I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by HarperTeen on February 21, 2017
Source: the publisher
The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.
Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.
Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.
Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.
As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.
I was really excited when I first heard about this book, but also nervous. I was excited because I LOVED the title and cover (GORGEOUS, GORGEOUS cover) and the plot sounded beyond intriguing. I was nervous because I read A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas back in 2015 and it was a disaster – I didn’t connect with the characters, I was bored by the plot and I felt let down by the ending and the surprise sequel, which I did not read. But I’m all for giving authors a second chance, if their new book sounds epic. And in this case, I’m so, so glad I did! This book wasn’t without it’s issues, but it was overall an enjoyable read and a HUGE improvement from A Wicked Thing.
First of all, can we talk about the fact that this book is a YA fantasy stand-alone?? How often does THAT happen?? It’s a nice break from all the fantasy trilogies and series out there. But after reaching the end of the book, I must say.. I actually wish there WAS going to be a sequel. This first book was basically all about securing Freya’s reign and finding the murderer. But now that the murderer has been dealt with, I’d love to see Freya’s ACTUAL reign, see what kind of a queen she’ll be. I still have a lot of questions that I want answered!
Freya herself was epic and incredibly relatable. She was a bit timid in the beginning and maybe even a bit of a puppet for her advisors – but only until she regained her footing, made some allies and really had a chance to let everything that had happened sink in. I mean, I don’t blame her for her confusion in the beginning – she was twenty third in line to the throne! She never imagined she’d be queen! It was a LOT to take in. But once she accepted her fate, she really began to bloom. This is VERY specific, but in my opinion, you see a clear and obvious change in Freya on page 342. At that point, you can truly see that she has grown into a more confident woman who knows what kind of queen she wants to be. At the same time, she did make some rash decisions that could have had severe consequences. But I think that was all part of the learning curve.
There were a LOT of secondary characters. I read the first 100 pages of this book really fast and then didn’t pick it up for two days (because life, not because of the book), and I actually had to go back to page one and skim 130+ pages to remind myself of who everyone was. But I don’t want to say that’s the fault of the book, necessarily. I think it was because of my reading situation.
I really liked Madeleine Wolff and William Fitzroy, but I had a very difficult time trusting them – along with Holt – for obvious reasons. I’m intrigued with the way all of their stories ended, though, and would love to see what happens to them next in a sequel.
Overall, I’m really, really happy I picked this up. Everything I couldn’t stand about A Wicked Thing was much improved in Long May She Reign. Thomas’s writing was SO much better and I liked the characters a LOT more. Though the book was still a bit long (in my opinion), it was a much faster read, with far better pacing, and it held my attention way more. I’m really glad I gave Rhiannon Thomas a second chance and I’m very excited to see what she does next.
I definitely recommend this to fantasy fans, especially if you love reading about royalty, intrigue and a good murder mystery!