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Review: The Impostor Queen (Fine)

>AUTHOR: Sarah Fine  
SERIES: The Impostor Queen, book 1  
PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry  
PUBLICATION DATE: January 5, 2016  
ISBN: 9781481441902  
PAGES: 336  
SOURCE: Edelweiss  
GENRE: fantasy  
SETTING: Queendom of Kupari  

SUMMARY: As the next in line to become the Valtia, or magical queen, of Kupari, Elli lives a sheltered life inside the a temple. She is taught by priests and elders so that when the current Valtia dies, Elli’s body will fill with magic, specifically, the power to wield fire and ice. But when the current Valtia dies protecting the city, the magic does not enter Elli’s body. Disgraced, Elli runs away, leaving the only life she has ever known. When she is found near death in the outlands, Elli is brought to live with a band of thieves and outlaws, where she learns of deceit in the temple and a missing prophecy that gives insight to Elli’s lack of magic.

REVIEW: No, you probably don’t understand the summary. That’s okay; I didn’t either. I did not read this book because of the summary; I read it because I read Sanctum by Sarah Fine a few years ago and just loved it. Having just read my second Sarah Fine book, I am hooked on her creative world-building and complex characters.

It took me a couple of days to get into this one. The world-building is intricate and takes some time to develop. Eventually, though, I was unable to put it down. I finished the last 300 or so pages in one sitting! I loved the characters and the slow-building romance between Elli and Oskar. Sig is an especially interesting and complex character, and I look forward to reading the sequel to find out his fate.

Great ending! I know I’m not saying much about the plot here, but it really is so hard to explain. If you like books like Bardugo’s Shadow & Bone or Golding’s Dragonfly, this one is not to be missed!

THE BOTTOM LINE: Top-notch world-building and complex characters make The Impostor Queen one of my early 2016 favorites. The story takes some time to build, so I recommend this for stronger readers who love high fantasy.


READALIKES: Shadow & Bone (Bardugo); Dragonfly (Golding); Eon (Goodman); Girl of Fire and Thorns (Carson)


  • Overall: 4/5
  • Creativity: 5/5
  • Characters: 5/5–love Sig especially!
  • Engrossing: 4/5–a little slow to start
  • Writing: 5/5–incredible world-building!
  • Appeal to teens: 4/5–best for strong readers
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5–loved that ending!


  • Language: mild; one hilarious reference to a man’s “balls”
  • Sexuality: mild; kissing; castration; non-sexual nakedness
  • Violence: high; whipping (described in some detail); murder; blood-letting and blood-drinking
  • Drugs/Alcohol: none
  • Other: evil priests; overall “dark” feel

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