Long May She Reign

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Long May She Reign Book Poster Image
Teen queen uses science to save kingdom in engaging fantasy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

In Long May She Reign, Queen Freya depends on science, rather than magic, to solve a mysterious poisoning. Part of the plot hinges on the rules of chemistry.

Positive Messages

Being true to your own beliefs can be difficult but ultimately worthwhile. First impressions are not always reliable. Problems can be solved through logic and reason rather than fear and superstition.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Freya never expects to become queen, but with no other choice, she accepts the crown and tries to rule as fairly as possible. She believes in science, not superstition, and applies logic to the struggles she faces. Compassionate, if somewhat impulsive, she has the makings of an exceptional ruler.

Violence

Opens with a mass poisoning, but the deaths are not described. In general, Freya avoids violence whenever possible.

Sex

Freya and a supporting character share a couple of passionate kisses.

Language

One character is called a "bastard."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine is served at a royal feast.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Long May She Reign is a stand-alone historical fantasy about a girl who becomes queen after the royal court is decimated by a mass poisoning. Rather than use violence or magic, Queen Freya relies on science and logic to save herself and her kingdom. After the initial murders, there's little violence. Sexual content is limited to a couple of passionate kisses. Court members drink wine at a royal feast.

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What's the story?

At the beginning of LONG MAY SHE REIGN, teen Freya is 23rd in line to succeed the current king. But when he and most of the royal court die in a mass poisoning, Freya reluctantly dons the crown. Various factions inside and outside the castle walls want her to fail. Aided by three friends, she must solve the mystery of the murders before her enemies arrive to add her name to the death list.

Is it any good?

There's no hint of actual magic in the plot of this historical fantasy, but its emphasis on logic, reason, and science distinguishes the novel from the usual pseudo-medieval fare. Long May She Reign features a main character who wants to help people while staying true to her own beliefs, and author Rhiannon Thomas gives Freya plenty of opportunities to display her compassion and resourcefulness. The plot drags a bit in the middle, the budding romance doesn't generate much heat, and a few plot twists may be foreseeable, but the book still adds up to an engaging read.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the rule of royal succession in Long May She Reign. Why is the right to rule a society sometimes based solely on bloodlines? How has this rule become an important part of history?

  • Freya relies on physics and chemistry to solve her problems. Why is the scientific method useful? What are the dangers of ignoring science?

  • Freya doesn't know whom to trust after the murders. How do people build trust with each other? What kinds of behavior undermine trust?

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