cover image The Imposter Queen

The Imposter Queen

Sarah Fine. S&S/McElderry, $17.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-4814-4190-2

The Kupari are the only people in their world who practice magic. Some can use the forces of fire or ice, and their most powerful magician and queen, the Valtia, wields both. The Valtia's heir doesn't gain magic until the queen dies. Elli, known to be the princess because of a magical birthmark, awaits her inheritance after the Valtia dies raising a storm against the country's enemies, but she turns out to have no magic in her at all. Fine (Of Metal and Wishes) follows a disgraced Elli into the backlands as she attempts to find a way to be of use to her country. Elli's quest is absorbing, the story well-paced, and the world and its magic intriguing, but Fine doesn't always delineate the characters, images, and action sequences well enough to evoke strong emotion. The plot leans strongly on stock fantasy ideas, such as the ancient prophesy that turns out to govern a great deal of the characters' lives, contributing to an entertaining but not always gripping story. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kathleen Ortiz, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Jan.)