The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

The Queen’s Rising, by Rebecca Ross, was published in 2018 by HarperTeen.

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron. Growing up in the southern kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her. While some are born with a talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she chose knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true: she is left without a patron. Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, she reluctantly accepts. But there is much more to his story, for there is a dangerous plot to overthrow the king of Maevana—the rival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved, some closer to Brienna than she realizes. With war brewing, Brienna must choose which side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood .Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. Who will be that queen?

Rating: 4/5

The Queen’s Rising was the sort of book where I knew pretty much everything that was going to happen, but I enjoyed the book anyway. While it’s fairly formulaic, it avoided many of the pitfalls that YA fantasy books can fall into. Brienna is a capable protagonist, but not annoying; the romance is subtle; the world and the plot make sense and are interesting. Best of all, it’s a self-contained novel: though it’s not a stand-alone book, it could easily be one. There’s no contrived, cliff-hanger ending to entice you into the next book. Everything is wrapped up nicely.

Ross’s writing is beautiful, but can sometimes stray into the “strange description” territory, such as “I smiled, the laughter hanging between my lungs.” What is that even supposed to mean? Besides her occasional bouts of eyebrow-raising-description, Ross’s writing is smooth and succinct when it should be, and flows well. It’s also not in present tense, thank goodness.

As I stated, the plot is really predictable; I guessed all the reveals pretty close to the beginning of the book, and nothing really surprised me. However, Ross doesn’t go with the obvious tropes all the time, which is good because it would have made me like the book significantly less. The plot is formulaic, but not stuffed with old tropes, so I got to enjoy the ride and not get annoyed at the lack of originality. There’s a good moment near the end of the book where Brienna has a choice between two options and I liked that Ross sort of acknowledged that one choice would have changed the whole feel of the book (to me, at least). I like that Brienna, though important to the plot, isn’t an absolutely central character to the world. I like having protagonists who are more on the fringe because it’s more relatable.

The Queen’s Rising has some flaws, but I really enjoyed it overall. The writing is beautiful, though sometimes strange, the romance isn’t annoying, and though the plot is predictable, it’s detailed and developed enough that things make sense. I loved that it read as a stand-alone novel, too. I will be keeping an eye out for more books by Ross.

Recommended Age Range: 14+

Warnings: Violence

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

You can buy this book here:

3 thoughts on “The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

  1. I had a lot of trouble with the romance in this one. It felt…really sketchy. But I did like that the protagonist does not end up being the titular queen. That felt quite original!

    • Do you mean the development of the romance or the age gap? Age gap has never really bothered me too much (Jane Austen got me used to significant age difference). I can see why it bothers others, though, definitely!

      • It was the fact that he was her teacher. And he specifically had her wear something because he wanted to see her that way, not because it was in the best interest of her professional development. Even though the bulk of the romance happened after her graduation, he favored her enough that other students noticed and were jealous.

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