While this book has a few excellent moments, overall it’s derivative and clichéd. The fantasy European setting is not very well done and the fantasy French is often awkward to read, as is the occasionally archaic dialogue. Additionally, Vianne seems to spend most of the book being dragged from one place to another while suffering from persistent and inexplicable fevers, only discovering her backbone near the cliffhanger at the end of the book.

Vianne di Rocancheil et Vintmorecy is a gawky and provincial lady-in-waiting to Princess Lisele of Arquitaine — at least until there’s a bloody coup and Vianne discovers that aside from the usurper, she is the only person alive with royal blood running in her veins — which, when paired with her possession of a magical artifact called the Aryx, means that she is the legitimate Queen of Arquitaine. Forced to flee to the mountains, Vianne is accompanied by the captain of the guard, Tristan D’Arcenne, and a handful of supporters. Vianne must grow into her new role of queen if she has any hope of surviving to save her beloved homeland from war and further privation. (ORBITBOOKS.NET, dl $7.99)

Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs