Author: Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen, #1
During the One-Night War, Princess Wilhelmina Korte of Aecor lost everything, her parents and her kingdom. Now under the Indigo Kingdom’s rule, Aecor is without its rightful ruler and forced to abide by the Wraith Alliance that forbids magic. Determined to take back her kingdom, Wilhelmina and her friend, Melanie, disguise themselves as refugees, seeking sanctuary from the invading wraith, a catastrophic force wreaking havoc on everything, a force believed to be a consequence of the gratuitous use of magic. While Wilhelmina infiltrates Skyvale Palace, she discovers an unlikely ally in Black Knife, a vigilante bent on stopping those wielding magic illegally, and comes to the realization that the Indigo Kingdom may not be the biggest threat to Aecor.
“His arm shifted and the point of his dagger caught my clothes and scraped my skin. I adjusted the angle of my blade on his throat, and neither of us moved.”
Jodi Meadow’s The Orphan Queen has been on my radar ever since its release. Unfortunately, I don’t feel this novel is deserving of the kind of praise its been receiving. I failed to connect with any of the minor characters and though I admired Wilhelmina, the plot fell flat and the twist ending felt more ill-timed than surprising. The wraith, a malevolent but mysterious power, added a bit more depth to the plot, but its obscure nature just left me with more questions.
Though Wilhelmina is heir to the Aecor throne, Patrick, oldest of the orphaned noble children, has been leading the group for years. It’s clear he thinks it falls to him to take back the kingdom, and that Wilhelmina, though capable, lacks the kind of strength he imagines is needed to make this happen. There’s an interesting power struggle between him and Wilhelmina, but without giving him more to do than look down upon his future queen, he quickly becomes an unsympathetic character. Wilhelmina’s initiative and her determination to do things the right way make her an admirable character, especially when compared to Patrick who seems more interested in power than the big picture.
Melanie, Wilhelmina’s best friend, deserves better characterization. Her entire storyline revolves around Patrick and her only function is to serve as his advocate. There are a couple of other minor characters that lacked liveliness and though I’m supposed to care, I couldn’t connect with them because of their lack of substance. As much as I really wanted to like this book and as much as I enjoyed reading Wilhemina and Black Knife’s interactions, the book’s writing and plot really doesn’t stand out when compared to other more enjoyable fantasy reads.