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The Queen of Blood: Book One of The Queens of Renthia Hardcover – September 20, 2016
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“Wow, girl! What a great story! A truly wonderful fantasy novel which doubles as an allegory for our own earthly struggle between Man and Nature. Filled with fresh ideas and excitement, told with verve and heart. This book deserves a wide readership, and I think it will find one.” (Terry Brooks, NYT Bestselling author of the Shannara series)
“Thrilling--heartrending--enchanting--absolutely un-put-down-able!” (Tamora Pierce, author of New York Times bestseller Bloodhound)
“Durst, an award-winning YA author (Vessel) and three-time Andre Norton Award finalist, presents a thrilling beginning to a sweeping series about searching for sovereignty and truth in order to save one’s land.” (Library Journal (starred review))
“Mythopoeic Award-winner Durst (Chasing Power) launches her Queens of Renthia series with a stellar and imaginative tale...In addition to a solid cast of characters and great political intrigue, Durst delivers some fascinating worldbuilding, and the spirits are malevolent, cunning, wild, and mysterious antagonists.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“The Queen of Blood is full of rich tension from the opening scene to the nail-biting finale.” (Jeff Wheeler, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Kingfountain and Muirwood series)
“Durst dives into adult fantasy with thrilling results.” (Shelf Awareness -- Starred Review)
From the Back Cover
An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first volume of a mesmerizing new epic fantasy series filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure
Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .
But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still only human, and no matter how strong or good they are, the threat of danger always looms.
Because the queen’s position is so precarious, young women are specially chosen to train as her heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Meanwhile, the disgraced champion Ven has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. When Daleina and Ven join forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . .before it’s bathed in blood.
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Top Customer Reviews
Happily, The Queen of Blood lives up to the hype. We enter a completely new and novel world where humans live in an uneasy truce with the spirits around them. The spirits are only kept in check by their pact with the Queen of this land. But the Queen’s grip seems to be slipping. Daleina lives in one of the outer forest villages and when the Queen’s control over the spirit seems to slip the entire village is slaughtered. Only Daleina’s family survives when her talent commanding the spirits manifests long enough for Champion Ven to repel the attacking spirits. Daleina chooses the path of heir training while Champion Ven confronts the queen and is discredited and vanquished by her.
The plot moves along briskly and carried me into this rich, multi-layered world. It was a book I didn’t want to put down and it read smoothly. I enjoyed Daleina’s strength and determination and Ven’s vulnerabilities. My only quibble is that the secondary characters, especially Daleina’s friends, are skimmed over and two-dimensional. I understand that with so much plot to fly through, it would have made a very long book to dwell on those characters. But it made the ending a little less impactful for me.
The hype on this one was accurate – The Queen of Blood is Unabashedly Fantastic fiction. This is one of those worlds I will reach for to revisit and reread. This book stands alone, though I’ve heard there is at least another book in this series. Looking forward immersing myself in this world again.
NZ$20 for a kindle edition is very unusual in the genre, and to be quite honest I bought it by accident. It's so out of line with the pricing for the other editions and with other books in the genre that I would recommend waiting to see if someone has made an error. Add it to your wishlist instead.
When Daleina gets a little older, she is sent to the Academy to be trained to use her powers to control the spirits in hopes that someday she will be an Heir or even possibly the Queen. Daleina isn't the best student at the Academy. She barely squeaked by in her entrance exams and is consistently in the lower part of her class. She doesn't feel that she will ever be chosen by a Champion for further training. But her heart is in the right place, she is determined to master her powers to keep her family and the people of Renthia safe.
She is chosen by Champion Ven who is a former lover of the current queen and in disgrace. Together, the two of them and the healer Hamon travel into the far reaches of Renthia to protect the people and to further Daleina's training. When it is time for students to test to be heirs, Daleina manages to secure the last place - the fiftieth - among the Heirs.
The problem in this story is that the Queen has become ambitious and determined to live forever. She has been making deals with the spirits to gain power in exchange for allowing them to destroy and kill. When Daleina and her friends find out, they come up with a plan that will have severe consequences for all of them and for Renthia.
This was an excellent story with a well-developed world and an intriguing main character. I can't wait to read the rest of this trilogy.