Author: Sarah Fine
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Magic | Romance
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderly Books
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.
But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.
Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed (goodreads).
The Impostor Queen is a beautiful tale of a young girl trying to find her place in a world that wants to use her.
Plot: Truth be told, I didn't know if Sarah Fine was an author for me. I have tried reading her other series without much success, but The Impostor Queen took me pleasantly by surprise. It begins as Elli is preparing herself to become the future queen. She is young and leads a pretty pampered life. So pampered that she doesn't even have to bathe herself. She sits upon a plush cushion while people adore her.
After the queen dies from too much magic exertion, Elli is ready to take her place as magic wielder and queen. Too bad she can't wield any magic. In order to protect herself, she flees the palace and ends up among the banished - a people she thought deserved their fate.
I adore stories like this - a young girl who lives in a gilded cage and sees the world for the first time when her world is turned upside down. I admit that The Impostor Queen started off quite shaky. There were a lot of terms and references that were thrown around, and I didn't feel comfortable in the world to understand everything that was happening. Once Elli is thrust from her palace life, I became more invested in the world, characters, and helping Elli get to the bottom of why she couldn't wield magic.
Characters: Elli is the perfect YA fantasy heroine. She is a spoiled, but it's not her fault. From a young age, she was taken from her family because the stars told of a young girl that would grow up to be a strong queen. Given her status, she never wanted for anything and led a very privileged life. I enjoyed watching her grow when her blinders are finally removed. She takes such joys in small things and approaches the world with such a naivety that I couldn't help but fall in love with her. She is complex, determined, and doesn't find inside anyone's box.
Elli is also the first bisexual character I've ever read in a YA fantasy novel. I didn't know what to expect of it since most stories usually have a character have a very definitive interest. I liked that Elli's sexuality was fluid and that it was never the focus.
Worldbuilding: The Impostor Queen feels a lot like most YA fantasy novels. While the beginning of the novel had me feeling a bit unbalanced with the terms and magic system, I quickly understood the power hierarchy and all of the political balances.
Short N Sweet: The Impostor Queen will become your next favorite fantasy novel. I'm sure of it!