Title: The Queen of Blood
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Series: The Queens of Renthia (Book #1)
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages
ISBN-10: 0062413341 (Harper Voyager)
ISBN-13: 978-0062413345 (Harper Voyager)
Reviewed by: Kristie
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.
Quick & Dirty: Dark, terrifying world ruled by spirits where one girl through her smarts and ingenuity learns how to control these deadly creatures. I recommend for fans of fantasy and young adult fantasy novels.
Opening Sentence: Don’t trust the fire, for it will burn you.
The Queen of Blood is the beginning of a new series by Sarah Beth Durst called The Queens of Renthia. The novel follows the story of Deleina as she learns to control the spirits that control the land around her. The Queen of Blood is billed as an adult story but it really did feel like a young adult novel. There are some themes that make it a bit edgier, especially the level of violence but I honestly feel it is no edgier than Sarah J. Maas’ novels. (I actually think those novels are a bit more edgy than this was.)
First off, I feel like I should describe the world that the characters live in. This is a world where humans are not the top of the food chain. They think they are but they are not. There are six main spirits that make up the land. Fire, ice, water, air, earth and trees. In my mind, I see these spirits as looking more like faeries or pixies but in reality these spirits are humanoid to an extent. They vary in size and shape. Each one can look like the different animals found in nature. These spirits have only one driving desire: To kill humans. They hate humans with a passion. The only thing keeping the spirits in check is the Queen. There are five Queens that control the spirits within their lands’ borders. The Queen’s hold the ultimate power to control the spirits and keep them from killing the humans that live there. There are other humans that have power to control the spirits, these people also vary in power level but unfortunately most humans can’t control the spirits at all.
There are three characters that the story follows in The Queen of Blood, each one gets their own POV’s as the story plays out. Deleina is the character the story mainly follows as she grows up learning how to control her powers over the spirits that make up the land that the humans live on. As a child, Deleina survived the slaughter of her town only because of the control she wielded to keep the spirits from killing her and her family. Deleina is not all-powerful. (Although we do meet the character who is during the course of this novel.) Deleina often struggles with her control over the spirits. She gets by because of her ingenuity and her smarts. She often doubts herself and her place in the world but then she remembers why she is doing it all for in the first place: To protect her family. Deleina is one character that I really respected. She comes from a good place and her reasons to become a candidate for Queen make her someone that other people should respect. I will say that she does do something pretty terrible but in the end it is a decision that she doesn’t take lightly as lives are at stake. The reasoning why I think this seems like such a young adult book is because the events take place when Deleina is ten years to eighteen years old.
Ven is the badass Champion that ends up picking Deleina as his candidate to become Queen. As a Champion, Ven is a warrior that knows how to fight off the spirits. His first duty is to protect the Queen and then his second duty is to find someone who can take her place when she inevitably dies. He trains Deleina in all things practical so she knows how to deal with the spirits. Ven, Deleina and Queen Fara have a history that intertwines as the story goes on.
There are two side characters that I want to mention because I really want to know what happens to one and the other was just an awesome side character. Merecot is another girl who goes through training with Deleina in a Harry Potter type school that is used to train the students in the ways of controlling spirits. This school is dangerous and often deadly because spirits are irrational and not easily controlled. There are quite a few people missing limbs. Merecot is extremely powerful and disappears halfway through the novel. One line let me know where she ended up but I really want to know how her story plays out. She was such a wild card. She was mean and terrible but then she’d stick up for others even saving lives while she played up the bitch card. The other character is loved was a wolf named Bayn. He has such a personality that he felt like another human character. He understood everything and was an awesome wolf. He is a great companion to Deleina.
The Queen of Blood is a novel for fans of fantasy, young and old. The world is dangerous and crazy. It is a world I would not want to live in. The humans have gotten too comfortable that the Queen will protect them but what happens when the spirits decide they no longer need controlled. Queen of Blood is very much a novel about a girl learning how to deal with her powers and growing into a woman. As a reviewer, I can only speculate that each novel will be about a different woman in each of the five countries. I could be entirely wrong but I do know that I really want to read the sequel to find out what happens next.
“First Headmistress Hanna tried to convince me that I don’t want you, and now she wants to convince you that you don’t want me,” Ven said. Damn man sounded amused. “The fact is that you do get to decide, Daleina. It’s not only me choosing you; you must choose me as well.”
“Is this what happened with all the candidates?” Deleina asked. “When they came to see you. Did you try to talk them out of it?”
Her bright eyes were fixed on Hanna, and the headmistress shifted in her chair. She should lie, for the sake of the girl’s feelings, but under her gaze, it didn’t feel right. “This is an unusual case.”
“Because I’m a mediocre student, and he’s a disgraced champion?” Deleina turned back to Ven, and Hanna couldn’t help admiring the thread of stubbornness that ran through her voice. That determination, she remembered, was why she’d allowed a barely qualified girl to enter the academy four years ago. “Do you think I can help protect the outer villages?”
“Yes,” he said without hesitation.
“Then I choose him,” Deleina said.
Hanna looked from one to the other, at their identical mulish expressions. She sighed heavily. “Just tell me one thing, Ven: why her?”
“Because she knows why she’s here,” he answered. “She knows who the enemy is.”
The Queens of Renthia:
FTC Advisory: Harper Voyager provided me with a copy of The Queen of Blood. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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