Series Review: The Orphan Queen and The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Series: Orphan Queen
On Sale Date: March 10, 2015
Juvenile Fiction \ Fantasy & Magic
Ages 13 And Up, Grades 8 And Up
Katherine Tegen Books, 400 pages
Source: Publisher My Rating: 4 Stars
Amazon | Book Depository | 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.

Princess, Spy ... Threat - The Orphan Queen is filled with adventure, intrigue, and swoony romance

THE ORPHAN QUEEN, first in a fantasy duology by Jodi Meadows, is filled with daring adventures, palace intrigues, secret identities, and dangerous magic with a heroine readers can admire. This series opener easily captures your attention as danger rises and each page brings readers closer to a plot of twisty identities and forbidden magic that threatens the very kingdom our princess is determined to take back.

Taking back a throne is tricky business

Through war and political maneuvering, Princess Wilhelmina's kingdom is taken over by the neighboring realm the Indigo Kingdom. Orphaned she is now throneless, but this heroine vows revenge and sets out to take back her kingdom. With the help of her Ospreys, other orphaned children of nobility who survived the slaughter that took her family away and destroyed her kingdom, Princess Wilhelmina 'Wil' sets off to infiltrate Skyvale Palaces. There she encounters dangerous foes, battles against monsters of magic known as Wraiths, and meets the handsome vigilante Black Knife. In a world where magic is forbidden, it may be the only thing Wil has left to stop the threat of Wraiths and regain her kingdom if it doesn't destroy everything first.

Princess Wilhelmina - A uncommon heroine of many disguises

One of the strongest aspects of The Orphan Queen is its heroine. I loved her fierce devotion to her people and her desire to do right even in the face of danger. Meadows writes a heroine that has wonderful, admirable qualities and balances her out with a relatable protagonist who makes mistakes, letting the reader feel all her ups and downs. An expert at forgery, a hobby no ordinary princess would know but forced by circumstances, Wil has developed an amazing backbone of strength and resilience, along with some crafty spy techniques. Imagine a princess, orphaned and throneless, with the weight of her kingdom and its people o her shoulders - a princess who knows more about assuming identities and spying than she knows herself, and you begin to see how easy it is to admire her. 

Indigo Kingdom - Fantasy and magic create exciting hints of danger

The Orphan Queen weaves in an easily consumed fantasy world filled with danger, magic, and creatures. Meadows gives the readers a wonderful feel for the world while keeping the amount of tension and danger at a delightful increase ensuring much rapid page turning and late night reading. 

Everyone enjoys a swoony and forbidden romance

Romance, the slow-growing and forbidden kind, is always an instant attraction in my YA reads and The Orphan Queen has one for its readers to enjoy. I knew once Wil came into contact with the vigilante Black Knife that I was in store for some great chemistry.  On opposing sides and wary of each other, I loved seeing a friendship and bond developed that had me crossing my fingers wanting more. I needed to know for sure who was behind the mask. I guessed early on but completely enjoy watching Wil's interaction with him before the big reveal.

The ending - An epic cliffhanger 

The Orphan Queen reaches a crescendo, lifting readers up into some major surprise twists and heart-rendering feels before we can close the last page looking immediately for the next installment. I enjoyed every moment, even that bittersweet and tortuous ending!

The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
Series: Orphan Queen
Juvenile Fiction \ Fantasy & Magic
Ages 13 And Up, Grades 8 And Up
Katherine Tegen Books  544 pages
Source: Publisher
My Rating: 4 stars
Amazon | Goodreads | Website

Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right. 

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.

In this stunning conclusion to THE ORPHAN QUEEN, Jodi Meadows follows Wilhelmina’s breathtaking and brave journey from orphaned criminal on the streets to magic-wielding queen.

The Mirror King, which concludes Meadows YA fantasy series, drops readers right into the midst of twists, betrayals, battles, and plotting.

Picking up immediately where it left readers reeling in the feels after the ending in The Orphan Queen, The Mirror King does not let loose its pace nor urgency until its last page in this successful follow-up .

So much happens in The Mirror King as the threat of invading Wraiths looms over the kingdoms and Princess Wilhelmina discovers the identity of Black Knife.

Former alliances with the members of the Ospreys breaks down and betrayal threatens the new partnerships she has formed. Once again, I was easily swept into the story as Wil tries to balance what she believes to be right and her feelings with the needs of her kingdom and people. Her growth, through trial and errors, strength and determination make her an admirable heroine to follow.

The magic truly fascinated me in The Mirror King.

Besides the incoming threat of the monstrous Wraiths to fear, we are introduced to a new form of magic as Wil unleashes wraith magic accidentally creating a living boy made of it. One that is bound to Princess Wilhelmina, yet a force that is uncontrollable and untamed. Again, the question of magic and its grey line of use is a question haunting the princess. The surprise twist to the magic and its uses left me gasping in surprise in a few places.

Plotting and battle preparation are also a new focus and I loved how fierce and intelligent our heroine is throughout.

A new single-mindedness drives Wil and forces many choices none that is a perfect solution but believable and realistic. The battle is on, and not just for her kingdom but the very realm as Wraiths swarm the Indigo Kingdom.

The growing romance between Black Knife and Princess Wilhelmina is going to give readers plenty of feels.

These two will do anything for their people, a fact that often makes it near impossible for them to be together, yet Meadows tease us with encounters, writings across magically infused journals, and surprise twists all the while making us wonder if there can be any hope. It is sweet torture and you must read it  - that's all I can say.

The Mirror King wraps up Meadows young adult fantasy series in a terrific conclusion.

Feels, twists, betrayals, battles and magic infuse the ending to a series I won't soon forget. Loved it.