyed by the Wraith (even though it had been confirmed that no one had survived). Wil and her friends simply write some papers saying who they are (but without any royal seal or anything) and they are allowed to stay in the castle, for as long as they want! Nobody checks their identities or corroborates their stories, they say they are ladies and they believe them.

I really don’t feel like getting into details since I could spoil things, but nothing really makes much sense.. Wil has met the Indigo Prince when she was younger, and if he recognizes her (which she’s not sure on whether he would or not) she and her friend would be likely tortured for information and later killed. But for some reason, Wil never shares this information with anybody, not even her friend, keeping it a secret that there is someone in the castle who could blow the entire operation because… I don’t know actually why she does this. I mean yes, I get that the author did it to build tension with Wil wondering on whether the Prince recognizes her and keeping it a secret from her friend but what reason does Wil have to keep it a secret besides being dumb?

There were no secrets or surprises for me and I guessed pretty much the entire plot at 16%. It wasn’t hard, considering how I have read it so many times before in different books, and the identity of Black Knife was the most obvious of them all.

The characters were one dimensional. Wil spends her day complaining about what it was like to have her kingdom being taken away from her, but I never actually felt her rage. It just seemed like something she had to say. The rest of the time she would spend sneering at the other Ladies who try to befriend her (even though she should gather intel and making friends would take some suspicion off of her) and sensing that something is going on with her friends but DOING NOTHING ABOUT IT!

I would recommend it to people who don’t read much YA or are fans of the genres and wouldn’t mind the things I pointed out. If you are looking for a fantastic fantasy book with wonderful characters, intrigue and more… this is not for you.

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