A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
An alternative-world fantasy meant to entertain.
You have the power to decide how to use your special talents and skills. And even if you're not sure how to use them, keep practicing and trying new things. Eventually you'll learn how you can use your unique gifts to help people and make the world a better place.
Positive Role Models
Elli is anxious to serve her people as queen someday. She's very loyal and affectionate, and she has a very active curiosity about how the world works. When her confidence is shattered, she strives to be helpful under new circumstances and endures a lot without complaint. Oskar is brave and loyal, willing to do anything to protect those he loves. A large cast of supporting characters models a range of behaviors, but all except the villains have honest motives and do what they think is right.
Violence & Scariness
Mostly fantasy violence from magical battles involving ice and fire. People are injured, frozen, or burned and die; blood is mentioned frequently, but there's no gore. There are a few non-magical fights and accidental injuries with pain briefly described. Elli witnesses violent deaths of people she loves and is traumatized. A major character is knocked unconscious a few times and loses two fingers from one hand. Elli willingly undergoes a severe whipping and near drowning to test her magical abilities. Her pain is described briefly, and blood is mentioned but not described in detail.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some brief descriptions of Elli's feelings of physical attraction to both a man and a woman. A few opposite-sex kisses described briefly. Elli talks to Oskar about her past love for a woman and wonders if he'll have a problem with it. Oskar ignores the issue.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Imposter Queen is an epic-style fantasy set in a realm where some people have magical abilities using ice or fire. There's a fair amount of fantasy violence with people being burned or frozen to death, and blood is mentioned a fair amount but not described in detail; otherwise there's no gore. Heroine Elli, 16, is at first in love with her handmaiden Mim, and some feelings of physical attraction are briefly described. Later she falls for Oskar, a man; they kiss a few times and are the source of the romance aspects of the story. Elli's a good role model for wanting to help her people and be useful; she's brave and curious about the world around her, and she learns that she has the power to control her own magical gifts without anyone else controlling her.
Is It Any Good?
This well-balanced story has plenty of elements for fantasy fans to enjoy. Magic, action, intrigue, and romance combine in an imaginative world that's well realized. Tweens and teens will relate to Elli's feelings of uncertainty about herself and root for her as she discovers she has more to offer the world than she thought.
Although the various elements are woven together well and the plot keeps the pages turning, there's not a great deal of depth or richness to provide appeal outside the genre. It's a fun, light read that fantasy lovers will enjoy, with an ending that satisfies while leaving the door open for more.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.