Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Published: expected February 2017
Source: publishers via edelweiss
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.
This is one of the rare unicorns in bookland --- a strong YA fantasy standalone! Long May She Reign is indeed a solo offering, but that doesn't mean author Rhiannon Thomas pulls any punches in her newest novel. For once I found the comparison titles to be a fairly accurate representation of what this story has to offer: with its unlikely but competent female heroine, clever plotting, and a strong cast of secondary characters and subplots, this is an entertaining one-off.
I quite liked this medium-sized fantasy standalone. There were several aspects to it that I loved: the strong female friendship at the core of the story, having a girl main character who loves science and experiments and forging her own path, and a romance that didn't rush or overwhelm the real plot. In short, Long May She Reign was a quick but involving read with one of my favorite and unique fantasy premises to date.
Strong writing, creative thinking, and well drawn characters are the norm for any book I've read of Thomas before and Long May She Reign is another great example. The main character of Freya is not the only distinct personality; her counterparts and companions are also lively and realistic, and far from passive. Even the antagonist of the book is shown to be three dimensional and unexpectedly logical. The clever maneuvering of the plot keeps the end a mystery until the right time for a reveal.