Title: Long May She Reign
Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Published: By HarperTeen on February 21st, 2017
Freya was never meant to 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 the 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.
She 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, she 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 advisers. 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.
Fantasy standalones are such a rarity and I went into this one to figure out how a story can be wrapped up in just one book. From the cover itself, I could get a science-inspired setting vibe and it’s something I really want to see more in this genre. Also, the cover is beautifully designed, so of course I had to add it to my TBR! From the synopsis I gathered that the heroine would be analytically minded, which I was very excited about because smart girls in books are all I want to read about. It’s safe to say that I had quite high expectations from this book.
It came as no surprise to me that Freya became one of my favourite YA fantasy heroines after finishing the book. Seeing the story unfold from her perspective was such such a joy because I could relate a lot to her logical train of thought. Her passion for science and her desire to do good no matter what difficulties she faced made her likeable in my opinion. The female friendships in this was extremely well done. I actually didn’t mind the romance in this book because it had time to develop and Freya remained objective about it throughout. Coming to the world-building, I liked how religion, folklore and old traditions influenced the politics of the region. The intrigue and suspense took a backseat after the initial action and I was a little bored until the halfway mark. After that I think I was so invested in the characters’ lives that the pacing stopped bothering me. However, the ending was hugely satisfying and I was left wishing there was a sequel in the works.
If you’re a fantasy fan and have been dying to get your hands on a book that features a protagonist as described above, you should definitely give this a go. It’s not the most dramatic or action-packed book, but focuses on character development, so keep that in mind before adding it to your TBR. For the music, I’d recommend the soundtrack of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey because it fits the tone of the narrative really well. For the food, I recommend you stick to just beverages like hot chocolate because the poisoning really takes away from your appetite, I swear.
I feel like this is not a very popular YA fantasy, so do tell if you’ve read this book and your thoughts on it. Is it on your TBR? Were you attracted by the cover as well? Do you have any fantasy standalones to recommend? Let me know in the comments section below.