I had been anticipating the release of The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows from the moment I caught wind of it. I have not yet read Meadows’ other series, Incarnate, but I was eager to begin with this new tale. The Orphan Queen follows Wilhelmina, a queen who’s parents were murdered when she was a child and who’s kingdom has been overtaken by another ruler. Queen Wilhemina is determined to regain her kingdom and she co-leads a group called The Ospreys who have been plotting and planning the demise of the Indigo Kingdom. She and her best friend Melanie are tasked with invading the palace but Wilhelmina’s plans are often interrupted by a masked vigilante named Black Knife. The book ends with a major cliffhanger which has launched the OQ support group on Twitter.
To be completely honest, I was really hoping to love The Orphan Queen, and to possibly name it as a new favorite but it just didn’t do it for me which is disappointing because so many other people I know had loved it. The book was enjoyable and I was very intrigued by the world that Meadows crafted, but I was able to predict one major plot twist extremely early on so I wasn’t as excited or shocked when the big reveal rolled around. If I hadn’t figured out what I did, I suppose I would be more enthused about my overall reading experience.
Wilhelmina is a strong female lead who doesn’t make it a habit to heed to the opinion’s of other men. She faces a great internal struggle in infiltrating the palace, for these are the very people responsible for her parent’s death. Wil is constantly thinking of her people and putting the well-being of her kingdom before that of herself. Patrick, the other leader of the Osprey’s is highly unlikeable which is what the author intended. He struck me as a power hungry misogynist. On the other hand, Black Knife is a mysterious vigilante and I found myself constantly hoping for Wil to have more run-ins with him. He’s risking his life every night to help keep the kingdom safe even though he’s demonized by the royal guard.
The prohibited use of magic was what I found most interesting about the book. Magic has been banned in all kingdom’s as part of the Wraith Alliance because they believe that magic is what is attracting beasts and misfortune. Wil was raised with a different outlook, but as she begins to experience the wraith firsthand, she begins having more conflicted feelings about what she thought she had been certain of. I think the writing in the book is fun and quick to read but I couldn’t help feeling like something was missing.
Final Thoughts: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows is overall an enjoyable read. It’s a high fantasy novel with a plot that was a tad too predictable for my liking. Wilhelmina is a strong female lead and the world Meadows created is definitely original and worth reading but I wouldn’t say the story was mind-blowing by any means.
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
Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world. (via Goodreads)