The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia #1)

This alternate world fantasy was really, really, really good. I mean really.

I’ve been a Durst fan for a while, but this is the best thing yet I’ve read by her. It hit a couple of my sweet spots in terms of character (LOVE the fact that Daleina actually isn’t very good at controlling spirits and kind of blindly goes forward in her own naivete), world development (villages built in trees!), emotional arcs both for the main character and her champion, etc. etc.

I don’t enjoy alternate world fantasy as much anymore as I do Urban and Magical Realism and Paranormal. Possibly that’s my own taste evolving. But this book definitely held the same kind of wonder I felt reading Cashore’s Graceling and Kay’s Tigana series.

Daleina lives in a country where elemental spirits roam the forests pretty much intent on killing any humans they find unprotected. Only the Queen has the power to keep them in check. And she mostly does, although at the start of the book, Daleina’s village gets destroyed, sending her on a quest to become one of the Queen’s heirs.

There’s just alot here that I don’t want to spoil by raving about, especially the differences between how Daleina as weaker girl interacts with the spirits vs her more powerful colleagues, Champion Ven’s feelings about the current Queen, and the way the current Queen meets her fate, and a somewhat glossed over Merecot fate?

Superb. Getting the next in the series now.