Thursday, September 15, 2016

ARC Review: The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

The Queen of Blood
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Series: Queens of Renthia (Book 1)
Publication: Harper Voyager (September 20, 2016)

Description: An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure.

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 . . .

But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.

With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.

My Thoughts: Durst creates an epic fantasy world filled with spirits who are malevolent and treacherous and the people who control them. The main character of this story is Daleina who was raised in a small forest village far from the capitol and the Queen. One day the spirits attack and it is only because Daleina has the power to control them that her family survives.

When Daleina gets a little older, she is sent to the Academy to be trained to use her powers to control the spirits in hopes that someday she will be an Heir or even possibly the Queen. Daleina isn't the best student at the Academy. She barely squeaked by in her entrance exams and is consistently in the lower part of her class. She doesn't feel that she will ever be chosen by a Champion for further training. But her heart is in the right place, she is determined to master her powers to keep her family and the people of Renthia safe.

She is chosen by Champion Ven who is a former lover of the current queen and in disgrace. Together, the two of them and the healer Hamon travel into the far reaches of Renthia to protect the people and to further Daleina's training. When it is time for students to test to be heirs, Daleina manages to secure the last place - the fiftieth - among the Heirs.

The problem in this story is that the Queen has become ambitious and determined to live forever. She has been making deals with the spirits to gain power in exchange for allowing them to destroy and kill. When Daleina and her friends find out, they come up with a plan that will have severe consequences for all of them and for Renthia.

This was an excellent story with a well-developed world and an intriguing main character. I can't wait to read the rest of this trilogy.

Favorite Quote:
This was what she loved: this moment, above the world, when she saw Aratay—more than that, Renthia itself—spread beneath her. She saw an unbroken sea of green leaves and, far in the distance, the hit of mountains that could have been clouds or clouds that could have been mountains. There were farmlands beyond that, she knew, and ice fields. Somewhere, an ocean with islands like jewels. But this, this was her Renthia—these forests, these magnificent majestic forests with their tiny villages hidden in trees, waterfalls that tumbled off rocks, sun-dappled groves, shrouded roots that never saw sunlight, thick branches that supported hopes, dreams, lives.
I got this one in exchange for an honest review from the author via Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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