Thursday 29 March 2018

The Queen's Rising, Rebecca Ross

"Come on, fight me as a queen would"
Born out of wedlock, Brienna is cast off by her noble family and sent to Magnolia House - a boarding house for those looking to study the passions: art, music, dramatics, wit and knowledge. As Brienna gets closer to the eve of her graduation, she also grows closer to her smart (and handsome) tutor, Cartier.  
A daring plot is brewing - to overthrow the usurper king and restore the rightful monarchy - and Brienna's memories hold the key to its success. Cartier desperately wants to help Brienna, but she must chose her friends wisely, keep her enemies close and trust no one if she is to save herself and her people. 
* * * 
3 / 5

I mostly bought The Queen's Rising because of the absolutely gorgeous cover, but I stayed because I was intrigued by the premise: Brienna is a student of knowledge, about to graduate, and she's inherited the magical memories of her ancestor which will prove vital in the winning of a war. I really loved the first half of the book, but thought that as the revolution/war plot progressed, it became a bit farfetched.

Brienna's grandfather left her at Magnolia House in the country of Valenia at the age of ten without any knowledge of her father. She only knows that her father is from Maevana, a country with a violent past and a culture of battle. Magnolia House is a place to study the passions - art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge - and each student chooses one to specialise in. Brienna is unskilled in all of them, spending one year at each before deciding to become a passion of knowledge under the smart and handsome tutor, Cartier. 

Passion is wholehearted devotion; it is fervour and agony; it is temper and zeal

Maevana is supposed to be ruled by the royal female line of the house of Kavanagh, but the throne was seized in a plot in which Brienna's ancestor was involved. Twenty five years ago, three houses banded together to fight a revolution but failed, ending in slaughter. Now they are ready to rise again and Brienna's memories of her ancestor seem to be the key to their success, and Brienna is faced with a choice: the safe future of a scholar that she wanted, or one of blood and a battle to raise a Queen.

I really enjoyed the first half of the book! Brienna was great, I found the whole passion process interesting (though not that unique), and I loved her bonds with her passion-sisters. I even liked the budding romance! But once Brienna graduated and joined the force of the revolution, I felt that the plot became rushed. The twists came thick and fast, there wasn't much time to connect with all the new characters, and the whole myth and magic aspects weren't that well explained. 

"If you believe you will fail, then you most likely will"

The Queen's Rising was a fun and novel standalone book. I really connected with Brienna and loved the whole passion aspect, but felt the last half of the book was rushed and could have done with more development. 

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