09 May, 2017

#BookReview :: Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

The blurb of the book on Goodreads say, ‘The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.’ So, right off the bat, I want to say that it is not even close to as good as either of the book is.

When at the King’s Banquet, the King and almost all his court is poisoned to death, Freya finds that she is next in line for the throne. She has never been interested in the court and its politics, let alone in the throne. She finds solace in her laboratory and experiments. As an unwilling Queen who must not only learn court politics but also take up her responsibilities to turn the kingdom around from the face of this tragedy. But she isn’t safe… Neither do her courtiers trust her nor can she trust anyone; not even those closest to her. Will she be able to rise to the occasion, or will she succumb to the pressures, or will her enemies get to her first?

 I liked the character of Freya… One because she had a clear mind thanks to her interests in science and experiments.  She also really cared about the common folk and did not let the power of her newly found position go to her head. She was strong for most parts and her awkwardness at the title and the formality that it brought made her feel like a very genuine character. I wished for Naomi, Freya’s best friend, to have a bit more to her role in the story. Madeline was a character about whom I was never sure. There were times when I felt like she was a fake and at times I felt that maybe she genuinely cared. Either way, her character was well portrayed. Fitzeroy was a character that let me down. I expected a lot more trouble and fun from him. His relationship with Freya felt odd and out of place.

The problem with the book is that the antagonists aren’t scary at all. Even when Freya is cornered and one of them facing off with her, he does not come off as powerful even though he supposedly is. Also, the motivation of the other antagonist really wasn’t believable… This was a mass murder and the antagonist’s motivation really fit the action as much. Then there is the fact that the book lacks pace. We go through pages after pages without the plot really progressing. As a result, the book felt too long.

The plot had great potential, but somehow missed the mark.

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