Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

Title: Orphan Queen
Author: Jodi Meadows
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

From Goodreads

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

From the very first page of The Orphan Queen I was swept away on a fantastical and gritty journey.
Wilhelmina (Wil), is the exiled teenage queen of a country, and people, that doesn’t know she is still alive. After witnessing her parents murder as a young child, she and other high born children are whisked away to the Indigo Kingdom. Fast forward and Wil now is part of the Ospreys who steal to survive. She encounters the vigilante Black Knife during one of these thefts setting up a series of encounters throughout the book.
Wil goes undercover in the palace and frequently comes into contact with king who she blames for the downfall of her kingdom and the death of her father. While plotting to take back her kingdom she also has to deal with the wraith, a toxic magical residue sweeping across the land and destroying everything in its path.

I loved every single thing about this book! I have always been a huge fan of Jodi Meadows; the Incarnate books are some of my all-time favorite books. I own digital and physical copies because I love them all so much. When I picked up The Orphan Queen I was immediately swept into the same feeling of wonder and love that I felt while reading Incarnate.
Meadows creates such a sophisticated fantasy world grounded with the rules of reality. Perfectly blending mystical elements such as magic and wraith with the human struggles of trying to figure out where you belong in life, the world of The Orphan Queen is so easy to get lost in.
One of my favorite things about Wil is her incredible strength and will to do whatever is needed to protect the lives of those she cares about, while also questioning the integrity of people she once trusted.
The romance in this book is effortlessly paced, not too quick and not too slow. It’s a slow build throughout the story that ends in the most perfectly crushing way. I love that while the reader knows from the very beginning Wil has multiple identity, I love that her romantic interest is the same way. They are so similar, yet so different, and I was rooting for them as soon as I realized what was happening.
I would have liked to see more of the Ospreys and the wraithland. Meadows introduces this big dangerously mysterious place and we only get a little glimpse into it, I would have loved for Wil to have had a larger adventure there.
The book also has a creepy element to it that reminds me of some of the elements of Incarnate. If this is any idea of what all of Meadow’s future books will be like I am so excited. The Orphan Queen has so many elements to it; fantasy, humanity, survival, and creepy, and they all blend together so well. Meadow’s just has this amazing way of blending everything together seamlessly making me want to ready every single thing of hers as soon as it comes out. The Mirror King is the sequel to The Orphan Queen and I ordered it the second I finished reading.
The Orphan Queen was a fantastic book that I would recommend to all fantasy lovers.


The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

Title: The Forgetting
Author: Sharon Cameron
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Source: Purchased

From Goodreads

What isn’t written, isn’t remembered. Even your crimes.

Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person’s memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn’t written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron takes readers into a richly built world where every twelve years the citizens of Canaan forget all of their memories. The tagline, “What isn’t written, isn’t remembered. Even your crimes” sets the reader up to know that we are about to embark on a twisting tale where presumably the protagonist, Nadia, is going to discover some deep dark secrets about Canaan. Discovering is just what she does.
We are introduced to Nadia as she is climbing back over the wall from the outside, which is forbidden. Right away we know that this girl is all sorts of badass. She is the girl that readers want to be from the very first page. Fiercely independent, but still a loving daughter to a mother who can’t really connect to her, she breaks all kinds of rules while trying to discover the mysteries of Canaan. Why do their memories disappear every twelve years? And why can Nadia remember everything?
Along the way we meet the mysterious Gray, the glassblower’s son who has a connection to Nadia from a past he cannot remember. Immediately the reader is both suspicious of Gray and rooting for him to be a good guy because we want him and Nadia together so bad. Together they discover the dark history of Canaan in a twist I did not see coming, but loved every second of.
Nadia fights for the people of Canaan until the very last moment. She is a girl we can all aspire to be like. Typical to a Cameron novel the build is slower than with some other YA books, but it doesn’t make it any less interesting. This is a smart, wonderful, exciting journey I loved being on and think everyone should check out.