Genre: Fantasy Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4 stars Series: yes - second book in duology
*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for THE QUEEN’S RISING*
Finally, Brienna is a mistress of knowledge and is settling into her role as the daughter of Davin MacQuinn, a disgraced lord who returned to Maevana to reclaim his house. Though she’d just survived a revolution, one that will finally return a queen to the throne, she faces another difficult challenge. She must prove herself trustworthy to the MacQuinns. But as Queen Isolde Kavanagh’s closest confidant, she’ll have to balance serving her father’s house as well as her country. And then there’s Cartier, a wholly separate but desirable factor in her new life.
Aodhan Morgane, formerly known as Cartier Évariste, is adjusting to the stark contrast between his pre-rebellion life in Valenia as a master of knowledge and his current one as the lord of a fallen house. During his castle’s restoration, he discovers a ten-year-old boy named Tomas, whose past and parentage are a complete mystery. So when Cartier’s former pupil Brienna is as taken with Tomas as he is, he lets his mind wander—what if he doesn’t have to raise him or his house alone?
As the Lannon trial rapidly approaches, Brienna and Cartier must put their feelings aside to concentrate on forging alliances, executing justice, and ensuring that no one interferes with the queen’s coronation. But resistance is rumbling among the old regime’s supporters, who are desperate to find a weakness in the rebels’ forces. And nothing makes a person more vulnerable than deep-seated love.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
THE QUEEN’S RESISTANCE is a strong end to the duology. Like the first book, it’s a slower paced YA political fantasy that reads like a standalone as there are no loose threads being picked up from the first book.
This book is told from two POVs – Brienna’s alternated with Cartier’s. As there’s quite a lot of movement, having two POVs meant the story could follow all the twists and turns of the schemes. It’s another twisty, political fantasy looking at the aftermath of a revolution and the complications in trying to secure a country. Lots of books often end on the rebellion, but this goes further and examines the instability a violent change in regime brings.
The theme of found family is followed through in this book, with the addition of two children that Brienna and Cartier become responsible for. There is also the judgement the people visit on Brienna for her parentage, and Sean’s attempts to overcome the same prejudices. I particularly liked the relationship between Cartier and Tomas, as it was really helped to humanise Cartier, who was absent for much of the first book.
I touched on it in my review of the previous book, but the relationship makes me a bit uncomfortable. Teacher/student is never a good trope in my opinion (I do a lot of volunteering with children’s groups, so I’ve done a lot of safeguarding training and this trope breaks all the rules on appropriateness and abusing positions of trust). There is also a 8 year age gap between the two, and given Brienna is 18, this is significant. It’s unfortunate, as the two have chemistry, so this is a case where I wish that Cartier had been another student – or some such role – to avoid the two issues (the student/teacher being the main problem).
All in all, it was an enjoyable end to the duology and I’m looking forwards to reading her latest release next.
Read my reviews of other books by Rebecca Ross:
The Queen’s Rising (this series):
- THE QUEEN’S RISING (#1)
The Elements of Cadence:
- A RIVER ENCHANTED (#1)
- A FIRE ENDLESS (#2)