The Queen’s Choice
by Cayla Kluver
Harlequin Teen, $17.99 hardcover, ISBN-10 0373210922, January 2014
When sixteen-year-old Anya learns that her aunt, Queen of the Faerie Kingdom of Chrior, will soon die, her grief is equaled only by her despair for the future of the kingdom. Her young cousin, Illumina, is unfit to rule, and Anya is determined not to take up the queen’s mantle herself. Convinced that the only solution is to find Prince Zabriel, who long ago disappeared into the human realm of Warckum, and persuade him to take up his rightful crown, Anya journeys into the Warckum Territory to bring him home. But her journey is doomed to be more harrowing than she ever could have imagined.
Sometimes, high fantasy equals high page count, understandable in a genre that requires an author to invent or reinvent entire countries, races, systems of magic, religions, and on and on. However, The Queen’s Choice doesn’t merit its hefty 512 pages. Unfortunately, it falls into a familiar quest/journey narrative trap: Anya and her new human friend Shea get into trouble…get out of trouble…get into trouble…get out of trouble…and so on. Eventually the plot coalesces, but a few threads remain unessential. Also, while Harlequin Teen is known for stories with strong romantic elements, Anya stumbles into a briefly mentioned, underdeveloped love triangle that does nothing to advance the plot.
Still, fans of fairy fiction or high fantasy may ask for this anyway, especially if they prefer thick books.
Recommend to: Fans of high fantasy with a girly slant, fans of fairies
To buy or not to buy: An additional purchase for YA collections in libraries with a strong fantasy fanbase