The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst (The Queen of Renthia #1)
What I drank prior: pinot grigio and plenty of it. Its been a while since Sam and I had Legit roommate night so this was a delight.
An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure
Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .
But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.
With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.
Drunk Overview: this felt like a book thst should be a mutli book series and yet it looks like we’re only getting one book. Dailena has enough natual talent conyrolling spirits thay shes allowed yo attend school but not enough to become queem… anf yet she’s picked by a champion. She is amrt amd able yo adapt but has trouble actually controlling spirits which is the main job of the queen. Meanwhile the queen is making a devils bargain with the quren. Not great.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: i had so many feelings about this book. Obviously Daileana is meant to be queen, and its so obvious shes meant to be. The entire books is showing thay while she might not gacethe stereotypical strengths of the queens ahe has all of the petsonality and forethought that someone would want a queen to have. This book follows from pre school to out of school and the number of tropes this book xould have easily fallen into is many! And yet, there are so many circumstances where those tropes are delicately zidestepped.
Characters: Daileana is the main character. Her best friend (who could easilh have been made her rival) is Merecourt who is amazingly good at controlling the spirits but doesnt see the point in ethics or history (and when is thay ever good for a country). Theres also Fara, the current queen. And Ven who is a champion and working for the queen. The cast is so interestong id only for this interesting mix of who is naive in what situations. Ven is naive in every situation dealing with the queen. Same with Dailena anf Merecourt. Watching the characters inyeravt is half the joy.
Plot: this fits a lot of what Ive read but its in a book rather than a series. Daileana attends school and training all in one book. And yet nothing feels rushed. The way things grow feels nautural as do all of the character changes. Including the sections where people decode to take in or ignore info as needed. Regardless the plot of this book is doubly interesting for all the things I dont want to mention in case od of spoilers.
Writing Style: strong. This ties in wiyh world building but the universe is strong. It cam be hard to develop a world and magic system in a single book and yet it was easy yo understand the magic system from really early on in this book. The descriptions were in deoth enoigh that I had a good idea of what was happening withoit havong to deal with five pages of local flora and fauna. Also, sidenote. The battles were brutal in the best of ways.
World building: so fucking good. This world felt so complete that I wanted another book in this series even though the one book felt complete. Ugh.
What to pair it with: the renn faire near me has a drink thats half cider half mead and crazy sweet. For whatever reason that feels like the right choice. This book isnt necessarily sweet but yiu shoulf read it while surrounded by someone playing the bagpipes while jousting happens in the background.
Rating: 5/5 Shots