The Queen of Blood
(The Queens of Renthia #1)
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Kindle ASIN: B01ARKV3T4
Genre: YA Fantasy
An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure
Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .
But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.
With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.
The Queen of Blood was a welcomed surprise in the midst of trying to combat a terrible episode of mood reading. You know that kind where your mood changes every 15 minutes so you simply cannot stay focused on one book. Well the Queen of Blood turned out to be the needed antidote.
Inhabited by humans and hostile spirits, Renthia’s 5 countries that are each governed by a queen. She is charged with maintaining the peace and keeping hostile spirits at bay. These spirits consist of wood, earth, wind, water and fire. While responsible for creating the very homes the humans dwell in, they are also the biggest threat to humankind. They are untamed and lethal. Life is reliant on each queen’s ability to fully contain their wild nature and protect her people. During a time of increased restlessness among the spirits, young Daleina soon discovers that she has the ability to command them. When she is whisked away to the academy to hone her skills she is unexpectedly selected to be trained as an heir under Ven, a fallen champion of the queen. Together Daleina and Ven will find that they are at the center of a huge battle to tame the land and settle the unrest.
I found myself instantly committed to Daleina. She is young, energetic and equal parts smart and realistic but never all-knowing or over powered. It was easy to appreciate her weaknesses and strengths. She struggles to grip her newfound skills and life while maintaining a necessary amount of confidence. The end result is a character who beautifully evolves into one of great fondness and admiration.
Ven is a fallen champion who finds himself once again for responsible for selecting and training a candidate to possibly become the heir of the throne. He is devout and fierce while exposing a very humane side through glimpses of his moral struggles in regards to his relationship with the Queen. Fervent about protecting the land, he provides a complementary and welcomed perspective to the Queen of Blood.
The plot and world are the bread and butter of this element laden fantasy. The author has ingeniously constructed a story that relies on the land to flourish. Together they work in unison to create an immensely absorbing adventure that is expansive and lustrous. While the magic system is simplistic in theory, what it lacks in complexity is easily forgiven with its rare distinctiveness.
The crisp writing is invigorating and inviting. Pages turn effortlessly as alternating, interdependent point of views between Ven and Daleina offer a fully encompassing read. The Queen of Blood is saturated with beauty and darkness, producing a gratifying story that caters perfectly to fans of high magic fantasy.