BWW Review: LONG MAY SHE REIGN by Rhiannon Thomas
"There were choices, and then there were choices. People could say "everything is a choice" with as much haughtiness and superiority as they liked, but that didn't mean desperate people wouldn't take a third option if they could."
What would happen if you were twenty-third in line to the throne and knew you'd never rule.......and then you woke up one day and you were Queen.
When I first heard about LONG MAY SHE REIGN by Rhiannon Thomas, I was instantly intrigued. The summary actually reminded me a lot of a really funny, really dark musical called A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, which was nominated for ten Tony Awards--and it won 2014 Best Musical. A local production of the musical was mounted this past weekend, and it revived my love of the musical, and made me want to revisit this novel.
The musical is about a man who finds out that he's a D'Ysquith and ninth in line to inherit everything. So he slips into the lives of family who never knew he existed and starts knocking them off one by one. In LONG MAY SHE REIGN, all twenty-two members of the royal family in line for the throne are poisoned at a banquet, and suddenly, teenager Freya finds herself next in line for the throne she never thought would fall to her.
When I heard about LONG MAY SHE REIGN and saw it was about a girl's surge to power, I immediately wondered if it would be like the musical I loved so much. Did Freya engineer it so that she could take the crown, or was something more nefarious at play? Whether she does or not, I can't say. Maybe she did, maybe she didn't, but that's the beauty of reading. The mystery is about getting to the bottom of what really happened that night.
I also really loved the fact that the main character is awesome at science and just wants to do her experiments. We need more science-loving girls in YA! I also appreciated the fact that Freya constantly said she wasn't beautiful, and when a potential love interest arose, he liked her for what was within and didn't pretend she was something she wasn't. It wasn't one of those YA novels where the girl pretends she isn't pretty but she secretly is and everyone is fawning over her while she denies it. Freya feels so ordinary, like a girl you'd want to know, and I love how down-to-earth she is.
It's a stand-alone, too, which is rare when it comes to YA novels. Between that and the STEM focus, it's a breath of fresh air, and one I'm still thinking about a couple of years after first reading this book. While the book wasn't exactly what I was initially expecting, it was an enjoyable read, and one I wish to revisit.
LONG MAY SHE REIGN by Rhiannon Thomas was published on February 21, 2017 by HarperCollins.
ABOUT LONG MAY SHE REIGN:
THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS meets THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl's unexpected rise to power.
Freya was never meant 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 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.
Freya 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, Freya 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 advisors. 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.