Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: February 21, 2017
Source: Publisher for review
Publisher: Harper Teen
Other Books By Author: A Wicked Thing
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power. Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne. Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life. Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself. As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown."
Freya is a distant relative to the king, so it has never occurred to her that she could one day sit upon the throne. She has spent most of her time studying science and hanging out with her best friend. At the king's birthday dinner, she sneaks off to start a new experiment along with her best friend, and while she is gone, the entire court has been poisoned. Freya finds herself as one of the only royal survivors and in turn, she is next in line for the throne! She is thrusted into this position and consequently must take on new responsibilities and kiss her dreams of being a scientist goodbye. She has never really prepared herself to be a queen as she was so far removed from the throne, so Freya has much to learn about court life. Plus, there's the huge issue of whole poisoned the court and what if they do it again? Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas has a little bit of everything. There's court politics, a murder mystery, strong female friendships, and Freya's journey to becoming a queen.
Freya is an interesting character in Long May She Reign. I like that she cares about science and isn't your usual female at court. She's a bit socially awkward, but nonetheless, I liked her determination as she really wants to find out who is responsible for poisoning the court. After all, her life is at stake as well until they find out who is the culprit. Freya must also navigate court politics and that is not easy. There's the new heir at court who is Freya's polar opposite and is very charismatic, then there's the king's charming illegitimate son, her father who seems too eager for power, and lastly, the king's best friend who even suspects her as the poisoner. And these are just a few of the cast of characters that Freya must deal with all while maintaining power as queen. Who can she trust?
What I like most about Long May She Reign is the fact that it's a standalone fantasy which is pretty much like spotting a unicorn. We need more standalone YA novels, because who has time to commit to an entire series? Series have become the new fantasy genre norm and it's very time consuming to get through them all, so I enjoyed the fact that I could just take in Freya's journey presently without dealing with a setup for book two or major cliffhangers.
I also really enjoyed the strong female friendships in Long May She Reign, which I think we also need more of in YA literature. I always appreciate a supporting female friendship when I see it, so it definitely was one of the strong points in this novel.
The romance in Long May She Reign was a little weak at times; in fact, this book is more about politics and a murder mystery. While this didn't bother me, I thought I would share it as I know many people like a strong romance in their stories, which was not the case here.
So, if you are looking for an interesting YA fantasy that is a standalone (YAY!), then try out Long May She Reign this winter.