Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Review: Winter Queen by Amber Argyle (Whitney Finalist 2013)

Title: Winter Queen (Fairy Queens #1)
Author: Amber Argyle
Enjoyment Rating: **
Source: Digital Copy
This book would be rated: PG-13 for violence and sexual situations

Ilyenna lives in a world where people die. They get sick. They fight in wars. And while one of the basic facts of life is that everyone dies, it seems that in Ilyenna's world they die more violently, unexpectedly, and quickly than most. So it's no surprise when Ilyenna herself suffers a mortal wound, from which she is saved by fairies, who then require her to be their queen. The problem is that the fairies' winter queen is always cold, hard, and ruthless, and Ilyenna doesn't want to become these things, so she puts her fate in the hands of Darrien and his tribe, the rivals to her own. Darrien is as bad as they come, and wants to make her his in more ways than one while overthrowing her clan. And then there's Rone, her brother's best friend, the man who has her heart.

While Ilyenna is, in many ways, a fantastic heroine (she's super-tough-- don't mess with her), the story as a whole didn't work for me. I know that this has a lot more to do with my own inability to get caught up by most fantasy (and fairy stories in particular) than it does with Argyle's story itself. That said, I found that I had to force myself to keep reading (books with a lot of world building are particularly hard for me), and then I kept getting confused with who the fairies were and who the clan guys were. But the main character is interesting and someone to be admired, and I'm sure that the right audience would enjoy Winter Queen.

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