The Impostor Queen (The Impostor Queen #1)
By: Sarah Fine
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: January 5th, 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.
Sarah Fine proved once again why she is one of my favorite authors. The Impostor Queen, while being her first high fantasy YA, is immediately recognizable as a Sarah book. It has a complete and well defined world, luscious writing, and characters who are smart and breathe. There is also the rare talent that Sarah has for placing her characters in tough situations, where they have to make mature, difficult, and competent choices, and still having them act as believable teenagers.
The book opens beautifully, and within the first couple of chapters, three generations of Valtia, the magical queens of Kupari, are witnessed. A Valtia dies with dreams of her successor in her head and we see that successor die and make way for Elli, whose powers fall short of expectation. When her magic proves nonexistent, Elli makes her escape from a sheltered life, and certain death, with the assistance of her maid, Mim.
I loved Elli. Her relationship with her Valtia, however briefly we see it, was beautiful. These two women love each other in a way that is somewhere between motherly and friendly. In turn, I can’t wait to see more of Elli’s relationship with the new Saadella later on.
Elli herself is complex, she grows from a sheltered girl to powerful young woman. Everything she knows is turned on its head, she suffers severe loss, and keeps on going. This is a girl who loses a mother figure, whose entire identity was thrashed apart, who suffers abuse, and then finds the will to save herself, with a little bit of help from her loyal handmaiden.
As for the love story, Oskar and Elli are my new favorite couple. And I can’t even really put my finger on why. I adore both characters individually, and together they made sense. Even though they don’t get their happily ever after by the end of the book, there is the promise of it that they are both working towards, that far out hope that things will work out and their fates will align and the ending was all the more satisfying because of it. The romance also allowed room for Elli’s sexuality to be explored, with her romantic love for Mim being recognized as well as her feelings for Oskar.
The Impostor Queen is a great introduction to Sarah as a high fantasy writer. It keeps with the elements of classic fantasy while introducing a highly original concept of magic and a beautifully built world where Kupari faces threat of invasion and even more devious threats from under its dome of eternally lovely weather. This book will grab you, make you sit down and pay attention to it, and then stay in your head long after you have picked up your next read.
I’m the author of several books for teens, including Of Metal and Wishes(McElderry/Simon & Schuster) and its sequel, Of Dreams and Rust, the Guards of the Shadowlands YA urban fantasy series (Skyscape/Amazon Children’s Publishing), and The Impostor Queen (
McElderry, January 2016).
I’m also the co-author (with Walter Jury) of two YA sci-fi thrillers published by Putnam/Penguin: Scan and its sequel Burn. My first adult urban fantasy romance series, Servants of Fate, includes Marked,Claimed, and Fated, all published by 47North in 2015, and my second adult UF series — The Reliquary, kicks off in summer 2016. When I’m not writing, I’m psychologizing. Sometimes I do both at the same time. The results are unpredictable.
Up for grabs:
3 finished copies of THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN
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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.