Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: February 21st, 2017
Page Count: 432 pages
Source: From publisher via Edelweiss
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.
*The Reader's Review*
My rating: 3.5/5 stars
.This review can also be found on YA Books Central.
It's not every day that one comes across a standalone YA Fantasy novel, let alone one that does not focus entirely on romance! It was a nice change to read a book that focuses on a young girl whose life is turned upside down as she suddenly finds herself on the throne and has to endure the scrutiny of an entire kingdom, questioning her right to rule, without the woes of a romance to take her mind from her new-found struggles.
What I liked:
Our main character, Freya, goes from being a minor noble (twenty third in line to the throne) with dreams of leaving to study science, to being a queen after the entire court is poisoned, including the King of Epria. Freya is awkward and unfit in the beginning, easily manipulated and criticized by her peers, but she grows into her role and starts to act as someone meant to rule to the point of fighting and doing anything to protect her kingdom.
Long May She Reign had me intrigued about the mystery of what, how, and who had poisoned the entire court. It led me to not trust a single character, except for Freya whose innocence was the only one I was sure of, and I was always wary of every character who surrounded Freya in her new court. Everyone somehow had a reason to have killed the old court and that's what made the plot all the more interesting.
However, the ending to this book was my favorite part. Can't say much in fear of spoiling, but I will say that it left me smiling and quite pleased with how things wrap up ... or not. The beauty of this book truly shines in the last few pages, for you see how far Freya has come from the girl she used to be.
What didn't do it for me:
While I do love that this book is a standalone, I was actually expecting it to be more action-packed. It's a bit on the slow side, sometimes uneventful, which made take a while to finish it! Mostly the first half.
Another thing that didn't do it for me was how the characters, except for Freya, weren't at all concerned about consuming food at court after the food poisoning attempts. You'd think they'd be more wary! However, they leave it up to Freya to investigate and they keep eating without worry. And even after Freya comes with an answer to make sure food is not poisoned, they don't seem to apply it. Wish they did!
Lastly, I also wish to have explored more of Epria in this book. Most of the story took place in Freya's old castle, especially her laboratory, which wasn't particularly exciting.
Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas is an intriguing read if you don't mind going at a slow pace. It is rewarded by a good main character who learns to grow past her prejudices to become someone fit to be queen.