Format: E-Book, 464 pages
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Epic
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 an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge.
However, the solstice does not go according to plan, and she is left without a patron. Months later, Brienna’s life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Though she’s suspicious of his intent, she has no other option, and must accept. But she soon discovers that he has big plans for her future. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the rival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. The question is, who will be that queen?
The Queen's Rising is the first installment by debut author Rebecca Ross. It is the first book in what is a trilogy, but there really isn't any verification as to the validity of this statement made on Goodreads. As the story opens, 10 year old Brienna, the illegitimate daughter of an man who her grandfather claims is not respectable and refuses to name, is given the rare opportunity to become an arden of the arts at the prestigious Magnolia House in Valenia.
An arden is basically an apprentice who is supposed be become a master of one of five main passions -art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge. Each student is given a mentor who stays with the student for the entire 7 years that they are expected to be at the school. Upon completion of their 7 years, each will be given a cape with the color of their passion. Brienna is rare among the other 5 girls who she attends school with. She carries a dual citizenship between Valenia (mother) and Maevana (unknown father).
Brienna's own issues become apparent when we learn that she's basically wasted 7 years of her life hoping that one of the passions would catch on. For the past 3 years, she choose to excel at the passion of knowledge under Master Cartier. As her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion of knowledge, and to be chosen by a patron. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.
Shortly thereafter, she is offered a patronage with a man who may have ulterior motive for asking to become Bri's patron. Brienna has a curious ability as well as we learn after she is given a book from Cartier. Brienna has the rare ability of remembering life experiences of her ancestors. Brienna’s ability means that she is uniquely poised to help overthrow the current northern king, a usurper. That is if she can find the lost scroll and a certain stone that holds the real queen's powers.
Others are involved as well. Some closer to Brienna than she realizes. With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen? Inspired by Renaissance France, the rich, beautiful setting combined with all the complex political intrigue and a touch of magic make for an enjoyable read.
Rebecca Ross weaves an intricate tale of revenge, loyalty, and, ultimately, self-discovery. There is also the curious attraction between Brienna and Cartier that doesn't suffocate the story. You know there is an attraction, but it doesn't take away from the nuisances of Bri's new life, her determination to see the rising of a true queen, and her own part that is yet to play out. I will end my review by saying this, The Queen's Rising could be considered as a standalone even though it is being sold as a trilogy. There is a beginning, plenty of action, twists, suspense, and romance, and an ending. The good thing about there being an ending, we don't have to wade through a cliffhanger ending and then wait another year to see what happens next.