Book: Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
Published February 2017 by HarperTeen|422 pages
Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library
Genre: YA Fantasy
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.
I liked Long May She Reign. It’s a really cool combination of fantasy and mystery. It’s strange, because it had the feel of a fantasy, but had a lot of mystery elements too.
I really like the idea of a girl becoming queen after the 22 people in line for the throne ahead of her die. In that sense, it reminded me a lot of Designated Survivor. But in a completely different, fantastical world. On top of that, you have Freya trying to find out what happened to the king and many others at the party.
I also liked seeing Freya try to find her way as queen, and deal with her advisors, who want to deal with things differently than she does, and who make decisions on her behalf that maybe she doesn’t agree with. She really wanted to do the right thing, and she really wanted to do things her way, and I really liked that about her. She was such a determined person, who was more interested in science and research until she had to step and become queen.
Still, as much as I liked Freya, and the premise of the book, it didn’t quite work for me. It had a lot of potential, but it didn’t completely match the expectations I had going into the book. I think part of it is because it’s a standalone, so there were times when it seemed like everything had to fit into a few pages. But it also meant that not everything got the attention it should have. Like the culture, and I felt like the Forgotten were never really explained. I wonder, had the book had been at least two or three books, if the book and idea could have reached its potential. Maybe not, and it’s possible that things could have felt more drawn out.
I was surprised that it was a stand-alone. Then again, I’m always surprised when I stumble across a stand-alone fantasy. I have mixed feelings about it, because on the one hand, I do wonder what the book what have been like if we had more time with Freya and this world. At the same time, though, I don’t know that there’s enough for more books. I think I’m just going to leave it there, because I feel like I’m starting to repeat myself.
3 stars. I liked it, and it was a really interesting idea. I particularly liked Freya, and the world seemed interesting enough. But it also didn’t reach it’s full potential, and it seemed like something was missing.