A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Fantasy meant to entertain.
Strong bonds of sisterhood endure and will be there for you always. Your family is the people you love and want to be with, not necessarily blood relatives. Getting an education opens up the best possibilities for your future. Using your gifts for violent reasons only corrupts them and brings destruction and death; using them peacefully brings healing and harmony. If you're willing to work hard, you can pursue your passions and become very good at them, even if you don't have special talent.
Positive Role Models
Lots of strong, smart, loyal, and more-than-capable female role models. One society was ruled by females for hundreds of years and went terribly wrong when the throne was usurped by men. Another society has long been peaceful and prosperous under male rule. Brienna is brave, loyal, works hard to achieve her goals and to help others. Her family and friends are caring, loyal, and supportive. The villain is a ruthless tyrant who wants to hold on to power.
Violence & Scariness
Very little violence until a large battle at the end with swords, knives, and arrows that mentions blood, injuries, and some pain. A brief, mildly gory description of dead bodies killed by magic. Several hard hits to the face mention blood from noses and mouths. A robbery ends with a stabbing, neck slicing, and blood spewing. Heads on spikes briefly described. A whipping mentions the back flayed open. A dog attacks and kills, mauling an arm and neck.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of romantic feelings and attraction that has to be suppressed because of a teacher-student relationship. A few brief kisses.
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A few instances of verbal abuse but no swearing.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lots of mentions of ale, wine, and "cordial" with meals and celebrations. A few mentions of drinking cordial to calm strong emotions. No drunken or alcoholic behavior.
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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.
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.
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.