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.
I haven't had a good time for fantasy recently, but after reading The Imposter Queen and Sword and Verse (another upcoming January release) back to back, I have hope again. This was one of those books that took a while to grab me, mostly because the first 20% or so is worldbuilding and not much happens, but after that I was gripped and I just devoured this book. The world is so rich and the magic is so... well written, I had flashbacks to the first time I ever read Poison Study, one of my all time favourite books ever.
Now this book doesn't stand up to Poison Study or Graceling, but I think it could stand alongside series such as Red Queen and possibly even Throne of Glass to be one of the best current ongoing fantasy series. I loved the rich world that Fine developed, with the Valtia and the Saadella and the Suurins and all of these parts of this world that made it so very special. Fine has a way of giving us the information that we need whilst also avoiding the much-dreaded 'infodump', and that is commendable when developing a world as intricate as the one in The Imposter Queen.
Elli was a brilliant character, naive because of how she has been brought up but also mature in so many other ways. I loved watching her personal development, as well as the growth of her relationships with other people - the girl goes through a lot and it really shows her sincere reactions.
I loved the romance with Oskar, but I did feel somewhat let down - the beginning of the book had references to a possible lesbian loveline between Elli and her handmaiden, but this all amounts to nothing. I had been so excited - lgbtq is quickly becoming a key genre in YA contemporary but in fantasy and paranormal it's still widely ignored, I thought this book may make some waves, but despite subtle references the end romance is completely heterosexual. Don't get me wrong, Oskar was absolutely perfect and is totally going on my book boyfriends list and I loved the romance between him and Elli, but I would have liked this book to be a little more daring with the gay route.
Overall, I can honestly say that this is going to be one of my new favourite series. The first one hasn't even been released and I am totally gagging for the next one. Fine, you have definitely impressed me with this rich, beautiful and exquisite fantasy. Yes, it didn't feel absolutely perfect because of the slow start, but the rest of it was flawless.
Overall Rating: A-
Book released 5th January 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review