Cover of Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

About the Book

Title: The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1)
Published: 2015

Cover Story: Invisibility Cloak
BFF Charm: Heck Yes!
Talky Talk: Deja Vu (But That’s Not a Bad Thing)
Bonus Factors: Badass Lady, Mysterious Loner Dude
Anti-Bonus Factor: Cliffhanger
Relationship Status: Pledging My Fealty

Cover Story: Invisibility Cloak

I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with this cloak, but the way it’s shimmering in places, billowing in others, and completely disappearing in others still makes me think there’s more going on here than plain old fabric.

The Deal:

Nearly a decade ago, Princess Wilhelmina Korte was run out of her country thanks to the One-Night War waged by a neighboring country. For most of the decade, she’s been in hiding, training and plotting ways to free her people from foreign rule. But revolution’s not the only thing on her mind: a dark force called wraith—caused, possibly, by overuse of magic—is moving slowly closer to civilization, turning everything in its path into warped mutations and causing people to become refugees.

Posing as one of those refugees, Wilhelmina infiltrates the palace of her enemies to learn more about their army and tactics, but she soon realizes that the rule of her enemies might not be her people’s most pressing concern.

BFF Charm: Heck Yes!

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

Not only is Wilhelmina, or Wil, as she prefers, a princess, but she’s also a total badass. She’s trained for many years to become both mentally and physically strong, and proves it on a daily basis. She’s also super loyal, but she’s not blinded by those loyalties; she’s got more than a good helping of common sense to go along with her street smarts.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

One might not think a girl would have time to find romance when she’s plotting to retake a country and rid the world of a demonic force, but there’s always room for a little swoon. And, in this case, the swoon stems from enmistry, which always makes it just a little bit hotter.

Talky Talk: Deja Vu (But That’s Not a Bad Thing?)

The Orphan Queen is not a completely original story (see also: The Queen of the Tearling, The Throne of Glass series), but that doesn’t mean it’s not an entertaining read. Jodi Meadows has crafted an engaging story and a well-built world filled with interesting characters. High fantasy stories often include similar tropes: magic gone awry, princes and princesses who aren’t exactly what they seem, political games of thrones. So although the story at the heart of The Orphan Queen feels familiar, if you’re a fan of this type of story, it hits all the right marks.

Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Dude

Jordan Catalano, a hot brooding stoner, in My So-Called Life

Before she infiltrates the palace, Wil spends time in the surrounding city, studying the lay of the land and the schedule of the royal guards. While on these spy missions, Wil has run-ins with a masked vigilante called Black Knife, who typically takes people like her to prison. For some reason, however, Black Knife spares her and her friends. And does so with a gleam in his (very young, very attractive) eyes.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Cliffhanger

A man dressed all in black (Sylvester Stallone) clings to a cliff face

The Orphan Queen ramps up the action until the very last moment, and leaves readers with a terrible cliffhanger on the last page. It’s going to be hard to wait until next year (at the very least) to find out what happens in the next book in the series.

Relationship Status: Pledging My Fealty

I’m a sucker for a fun fantasy story, and even though yours, Book, wasn’t filled with anything all that new, it drew me in. I’m looking forward to diving in again with the next chapter in the series.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Katherine Tegen Books. This review was originally posted on Kirkus Reviews in exchange for monetary compensation, which did not affect or influence my opinions. The Orphan Queen is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.