Review Blog

Apr 06 2018

The Queen's rising by Rebecca Ross

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HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9780008245986
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Brienna is a student at Magnalia House, where she is studying the passion of knowledge. She desperately wants to be chosen by a patron at the solstice but her worst fears occur - while all her friends leave happily off their patrons, she remains at the school. Her headmistress consoles her, finally coming up with an unusual choice and it is with this patron that Brienna meets her destiny when a dangerous plot to overthrow the evil king of Maevana is planned.
The Queen's rising was an easy to read fantasy and could be recommended as a fairly straight forward introduction to the genre as it has all the familiar tropes, an orphan heroine, an evil king who must be overthrown, brave resistance fighters and romance, to make it very readable. In addition Brienna is a most likeable heroine and even though brought up initially in an orphanage, she knows what is important in family life and is loyal and steadfast to those she loves. She has to make difficult choices about who is the rightful queen of Maevana and how to act when she arrives there.
What makes this different from other fantasy stories is the school where Brienna is placed by her grandfather. When she arrives at Magnalia House she has to choose one of five passions - art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge - to study. She quickly makes friends there but tries all areas of study until Cartier, the Master of Knowledge, takes her as a pupil and tries to teach her all she needs to know to become a passion of knowledge in three years instead of seven. From the other girls studying there the reader finds out about the different passions and how they feel and act about them, giving an in-depth understanding of what people passionate about the arts and knowledge experience. This could encourage readers to consider what their own passions could be and what is needed for them to develop.
Although advertised as the first in a trilogy, The queen's rising can be read as a standalone as it comes to a very satisfying conclusion. There is no cliff-hanger to entice the reader, although I for one will find it difficult not to pursue what may come next in Brienna and Cartier's lives.
Pat Pledger

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