ARC Review: The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

ARC Review: The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine
The Impostor Queen
by Sarah Fine

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication date: January 5th, 2015
by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Format: eARC

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Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Sarah Fine is one of my favorite authors and so far, I’ve read 5 books by her (and need to read a bunch more to complete series but I am not ready to say goodbye because that’s how I roll.) The Impostor Queen is hands down my favorite book that Sarah Fine has ever written. This book is AMAZING and shows how much Sarah has grown as a writer. She always crafted amazing worlds and fantastic characters but she goes above and beyond with this book. The Impostor Queen, simply put, blew my fucking mind. This book has magic, diversity and awesomeness. What else could I want?

Elli is our wonderful, clueless, naive female lead. Or at least that is what she is at the beginning of the novel. She has blindly followed the Elders of Kupari, and never questioned them. That is, until her powers don’t manifest when the Valtia dies. She is forced to flee (or die) when this happens and leave her first love, Mim behind. She has no skills though and no way to fend for herself and there are consequences for this (which is great because I am so tired of clueless MCs magically surviving the wild without any injuries.)

Over the course of the novel, Elli blooms and develops as a character. She steps outside of the privileged world she was raised in and adapts to the new world she finds herself in. Her transition is so fantastic and I LOVED seeing her try to figure out her place in this new world.

The world of this novel is beautifully built. Sometimes, with fantasy, it feels like you are re-entering different variations of a similar world but I never felt that way with The Impostor Queen. Sarah took the world and made it her own. The way magic works in this world, the prophecies, the hierarchies, EVERYTHING.

You might know me as the kid who is impatient and tends to like fast paced action but Fine is just fabulous (I feel like a broken record right now since I’ve said this so many times.) The way she paces the novel is wonderful. The plot develops nicely and there are enough things going on at any given point, enough mysteries to figure out that the book pretty much had my full attention from the start until I turned the last page with my emotions overflowing.

Also, because I love diversity, I AM JUST SO HAPPY that this book features it. Fine has always done a fantastic job of featuring diverse characters in her books (which is also why she is amazeballs) but this is the first fantasy I’ve read that featured an MC that wasn’t straight (I have read fantasies that feature lgbtqia+ characters but never the main character…unless of course, I am forgetting a book in which case, oops?) I know there are a bunch more out there but it is SO important to have all sorts of diversity across all genres and I am glad that diversity is starting to show itself in fantasy. The only real qualm I have is that I wish Elli’s relationship with Mim was explored a little bit more.

That said, the romance in this book is wonderful. Oscar is a cute little gruff and I have feels. He is a little rough around the edges but he cares deeply for those that matter to him and he is never an asshole. Yes, we do have a winner here.

If you are a fan of fantasy, this book is 100% worth checking out when it comes out next month. It is well written, well developed, and remarkable. It’s definitely a favorite book of the year and one I won’t fail to recommend and push at people’s faces.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
World-building
Romance
Overall: 4.6
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Rashika

Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).

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    • Rashika says

      I agree! Fantasy is definitely the most lacking for diversity, but it’s getting there. Slowly. VERY SLOWLY.

      And I would like to think this book is a perfect specimen of greatness ;)

  1. says

    Clearly I’m gonna enjoy and love this one a whole lot! Since I still need to read my ARC (I’m planning to read it during my days off for Xmas time) I skimmed your review a bit, but just knowing that it almost got the full 5 stars for you is more than enough!
    Great review Rashika!
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  2. says

    RASHIKA. I’m so so happy to see this raving review from you! I’m more than excited to read it – I’m hoping to get to it this week or early next week – but knowing that you loved it makes me even more giddy to get to it. You know how much I love Sarah’s books!
    Anyways, everything about this book sounds perfect. I’m looking forward to watching Ellie grow as well as meeting this gruff love interest. And yay for unique world building! I can’t wait! :D
    Beautiful review, Rashika! You can bet I’ll be DMing you my FEELZ.
    Nick @ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist recently posted…Review: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren MorrillMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      Fantasy is definitely my spirit-genre too! ;) I am so glad my review was able to do that!!! Thank you for your kind words :)

    • Rashika says

      RIGHT?! SARAH FINE = QUEEN. Her books are amazing, aren’t they?

      I hope you adore Elli, Mim, Oskar AND THIS BOOK <3

  3. says

    I loveee Sarah Fine so I’m thrilled to see that her latest doesn’t disappoint. I am particularly picky about my world-building so I’m glad that the magic, heirarchies, and other aspects of this novel come together. I often want Fine to explore her romances more but I’m hopeful that the other stellar qualities of this novel will overshadow any issues. Gorgeous review, Rashika! I can’t wait to read this one!

    • Rashika says

      I totally understand about world-building. One of the best parts about reading a fantasy novel is the world building. Fantastical worlds tend to be so unlike our own and I cannot imagine how much authors work on building these worlds! I just hope the world in this book lives up to your expectations! :)

      SAME. I don’t usually mind as much as I did here because it was in part linked to Elli’s sexuality and I would have liked to see more of that explored.

      Thank you, Keertana! :) I hope you love the book!

  4. says

    YESSS I love how diverse this sounds and that it’s a fantasy as well with a LGBT main character! This is fantastic! I actually haven’t read any of Sarah FIne’s books yet, so you’re definitely giving me a kickstart Rashika. I love how cute Elli sounds too with being naive and clueless lol. Sounds like she has an interesting character journey ahead of her!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Mini Reviews #4: One, Signs Point to Yes, Risk & All My SecretsMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      Elli definitely does. Her naiveness is never annoyed me though and I tend to be annoyed easily so YAY! :’) I hope you end up picking one of Sarah’s books soon *makes puppy dog eyes*