The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Release Date: March 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Finished Copy provided by Publisher
Series: The Orphan Queen #1
Summary (goodreads.com): 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.
I like that readers are thrown into the action of the story and have to keep reading to understand who the Ospreys are and why they want to infiltrate the palace. I enjoyed learning about the research the Ospreys did in order to take the mission on and why it is so imperative. The world of the novel was teased out through the course of the novel and made all the more interesting because of it. I just had to keep reading. The Wraith and Black Knife add elements of danger and intrigue to the story which makes The Orphan Queen incredibly compelling. I couldn’t put it down!
As odd as it sounds my favorite part of the entire book was a small part of Wil’s abilities. The art of forgery came heavily into play and it was fascinating. At one point Wil is writing a letter to one of the orphaned nobles that make up the Ospreys and she asks herself which handwriting she should use. I find it remarkable that she doesn’t have one of her own and it testifies to the fact that she’s a master forger. I liked reading about this aspect of Wil’s personality; it’s an original trait that I hope to see more of in future novels. Wil was a very strong protagonist and throughout the book she grows into the leader she hopes to one day become. I admired her courage and her passion. It also helps that she’s badass!
I’m intrigued by the Wraith that is coming for the Indigo Kingdom. The palace is fighting a war on two fronts and the Wraith isn’t stopping. At first I was confused by the concept of it but once the story goes on its purpose becomes clear as well as scary. I have become attached to these characters and I don’t want that Wraith anywhere near them! The sequel for The Orphan Queen is going to be fantastic!