A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rebecca Ross' The Queen's Rising is a fantasy adventure with a bit of romance. It's refreshingly swear-word free and the romance is very innocent. Violence is rare until a large battle at the very end with swords, knives, and arrows. Blood's mentioned a lot but not described in detail, although some dead bodies killed by a magical attack are described with some gore. The central romance is between a teacher and a student, but neither one acts on their feelings until that relationship is over. Most of the romance is descriptions of feelings, with one or two kisses not described in detail. Positive messages about the value of sisterhood, the value of education, and loyalty to the family you choose as opposed to the one you're born to. Lots of strong, smart, capable female role models.
What's the story?
In THE QUEEN'S RISING we meet Brienna, now about to turn 17 and graduate from the prestigious Magnalia House, where she's been educated for the past seven years. But she chose her specialty later than most, and is worried that she hasn't had time to master her chosen passion -- knowledge -- and be selected by a patron to move on. Her worst fears are realized when none of the potential patrons choose her, and she spends a lonely summer at Magnalia wondering what the future holds. Although she doesn't realize it at the time, a great future arrives in the form of a mysterious lord who agrees to adopt her into his own family. It's quickly obvious that Jourdain is more than he appears to be, and soon Brienna's caught up in his intrigues. Intrigues that will eventually take her across the sea to a ruthless kingdom with inextricable ties to her own mysterious past, and the keys to her future.
Is it any good?
Romantic fantasy fans will enjoy following Brienna as she's swept up into adventure in a richly imagined, deeply realized world of secrets, a dash of magic, sisterhood, and royal intrigue. Two kingdoms in The Queen's Rising, both full of well-drawn characters, are easier to keep track of and envision thanks to maps and family trees in the front, but beware that the family trees reveal some spoilers. Teens will relate to Brienna as she struggles to find her path and longs to know what life has in store for her.
Debut author Rebecca Ross is at her best creating vivid descriptions of the world and the people in it. Some of the dialogue is a bit melodramatic, and sometimes the language comes across as trying too hard to reinforce the time and place. But teens who like their fantasy worlds with a sweet romance, a dash of adventure, and plenty of girl power will enjoy it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about romantic fantasies like The Queen's Rising. Which ones are your favorites? How does this one compare?
What are Brienna's character strengths? What makes her a good role model?
So many fantasies are series. Would you like to see this story continue, or does it stand on its own? Why?
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