The Reluctant Queen (The Queens of Renthia #2)
By: Sarah Beth Durst
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase
In The Queen of Blood, Daleina used her strength and skill to survive the malevolent nature spirits of Renthia and claim the crown. But now she is hiding a terrible secret: she is dying. If she leaves the world before a new heir is ready, the spirits that inhabit her realm will once again run wild, destroying her cities and slaughtering her people.
Naelin has the power necessary to become an heir, but she couldn’t be further removed from the Queen. Her world is her two children, her husband, and her remote village tucked deep in the forest. But when Ven, the Queen’s champion, passes through her village, Naelin’s ambitious husband tells him of his wife’s ability to control spirits—magic that Naelin fervently denies. She knows embracing her power will bring death and separation from those she loves.
But Ven must find the best possible candidate to protect the people of Aratay. As the Queen’s power begins to wane and the spirits become emboldened, the only way Naelin can keep her son and daughter safe is to risk everything.
Alrighty, here we are, second installment of The Queens of Renthia trilogy. I enjoyed the first book enough so I was wondering how this new character plays a role in the story and where the story was going to go.
Suffice to say I greatly enjoyed this book more than the first installment. I mean, i enjoyed the first book too–the worldbuilding, the immediate danger you felt in the land–but I really enjoyed this novel. I think part of it has to do with the main character: Naelin is an older character with two children that she is devoted to, she has absolutely no interest in developing her abilities or becoming heir, she just wants a quiet life, a home, her family. So I can forgive her for eing especially reluctant to go with Ven and train and help Daleina and her friends and allies and save Aratay from its enemies. And Aratay has plenty.
It was interesting to revisit familiar characters and how time and new positions have changed them (or not). It was surprising to find Daleina in the position of dying after having survived everything she had gone through in the first book; as if the stakes were not high enough being queen. It was also interesting to learn more about Hamon’s family and what led him to becoming a healer.
Overall I really enjoyed The Reluctant Queen, it really followed up from the first book and expanded on the world and the politics. The stakes are even higher, pushing some characters to new heights and new paths. Definitely looking forard to the final book and reading how everything turns out.