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.
Disclaimer: This review may contain some things you consider to be spoilers. You have been warned.
Why we chose it: We read Emily May‘s review of this book.
Review It seems to us that books about spirit kingdoms or books about relationships between humans and spirits in a single kingdom are becoming a thing. The Queen of Blood is the first book with such a world that we’ve read and we’ve got to admit…we were surprised by how much we enjoyed it.
Sarah Beth Durst is not an author who’s books we’ve liked before. We’ve tried many of them and we gave up because we simply couldn’t connect, didn’t want to connect. As far as we were concerned Sarah Beth Durst was an author who’s writing just wasn’t for us. In some respects this book has changed that and let us tell you why.
The concept of spirits needing a Queen, a human Queen who they would hate and serve is so very interesting. The idea of these spirits having the ability to choose this Queen is also interesting, but do you know what the most interesting thing about this book is?
The entire Kingdom is a forest and the people live in trees. Villages and cities are made of trees. Wonderfully strong and beautiful trees that would happily rip you to shreds if they got the chance.
It’s the ripping all the humans to shreds part that kicks off this book and the journey of our main characters, Daleina and Ven, but mainly Daleina. The ruling people in the five countries that make up Renthia are after all, Queens.
In Aratay (the forest Kingdom that we find so cool) girls who have any semblance of power with regards to controlling spirits attend The Academy. It’s a place where young girls are trained in all aspects of Queendom in the hopes they’ll become more powerful as they age and train and learn. In the hopes that they’ll be picked to become and heir and in the hopes that when the ruling Queen dies the spirits will have a whole bunch of heirs to choose from.
We had a problem with the big time jumps that occurred at the beginning of this book, but we got over them quite quickly.
With a title such as this one we expected Daleina to attend his academy and ace everything. To be the best. To be the strongest. We soon discovered that in terms of raw power Daleina is probably one of the weakest students in the academy. We had our suspicions about this however.
One such suspicion was that Daleina would have some sort of special ability to compensate for her weakness. She would be able to do things no one else could like a special little snowflake. She would overcome all the odds and triumph.
We’re not going to confirm whether or not we were correct because even though we always have minor spoilers in our reviews, we don’t actually want to ruin your entire lives.
We expected Daleina to become Queen and give inspiration to people and then swoon at some boy because that’s just what happens in young adult fantasy sometimes.
Luckily for us and luckily for you all forms of anything remotely romantic are even less than a subplot. They’re a sub, subplot. So little they couldn’t even overwhelm a cute little fire spirit and and its elemental buddies who want to make the forest kingdom grow and shatter you because you’re human.
And really, what are you contributing to this world as a human being?
While we did indeed predict some things that were going to happen in The Queen of Blood, there were other events or revelations that completely blindsided us. We did not expect them and we’re really looking forward to how they play out in the next book.
Another thing we didn’t expect was the lack of jealousy and drama in the academy. Typically a young adult book with so many female characters has petty fights and alterations woven needlessly into its plot. It’s a stereotype and it’s annoying.
We’re thrilled to announce that Sarah Beth Durst didn’t allow herself to fall into such a cop out.
We won’t deny that some characters such as our lovely Daliena experienced envy over the more powerful students, her friends, but at no point in the book did she hate them for it. She supported them the whole way and they supported her.
It was so refreshing!
To conclude, The Queen of Blood is both a good start to a fantasy series and a good book by itself. We’re really happy that we enjoyed it and finished it and we think with all the spirits and magic and action more people should check it out. It’s a definitely a book we’re going to go about recommending.
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