The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia #1)
by Sarah Beth Durst
What is it about:
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.
What did I think of it:
If I'm honest I think that for a lot of people the first part of this book will seem slow, but as it's mostly about Daleina going through her training in a boarding school I was hooked. (Yes, I have a great weakness for boarding school stories.) It's the second part of the story where things speed up to rush to a stunning finale.
I loved the world building and very much enjoyed learning about the spirits together with Daleina as she studies. I also loved that Daleina isn't some kind of prodigy, but that she has to struggle to get were she wants to go. It made her very easy to relate to.
I also really liked Ven and rooted for both him and Daleina to succeed in their goals. I will admit that the further I got into the story the more I started to care for both of them and it became more and more difficult to put the book down.
The ending was beautiful and although it's in no way a cliffhanger it left me hungry for more of this world and the characters. I will most certainly keep an eye out for the next book and I will investigate what other books Durst has written.
Why should you read it:
It's a beautiful Fantasy read.
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