"The best mask is a face no one will remember."
Would you remember the face of the most-wanted criminal in all the Indigo Kingdom? And who is a criminal? Is it the masked vigilante Black Knife, who goes around bringing in anyone with magical abilities and delivering them to the crown? Is it the vengeful Princess Wilhelmina, out to reclaim her kingdom and now leader of a ragtag group called the Ospreys? Can both be right in a world where so much is wrong, or at least put aside their differences in order to save everything they know and love?
Wilhelmina Korte is in hiding. Her parents were murdered and her kingdom was destroyed when she was young because they wouldn't join the Wraith Alliance and ban magic. Now, she's out to reclaim her throne along with the other children who escaped that tragic night. She wants revenge on the king who wrecked havoc on her world and infiltrates the Skyvale Palace as a refugee named Lady Julianna. Nobody suspects her and her friend Melanie...or do they? Wil is playing a dangerous game, especially since masked vigilante Black Knife knows more about her than he's saying...especially when it comes to the fact that deadly magic is lurking in her veins and must be hidden at all costs...
Jodi Meadows excels at creating unique, intriguing worlds and unputdownable fantasy novels. Like her debut novel INCARNATE, the first book in her new series has a slow start, but once it picks up speed, readers will be anxious to know what happens next. I love the fact that the world is shrouded in mirrors, which is such a unique, interesting concept to begin with. There's a reason for this, too, and it's dark and deadly and a perfect way to hook in readers, as is the disturbing nature of the mysterious Glowmen. There's also a REALLY CREEPY SCENE that reminds me of another REALLY CREEPY SCENE from her Newsoul trilogy. Meadows excels at REALLY CREEPY SCENES that make your skin crawl! I wish more readers read Meadows. Her first trilogy, Newsoul, wasn't marketed as fantasy and may have been overlooked due to its covers, but by the end of the series, there was no mistaking the genre. I've previously reviewed both INCARNATE and ASUNDER, and co-reviewed INFINITE with Kat. If you're new to Meadows or anxious to read something else by Meadows until THE MIRROR KING comes out, you'll be glad to know that INCARNATE is on sale for $1.99 if you read e-books!
Another thing I love about Meadows is that, while romance isn't the primary focus, the romance still sweeps you away. When I read fantasy, I want so much more than just romance. If I just wanted romance, I'd read a romance novel. That isn't to say that there shouldn't be any romance ever, either. But it should take a backseat and the story shouldn't ONLY be about the couple, because that can get boring really fast. Meadows handles this well, and, in fact, THE ORPHAN queen has one of the best kissing scenes I've read in a YA book so far this year! (You guys know that Kat and I like to put a Best Kiss category into our Best of the Year Round-Up every January! Welllllll THE ORPHAN QUEEN is in a three-way tie for first place right now with THE HEART OF BETRAYAL by Mary Pearson and THE SIN EATER'S DAUGHTER by Melinda Salisbury!).
The characters remind me visually of something out of an anime or a comic, and that's not a bad thing!
For one thing, there's Black Knife. He's Batman, y'all!
No, seriously. We need to be building bat signals throughout the kingdom, not mirrors!
When he's not being Batman, he's Kaitou Sinbad, the masked thief from the Phantom Thief Jeanne (Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne) series by Arina Tanemura. Which makes Wil Kaitou Jeanne, of course!
Whenever these two have scenes together and are sleuthing around or rooftops, I was totally picturing them as Sinbad and Jeanne:
Ummmmm, especially when it came to that awesome kissing scene because THE KISSING!
It was so easy to visualize and root for the characters in this series.
If, like me, you're sick of waiting three+ years for a series to be out, you'll be glad to know that this series is a duology, which means the final book will be out next year!!! Which is awesome because HOLY CLIFFHANGER! While we're all waiting, Meadows will release a series of four novellas about Black Knife. The first, THE HIDDEN PRINCE, comes out in June, followed by THE GLOWING KNIGHT in September, THE BURNING HAND in December, and THE BLACK KNIFE in 2016. I really hope HarperCollins binds the novellas up into a paperback like they've been doing with other series lately so that I can put a finished copy on my shelf next to my hardcovers, but I'll still be buying them as they come out on my nook, too!
HarperCollins is graciously giving away a copy of THE ORPHAN QUEEN to one of you lucky readers!!!