{Rachel’s Reading Updates} The Orphan Queen Duology by Jodi Meadows

Posted July 3, 2016 by Rachel Lightwood in Reviews / 14 Comments

Copy of Rachel's Reading Updates Logo

If there’s anything I can give myself a pat on the back for this year, it’s definitely my ability to marathon all the series and just completely smash them out. It’s, umm, been a process getting to this stage. I’m somewhat infamous for not finishing series I adore. This year, I’ve just been working on it and it’s really paid off. I think all of the series I’ve started this year, I’ve managed to finish within the month – or least catch up to the sequel that needs to be published next. One of the series I managed to get to recently was Jodi Meadows’ The Orphan Queen duology. I’ve been wanting to get to this one for awhile now but I waited for The Mirror King to release so I could marathon them. This was actually my first experience with this author (I haven’t read her New Soul series yet), but it certainly will not be my last.


The Orphan Quen

This is going to be short and snappy. Why? Because I only have good things to say about this book. Well, as a whole. If I were to break it down a little more, I’m sure I could find some things to complain, but all together? I thought this was a treat! The characters were interesting. I liked getting to know Wil. She was smart and savvy, but also a little naive and driven to the point of obsession. I liked getting in her head to see how she was coping with coming face to face with her past. Maybe it’s because I’m currently watching Revenge, but this take back what’s our trope in epic fantasies is right up my alley ATM. The secondary characters were also developed perfectly. I love Tobiah (especially), but James made me laugh and Melanie was a great addition to the cast. I also loved that the writing was simultaneously elegant and breezy. While I usually prefer my epic fantasies to be more on the ‘wordy’ side, this time, the simplicity of the writing style worked for me. I did have some questions left unanswered about the magical system of this world, but the overall storyline was fast-paced and enthralling. They were a great blend of character-driven moments and action. The romance made me swoon. I didn’t think it was 100% necessary, and I hated that the complicated nature of the couple (you know what I mean if you’ve read this). My biggest problems were definitely the world-building and the breezy writing style. Going into more depth wouldn’t have hurt. I wanted to know more!

And that’s definitely why I picked up the sequel as soon as I could. I was so surprised to see this was only going to be a duology! Don’t get me wrong, I adore duologies (much more than trilogies or longer series), but they aren’t common for epic fantasies.


Copy of The Orphan Quen

Dammit. I honestly did not expect to dislike this book. I’m actually rather bummed out about it! The Orphan Queen was such an entertaining read. I fell in love with the characters, and I was so intrigued by the plotline. I truly though it had the potential to become something really amazing… but it didn’t hit that mark for me. At all. *pouts*

Reasons Why The Mirror King Was a Disappointing Finale:

1. The pacing was off. I liked that the story began right from the end of the previous book – though that may have been a little confusing for readers who had to wait the year for its release? It was definitely hooking and emotionally impacting… but after that, it was hard to get into. The plotline was messy and really just all over the place for at least the first 65% or so. The storyline was plodding. It just never seemed to have any momentum. It kind of just stagnating in this preparatory state, seemingly waiting for something exciting to happen to kickstart it… and that exciting thing didn’t happen until the 85% mark. The ending was undeniably action-packed and 100% more entertaining and engrossing than the rest of the book but it was too little, too late.

2. The ending was a non-ending! *growls with frustration* Open endings aren’t always bad, but they very rarely work in fantasies. They’re just too unsatisfying. We’ve invested a lot of time getting to know these characters and this world… and we barely get a resolution? Not fair! If the pacing had been better than there would have been more than enough time to wrap everything up. This ending just felt lazy – the author didn’t know how to solve the problem realistically, so she didn’t. Not. Cool.

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3. The unanswered questions and lack of world-building. This is kind of tied to the point above, but the I’m still so damn confused about this Wraith situation. We had a whole sequel to explore what the wraith and the wraith boy situation, but we didn’t get enough answers. I’m not sure what causes the Wraith or what it is exactly or… well, a lot of things. The wraith boy still confuses me, and so does the magic system. I don’t understand how someone can have magic (is it hereditary or not?) and how it works. I’m just not happy that we didn’t get the answers we needed!

4. The plot twists. While I admire that Jodi Meadows completely and utterly threw me with some of her plot twists, they didn’t always sit right with me. They felt kind of forced, convenient answers to the problems that the characters were facing. For example, View Spoiler ».

5. The romantic drama in the first half of the book. Look, I adore Tobiah and I like Wil but the drama? Ugh. I couldn’t deal with it. The cheating is still cheating – no matter the situation – and I didn’t care about it as much as I wanted to. I loved them together but their world was literally falling apart around them. I just wanted them to focus on solving the Wraith problem before sucking face.

6. Wil lost her spunk. I don’t know what happened but the strong-willed, kind-hearted protagonist we met in the first book lost her way in this sequel. She felt distant and cold from us readers. I didn’t understand her motivations. She felt kind of jumpy and inconsistent in her thinking. I just couldn’t relate to her.

With that being said, this book wasn’t all doom and gloom:

• Jodi Meadows completely shocked me at three points in this story (View Spoiler »)… and I mean completely shocked me. I love being surprised by books so that’s a massive double thumbs-up in my book.
• The romance made me smile in the second half of the story, once most of the drama had run its course. I’m not denying that it’s kind of cliched and sappy, but I just adore Tobiah too much to care. It’s nice seeing one thing in his life go right!
• Did I mention I like Tobiah? Yes? Well, I’m saying it again. I loved Tobiah!
• I’m still in love with this world and the concept of magic having such an ugly side. I don’t think I’ve read about a magical apocalypse like this before, and if had been executed better, it could have been incredible.
• The last 15% was truly captivating. The action was on point, the character really grew and it made me tear up. Too bad the actual ending was so disappointing…

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Overall, I don’t regret giving this series a go because I did really enjoy the first book. But there’s no denying that I wasn’t satisfied with this finale. I’m definitely going to be checking out Meadow’s other series though. She has fantastic ideas. I just hope her next/previous trilogies have better conclusions!


Let’s Chat!

Have you read this series before or the author’s previous series? I really want to read her New Soul series soon. It sounds kind of like The Host! And what do you think of duologies – good, bad, in between? Oh, and what do you think of the princess/prince trying to regain their kingdom through revenge-y stuff trope? Me? I’m loving it.
Rachel Lightwood

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14 responses to “{Rachel’s Reading Updates} The Orphan Queen Duology by Jodi Meadows

  1. Great reviews — I haven’t tried this series or anything by this author. I’m sorry that The Mirror King was disappointing! This doesn’t really sound like something I’d read but always a bummer to be disappointed by an ending like that

    • Thanks, Eva! <3 I'm sorry the finale was so disappointing too, especially after how good The Orphan Queen was. If you were more of a fantasy reader, I'd still recommended the first but since you're not, I don't think this will be the series I stress you give a shot. A good one to opt out of...

  2. Aww…it’s always disappointing when a sequel doesn’t live up to the first book. 🙁 I’m definitely going to have to give the first book a try though – it sounds so entertaining. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous reviews! <3

    • I know, right? It’s so devastating. You should still give the first book a go – it’s pretty good, IMO. The characters are great and the romance was on point and the plotline is interesting.

      And naww, thank you! You’re too sweet, Zoe. <3

  3. Nathan

    It’s too bad the second book was disappointing. It is great you have finished a series, I have started many and not yet, finished them. Open endings can work sometimes, like in L.J. Smith’s Night World series, but, not always. You do kind of want to know how the story actually ends.

    • Thanks, Nathan! I use to do that. All, The. Time! I never finished series and I still have so many books to catch up because of those old habits. I’m getting better now, though! And open ending and fantasies can work but it’s hard to do right, especially with such a short series. And I think this ending could have worked – maybe – if we’d gotten at least one more answer. We never know what the wraith is all about and that’s jus tfrustrating!

  4. I think reading and finishing series is such a great thing to do. I actually should really try that myself soon!! So sorry to see the second one was a disappointment. I agree open ending aren’t awful but hard to pull off in fantasy. Glad the first one was enjoyable though. Great reviews!

    • Thanks, Grace! <3 I love marathoning series! It makes you feel so much more accomplished once you've finished it. It's an entire series you can cross off your TBR then (or you might only have to wait for the next sequel’s release – and you still feel pretty on top of your TBR that way). I was really sorry the sequel was a disappointment too. I adore open endings in contemporaries but I’ve yet to see a truly great on pulled off in fantasy – they’re too risky!

  5. I really need to get on this series as well! I have heard some mixed reviews and I am a little bit hesitant because it is such a let down when the second book doesn’t live up to your expectations. I am very curious to find out if I enjoy this series and Jodi Meadows’ style. Thank you for the amazing non-spoilery review. I always find sequels hard to review. 🙂

    • Thanks, Olivia! Series/sequel can be hard to review but it has to be done. I’m glad you liked my style, though. *blushes*

      And I’d still recommend this series because the first book was so enjoyable. The sequel did have its moments and who knows, maybe it’ll be better for you? It does have a few mixed reviews but I think it’s definitely one to give a shot if it sounds like your sorta thing. Happy reading!

  6. I love the revenge and “get back my kingdom” trope. IT’S MY FAVOURITE TOO. I also loved the whole vigilante/Batman thing happening in the first book. <3 So I haven't read The Mirror King yet and I didn't read that part of your review…YET. I'll come back to it.😂 I did like TOQ though!! I thought it was a little cliche but nice and fun and exciting. :') SO GOOD TIMES.

    (And also good on you for finishing series!! *Cheers for you* I'm hopeless at it…hahaahh.)

    • I know, right? IT’S MY FAVOURITE TOO! I don’t even want to count how many books with that trope I’ve read this year… #noregrets. The vigilante thing was perfection in the first book. The cliches in the first book were balanced out by the good writing & character, IMO, and it was just such a good time – like you said. I, umm, wasn’t a fan of the second book so I hope you love it more than I did. You must let me know what you thought of it!

      And oh, *blushes* thanks so much for that! I’m notoriously terrible at finishing series too but this year I’ve just been doing so well. Go me! *pats myself on the back*

  7. Wow, what a complete 180 from the first book in the series Rach! It sounds like you really enjoyed that first book, with all the characters and all and Will sounds like a really spunky, smart character! But a shame that in the 2nd half of the book there were heaps of things that didn’t do it for you, in particular the open ending and the romantic drama – how frustrating! Lovely review Rach, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • It was, Jeann! It’s awesome when a sequel surpasses the first book and is even more awesome, but when the sequel is disappointing, it’s just crushing. In this case, it killed me because it was also the finale! Ugh! And Wil was amazing in the first book. She was spunky and feisty, but all the romantic drama in the second book just dragged it down.

      And thanks for the kind words, Jeann! <3

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