Published by Starling Publishing on June 19, 2013
Series: Fairy Queens #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Romance
Source: ecopy from Author
~Becoming a winter queen will make Ilyenna as cold and cruel and deadly as winter itself, but it might be the only way to save her people from a war they have no hope of winning.~
Mortally wounded during a raid, seventeen-year-old Ilyenna is healed by winter fairies who present her with a seductive offer: become one of them and share their power over winter. But that power comes with a price. If she accepts, she will become a force of nature, lose her humanity, and abandon her family.
Unwilling to pay such a high price, Ilyenna is enslaved by one of the invaders, Darrien. While in captivity, she learns the attack wasn’t just a simple raid but part of a larger plot to overthrow her entire nation.
With the enemy stealing over the mountains and Darrien coming to take her to his bed, Ilyenna must decide whether to resurrect the power the fairies left behind. Doing so will allow her to defeat Darrien and the other invaders, but if she embraces winter, she will lose herself to that destroying power—forever.
Winter Queen is the first book in the young adult fantasy series, call the Fairy Queens, by Amber Argyle. (and as a side note, you can get the first book for free by signing up for Amber’s newsletter, HERE) The book is very fast paced and very action heavy. There were things that I really, really enjoyed about Winter Queen, and things that didn’t work out so well for me. Overall, I did enjoy the book, but it was a bit meh for me. I can see this series really picking up in the second book though because all of the groundwork has been laid. I may very well enjoy the second book much more.
Let’s start with something I loved about Winter Queen. I loved the main character, Ilyenna. I thought she was great. Compassionate, strong, flexible when she needed to be, and unyielding and stubborn when the situation called for strength. I admired the heck out her. In fact, if it wasn’t for her, I would have put the book down multiple times. She is the reason that I kept reading. I also liked Rone, and I liked the connection that Ilyenna and Rone shared, but I really wanted to see it explored more. I don’t feel like we got enough of the back story on the two of them. I didn’t feel their romantic feelings. And I think I would have if we had gotten a better chance to see them when they were growing up or something more from their past. I also liked the Summer and Winter queen interaction in this story. I have read a few books about the fae and each of them deal with the seelie and unseelie courts a bit differently. I really like the depiction of the two fairy queens in this series, and I can’t wait to see more of them in the next book.
But now for some of the things that didn’t work for me. I am not a huge fan of big battle scenes. I will take them, but I prefer them to be somewhere in the middle of the story, so I have already had a chance to get the lay of the land, figure out who the characters and players are and decide where my alleigence lies. Winter Queen started out in a big battle that lasted about the first 20% of the story, and I had no idea really what was going on. There was a lot of fighting, but also there were a ton of new names, characters, tribes, and places that I didn’t have any knowledge of. And as a result, I didn’t really have much of a connection with them. That made it hard for me to start out on the best foot. Then I felt like the middle part, where Ilyenna was kidnapped and held by Darien, took up too much of the book. It felt kind of stagnant. I hated Darien, and I knew him and Ilyenna were going nowhere, so I just wanted her to get out of there so something new could happen. I wanted more about the fairy queens to unfold.
Overall, there were aspects of the Winter Queen that made me want to continue on with the series, but it was not a perfect book for me. It was just an ok read, but one that I think I would like to see where it could go. Now that we know the lay of the land and the characters a little better, I think this series has the potential to get a lot better.
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