Raisa found out that there was a downside to having friends- they were always trying to cheer you up when all you wanted to do was feel sorry for yourself.
Blurb (Goodreads)- Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean that danger isn’t far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.
Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden’s Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.
Everything changes when Han and Raisa’s paths cross, in this epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.
Thoughts- Well, I’m officially falling in love with this series. It’s simply so enchanting, and thankfully The Exiled Queen 100% does not suffer from second book syndrome. In fact, I’d say I enjoyed this installment even more than it’s predecessor.
While this book does start off on the slightly slow side, once you hit that 100 page mark and both Han and Raisa are at Oden’s Ford… it’s utterly fantastic. I bet some of you all know this already, but I am such a sucker for boarding school-esque books, and that’s exactly what Oden’s Ford is. So not only do we have a boarding school, but the world is developed even more, and there is more political intrigue. Yes please!
Seeing Han and Raisa in a new location and under completely new circumstances truly helped develop their characters, especially Raisa. From an unhappy, spoiled princess to a kickass soldier who knows how to stand up for her beliefs. While I do think Raisa spends a good portion of time pondering her love life, she doesn’t let it stop her from accomplishing her goal. I also loved the fact that she still missed her family and home, even though her mother hasn’t been the best towards her. Han had the more obvious transformation from a “jinxflinger” hater to a pretty awesome wizard-in-training. I’m so interested to see where Chima takes Han’s story, especially with Aediion.
In the second installment, we get to explore new parts of the Seven Realms outside of the Queendom of the Fells such as Arden and Tamron, and the differences between the realms are so subtle, and yet so obvious (which I love). Since we’re placed in Oden’s Ford for the majority of it, the reader is exposed to so many of the different cultures present in the book, and takes time to explore them. I just absolutely adore the world that Chima has weaved, and how rich and complex it is.
The Exiled Queen is also all about building new relationships and exploring old ones. For the first time in her life, Raisa has true friends, not people that just want to use her power. It’s so cute watching her settle into a rhythm with Hallie and Talia, and watching the trust between them grow. Han isn’t a necessarily a friends kind of guy, but the relationships (bad or good *cough* the Bayars *cough*) he builds are so vital within the story, and even have some mysteries around them. Then of course, Han and Raisa’s relationship with each other also develops more, with them getting to know each other, even though Raisa is still under the assumption of Rebecca.
Overall, this was another fantastic book for this series. I can not wait to read the last two, and see where the story continues from here. Seriously, I highly recommend this series as a whole, trust me on this one!