(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Also by this author: Mosaic
Published by Simon and Schuster on January 3rd 2017
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Social Themes, Young Adult
Ansa has always been a fighter.
As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day her Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes.
Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she seeks to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts.
With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed.
The Cursed Queen is book two in The Impostor Queen series by Sarah Fine and if you haven’t read that book yet, what are you waiting for? I really enjoyed book one so of course, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on book two. But…I was a bit confused. The Cursed Queen is listed as a companion and I wasn’t prepared to get a completely different side of the story but now that I finished I understand why Fine wrote the books the way she did and I honestly can’t wait to see how book three goes!
The Cursed Queen introduces us to Ansa as the main character and the Krigere tribe. Ansa’s village was invaded by the Krigere when she was young and she was taken as a raid prize. As she grew up within the tribe, she fought to be considered one of them even though they were the ones who murdered her family. If there was one thing that stood out most to me about Ansa, it was her desire to belong. She wanted to be a part of something and she actually blamed her parents for not being strong enough to survive the attack which I found interesting. Ansa’s biggest desire was to be a warrior and to be by Thyra’s, the daughter of the Chieftain, side no matter what.
The event that changes everything for everyone in the tribe is the Krigere’s invasion of Kupari. The Krigere are known for taking anything they want and the Chieftain’s plan is to invade Kupari and make it his. Unfortunately for everyone, the witch queen of Kupari has other plans for them. As she decimates almost their entire population of warriors, Ansa makes a last ditch effort to kill the witch queen and surprisingly, she survives but she has been cursed with fire and ice.
With the majority of their warriors gone and the chieftain dead, Thyra has to figure out what to do. As a warrior she knows how to fight but she also has this weird notion that they don’t always have to be taking and this makes some of the warriors think she isn’t a strong leader. Immediately, Thyra is challenged to earn the respect of the remainder of her tribe and Ansa is right there by her side to fight with her, despite the issues she is having with the curse.
In addition to all of those things going on, we find out the tribe is in even more danger Thyra’s traitorous uncle, Nisse, finds out that Lars is dead, he sends his son and a small army to bring them to him in a town he invaded and has been living in for the last year. There is definitely some bad blood between Thyra, Nisse, and Jasper (son/cousin) because of what happened to get them expelled from the tribe. As Ansa tries to not only control the curse, but figure out where her place is, she is pushed to make decisions that she isn’t prepared to make. That was one of the most frustrating things about her character. She wanted to belong so much, she was afraid to make the wrong choice – or to quote Sander – “jump”.
Fine did a fantastic job of building out the world these characters live in. Whether they are fighting for their lives in the water, trekking across the land to get to an invaded town, or surviving in a town that doesn’t belong to them, I was able to picture everything clearly. All of the characters were well developed and the secondary characters really helped push the story along. There are quite a few and I can’t name them all but Sander, Halina, Jasper, and Sig all stood out for me.
As I mentioned, this book is listed as a companion to the Impostor Queen and there were times where I was trying to figure out the correlation…outside of the invasion. But Fine ties I all together toward the end when we learn more about who Ansa really is and the curse she has. I was happy to see that when she thought about what Sig was trying to tell her, she was able to control herself and protect those important to her vs. just letting the curse take over. I do admit, there were times where I found myself flipping back to my copy of book one just so I could tie the stories together and I kind of wished I had done a reread of The Impostor Queen before I read this one just so it was all fresh in my mind as there are references to the Valtia and Kupari…things I wanted to remember.
With all of that said, I like how Fine set these stories up as separate books instead of alternating chapters in one or two books. Like I said, at first I was sad I wouldn’t get more of Elli’s story in this one but now that I see how Ansa’s and Elli’s stories will intersect I can’t even wait to get my hands on book three! If you haven’t started this series yet, you should totally fix that. If you are looking for something that has magic, friendship, danger, and deception…this is the book for you. Check it out when you can!
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy.