Overall Score: 6.5/10
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Yes, Book 1 (Chronicles of Warshard)
Publisher: Friesen Press
Release Date: May 11, 2016
Source: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Book Summary (From GoodReads)
Princess Haven was never meant to be Queen.
Her immortality has saved her time and time again, but when the last of her royal family dies at her feet, she is next in line to rule a nation on the brink of war. With no formal training on how to be Queen, Haven must rise to the occasion with the help of her best friends, and personal guard, or risk losing everyone she has ever loved.
With war to the West, and no escape to the East, the evil tyrant Kadia sets her sights on the six kingdoms. Haven’s neighbors are quick to fall under the swords of Kadia’s shadow soldiers, leaving a sea of bodies and a clear path to Haven’s only home.
As Kadia’s obsession with Haven mounts, little time remains, and Haven must make a choice; join together with her fellow Royals, and test her immortality in a final stand against the evil Queen, or flee across the sea to a foreign republic in hopes of salvation. Both choices have a cost. Both plans could go awry. Haven must decide quickly, or she might be the only one left.
If you like action-packed fantasy novels with a young independent queen protagonist, then you’ll probably like this one. However, much of the plot of this book felt very similar to other books, the writing was average, and there wasn’t a lot of substance behind the action. That being said, I did like the characters and I felt as if there was potential for future books in the series.
Haven was strong, kind, and incredibly resilient (beyond her healing ability). She went through a lot in this book and managed to emerge stronger while still maintaining her kindness and belief that is good in the world. At different times in the novel, she struggles with coming to terms with her new position as Queen and what was done to her by Kadia. This humanizes the woman who, knowing she cannot die, runs into a burning city to save whoever she can. However, I frequently felt myself wanting more insight into her.
The other characters were not particularly well developed and seemed somewhat one-dimensional. They all had the potential to be very interesting characters (particularly one in particular as I would have loved to see his moral ambiguity explored a bit more). The female friendships in this novel were actually more interesting to me than the romance. The fight and battle scenes were well-done and the character of Queen Kadia was interesting. The world itself seemed like it could be really interesting, especially given the closeness of the kingdoms.
Overall, this book was enjoyable but didn’t really stand out to me. I will read the second book if I get the chance because I do believe that the characters and the story have the potential to be excellent but they aren’t quite there yet.