Title: The Reluctant Queen
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating: 4 stars
Just because Daleina was chosen, it doesn’t mean that things will get easier or that she will have complete control and power over the spirits. She’s sick and dying, and even with the Queen’s power in her, she’s still lacking in her abilities. Daleina has to rely on her hard work and cleverness as she always has, but you can’t always win, and sometimes the losses can be terrible. Luckily, Daleina has a few close friends supporting her, and she has a plan for how to protect her people and her kingdom- even if she isn’t the one to do it.
“Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . . And those spirits want to kill you.”
One thing that really stood out in this installment was the diversity in the characters and their ages. This book isn’t even necessarily young adult- there are characters of all ages. For example: Daleina is 19, Champion Ven is 41, Naelin is a married mother of two- and those are just a few of the more important people in the story. Naelin has to deal with the deterioration of her marriage, while Daleina has to come to terms with having a deadly sickness at such a long age. There were also some fun new characters added. As dangerous as Hamon’s mother was, I really enjoyed her as a character, and I also enjoyed getting to see more of Daleina’s sister Arin.
“Are there going to be more monsters?” She hugged him tighter and wished with all her heart she could tell him no. “There are always monsters. But I’ll always be here to scare them away.”
Overall, I think this installment was a bit better than the previous one. For the first ¾ of the book my positive opinion stayed solid (even with the slower sections), and my only complaint was that some events towards the end were too predictable for my liking. There were a couple of twists that I appreciated, but the big betrayals and some of the major plot points were obvious. That doesn’t mean that the ending wasn’t satisfying though! The battle towards the end of the novel had me constantly on the edge of my seat, and I had no idea how things would play out. This author isn’t shy about killing off characters, and I was fearful for almost everyone at one time or another.
This series feels like a breath of fresh air in a genre where you’re often given much of the same. I’m honestly surprised that it doesn’t have more of a following than it currently does. There are so many unique concepts and characters that are easy to fall in love with. I can see this being a series that I come back and reread in the future. Hopefully the trend continues into the final book in the series; I’m very much looking forward to what conclusion the author has in store.