Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Rating: 4.5 Stars
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.
This was unexpectedly wonderful!!
First of all, DO YOU SEE THAT PREMISE?!? As in, a MASS MURDER causes a girl who was never meant to be queen TO BECOMES QUEEN??
Plus the cover was irresistibly beautiful.
And, um, the book was pretty great, too. 😉
This book is different than I expected. First of all, I thought it would be more dark and gruesome. Because POISONING. But it’s really actually quite light and happy! I was disappointed for about five seconds, but the book was so good it ended up being just fine.
The other thing is that this book is super slow and very, VERY political. I happen to LOVE slow books and I usually like political fantasy, and so I was just fine with this aspect. Also, while Long May She Reign is set in a fantasy world, it is more like a murder mystery wrapped in a fairytale. So this is most definitely not fast-paced, exciting fantasy.
The plot, while slow, was super interesting to me. I’ve only read a few mysteries (I don’t usually care for them) and I was very engaged in trying to figure out the murderer. I really liked how Freya’s love of science helped her to figure out the murderer, and I thought it was a nice little metaphor for her journey to becoming queen.
Freya and her character development was my favorite part of the book. Freya has social anxiety, and at the beginning of the book, it is obviously really hard for her, and affects every aspect of her life. I struggle with anxiety too, so I could relate to her fears and worries. Her social anxiety makes it really hard for her to learn how to be queen. But throughout the book, she gains so much confidence. I can see how to others, Freya’s anxiety might have seemed to vanish. I kind of felt that way at first too, but as I thought about it more, I decided it was still there, but the tremendous amount of confidence and experience Freya gained throughout the book made her anxiety not be such an enormous struggle for her.
Now, I understand that my interpretation of Freya’s experiences is affected by my experiences with anxiety. I also understand that mine will be different from others’ and so will Freya’s.
Clearly I connected really well with Freya, and I loved watching her phenomenal development. But I also just really, really, liked her. Her voice, the choices she made, etc.
She was a lot of fun to read about!! (Also, some things she said were unexpectedly hilarious.)
What did he mean? Was he saying he liked me as in ‘We’re friends, of course I wouldn’t betray you?’ Or as in, ‘You’re not an awful person, and I’m happy for you to be queen?’ Or . . . or did he mean he liked me, as in he liked me? As in had feelings for me?
Also, Freya is very much a “strong” heroine. But, she (a) is not a jerk, (b) is okay with being a girl and (c) is friendly and nice to other girls. (!!)
And the friendships between Freya and two other girls in the book were just wonderful!! They were so sweet and nice to each other…
…and it was just great. 🙂
I liked the supporting characters as well. They weren’t quite as developed as Freya, but they all had personalities and motives, and none of them felt flat.
But of course, my mean little analyzing brain had to come up with SOMETHING to dislike.
I didn’t feel like there was much worldbuiling. I got a pretty good sense of the gods of Freya’s world, but not of her actual world. It pretty much felt like a standard, medieval-esque kingdom. It wasn’t necessarily cliche, but there also wasn’t really anything to make it stand out.
I also, sadly, did not care for the romance.
(But is that really that unusual?!? Spoiler: It’s not. I am TIRED of romance in YA. MUST we have it in every. single. book??)
It just felt like…there wasn’t any romance for a long time and Freya and Fitzroy were just friends, and then suddenly they liked each other.
BUT (luckily) the romance did NOT take over the plot. It (mercifully) remained very understated.)
But couldn’t they have stayed friends?? They were SUCH good friends while it lasted and their friendship was a really enjoyable part of the story. I feel like a romance between them could have worked really well; it just wasn’t given enough time to develop. *sniffles*
But I LOVED everything else. SO MUCH.
Have you read this book? Does it look interesting to you?? What kind of fantasy is your favorite?? Do you like murder mysteries?? Also, isn’t that cover GORGEOUS??
*No questionable content