Release date: February 21st 2017
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 book was very different from most of the fantasy books I’ve read and I found myself enjoying most of the differences. I liked that it used science instead of magic and that, along with Freya struggling with her sudden royal ascension, the main plot was a bit of a murder mystery. Sometimes it felt a little slow in between the pockets of action but I still enjoyed the slower parts as they involved Freya doing experiments or political discussions. They held less action but they still felt important to the overall story and I liked that.
Freya was a character I found myself relating to quite easily. She just wanted to run her science experiments instead of attending public events and when she was suddenly the queen, it wasn’t an easy transition into the role. She wanted to rule with logic and with heart, doing what was best for all her people instead of just the royal court, and she was willing to do that even if it meant angering her council. The most prominent relationships Freya had in this book were with her best friend and her cat. There was a bit of romance but it stayed mostly in the background and focused more in the friendships and the mystery.
The story turned out to be much lighter than I expected considering the mass murder and the whole murder mystery theme. It didn’t go until details about the mass murder and Freya’s investigation was kept on the more scientific side instead of going into something darker. As a bookseller, I really appreciated this since it made the book something I could easily recommend to a younger reader.
It was nice that this was a standalone. I love series but sometimes it’s nice to finish a book and have the story complete and it’s hard to find fantasy standalones. Another aspect of this book that I appreciated as a bookseller. The ending did feel a little anti-climatic since I had figured out who the poisoner was but overall, I still enjoyed the book.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.