The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

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Title: The Impostor Queen (The Impostor Queen #1)
Author: Sarah Fine
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 432
Source: ARC provided by Simon & Schuster Canada

Overall: 4 STARS

SUMMARY
The elders chose Elli to be queen, but they chose wrong in this beautifully crafted novel in the tradition of Kristin Cashore and Victoria Aveyard.

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 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.
 

MY THOUGHTS 
Sarah Fine's The Impostor Queen introduces a world of ice and fire magic, love and friendship... and a kingdom on the brink of war. Magic runs in the veins of the Kupari, and the most powerful of them all is their queen, the Valtia, who rules the land with the guidance of the Elders. The Valtia and her Elders, exalted magic-wielding priests, rarely venture outside the walls of the Temple on the Rock, but the Kupari cherish their queen nonetheless. Everyone knows it's only the presence of the Valtia that stops the Soturi from invading.

When Elli was four-years-old, a red flame mark appeared on her calf, proclaiming her as the Saadella, the heir to the throne and the next Valtia. Since then, Elli has dutifully attended her lessons in the temple, surrounded by luxury and coddled by the Elders and their acolytes. Now sixteen, the Elders still treat her like a child to be protected; only her handmaiden, Mim, sneaks information about the outside world to her. But when her beloved Valtia suddenly dies, the magic doesn't pass into Elli—it has mysteriously vanished.

As the Elders immediately begin searching for the next Saadella, Elli flees into the outlands, home to Kupari's banished criminals and bandits. Settling into her new humble life in the outlands is quite the change in circumstances, but Elli is determined to not be a burden. She has no magic. And her entire life feels like a lie. With all her heart, she wanted to serve and protect her people as the next Valtia, but now those dreams have been shattered. If Elli isn't truly the Saadella, if she's only been an impostor, then who is she, really?

I loved the world-building in The Impostor Queen! Deeply imaginative and rich in detail, the Kupari's elaborate customs and traditions were absolutely intriguing to read. The Elders have quite obviously been carefully guarding secrets of their own, and withheld information from Elli for years, but the degree of their corruption is still quite the shocker! I'm absolutely excited to see Sarah Fine expand more into the world of the Kupari in the sequel. If you're a fan of YA fantasy, be sure to add Sarah Fine's The Impostor Queen to your TBR!

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