Description from GoodReads:
"Sixteen-year-old Elli was only a child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic in service of her people. The only life Elli has known has been in the temple, surrounded by luxury, tutored by magic-wielding priests, preparing for the day when the queen perishes—and the ice and fire find a new home in Elli, who is prophesied to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.
But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.
Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between her love for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must choose the right side before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed."
Carolyn's thoughts on the book:
While YA is filled with chosen-ones and empresses-in-training, The Impostor Queen's Elli is far different. She was chosen, by the Elders of Kupari, to inherit the position of the Valtia (the empress/magical warrior-guardian of the Kupari), but when the time comes to inherit the position of Valtia (after the previous one dies a horrific, bloody death saving their country)...nothing happens. As someone told for the entirety of her life that she was chosen and special, to suddenly fail everyone is a crushing blow to Elli, who flees from the increasingly paranoid Elders after they subject her to torture in an attempt to elicit the magic. Faced with the task of discovering her true power, Elli seeks refuge with a group of criminals, where she begins to break free of the incessant indoctrination of the Elders - no easy feat considering that they (and their values) run contrary to everything she's been taught (which, according to the Elders, is all in the best interest of the people). But as Elli begins to realize that the Elders are predatory and cultish, she still has a deep sense of responsibility towards her people, even if she is not their queen. Meanwhile, her attraction to Oskar, an outlaw, is complicated by his opposition to the Elders and his own powerful ice magic that threatens to overwhelm him. As a novel, the Impostor Queen is unique - it combines powerful fantasy with an almost dystopian-level of indoctrination and control, making for a fascinating journey for our heroine - usually the narrative is the person who thinks they're normal turning out to have great power, but that trope is inverted in this novel by tying the chosen status to the oppressive regime and thus centering the heroine's character development around her loss of status and subsequent growth. While the magic in the Kupari isn't explained in depth, other than the fire/ice duality and copper being the source of the magic, this is because Elli herself was kept so isolated while the Elders held all the power and knowledge. Hopefully the magic - as well as Elli's unique abilities will be explored further in next books.
The Impostor Queen is a great read for fans of dystopia and fantasy alike.
Carolyn is a teen blogger who shares her favorite YA reads and favorite book related finds with readers on Fridays.