Book Review | The Impostor Queen | Sarah Fine

I received this book for free from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review | The Impostor Queen | Sarah FineThe Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine
Series: The Impostor Queen #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on January 5, 2016
Genres: Fantasy YA, Magic, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: the publisher via Edelweiss
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Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

Guys. GUYS. THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN by Sarah Fine is amazing. I was fascinated by the world-building and the characters from the first pages, and couldn’t put it down. I am ALWAYS down for a fantasy, but sometimes I feel like those stories about lost magic or secret magic or forbidden magic are a little overdone. THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN never felt that way to me, even when things didn’t surprise me. Because just as often, things DID surprise me, and I loved what they added to the story. I cannot WAIT for book 2, guys. CANNOT.

One of my first impressions before picking up THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN was that people seemed to be having a harder time getting into the story before it picked up considerably towards the end. I didn’t have that issue. When we first meet Elli, the Saadella (aka, the heir to the Kupari throne), and we slowly come to understand her role in the queendom and how she chafes at it and wants to learn more of her magic, I was hooked. Especially when we get to observe some of the Kupari traditions and meet the Valtia (queen). So many of the details were things I hadn’t encountered before. For me, I could see how things would fall into place from the early going, and so I was enjoying myself right away. I never had an issue with the pace.

Part of what really grabbed me from the get go about THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN was the world-building. I found myself fascinated by the magic–some people in Kupari have varying levels of affinity for fire or ice magic, but only one woman–the Valtia–has the perfect, powerful balance of both. It was simple, but also not. Perfect amounts of complexity, I thought. And of course, the magic was hugely important to the Elders of Kupari, these shady-ish priests who serve as the Valtia’s counsellors. THESE GUYS THO. With every new fact we learn about them, the drama in THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN ratchets up a few notches.

But let’s not get caught up with the Elders, as crazy and interesting as they are. Because Elli and Oskar, the young man Elli meets after she flees the capital city following a disgraceful and dangerous inability to absorb the previous Valtia’s magic like she’s supposed to, are WONDERFUL. Their relationship is slow to grow but very precious, and some of the small moments they share are both sweet and swoony.

As characters, I loved them both. Elli is brave and determined, and grows so much over the course of THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN. Oskar is loyal and fierce, but also thoughtful. Together they are a formidable pair, and I LOOOOVED them together. Thumbs up for these two, and for all the other characters as well. Some are good and some are not. Some are not what they seem at first, which is always great for impact.

The relationships and the characters are, of course, important, but I was also really intrigued by the larger story. There is, I should mention, a prophecy, so that’s always good for a dramatic reveal or two. But because Elli does not inherit the previous Valtia’s magic, Kupari is basically without it’s only protector. The Valtia and her magic had always been the only protection the people needed from invasion, the weather, etc. Kupari has no army, which means that they are now vulnerable to outside forces. I’m dying to see where things go with Elli and Oskar, but I’m also REALLY invested in what happens to Kupari itself, as well as a few other things that I’ll just zip my lips about.

I have just spent the entirety of this review trying to think of anything bad about THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN. I really, honestly can’t. This is the first book I’ve ever read by Sarah Fine, but I’ve got a few books of hers on my TBR. I’ll be more likely to grab them now than I ever was before, because I adored this book. It ends so strongly and so many more things happen than I was expecting. New favorite.


  1. I definitely found the story interesting! But my favorite thing about THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN is the magic. I thought it was so clever, so unique, so compelling to read about – and I would definitely go for more. It was pretty darn epic!

  2. God, I hope I can find this book on Scribd before the membership update takes place.
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