Navette lives a peaceful life in her home of Osala, managing a bakery that was passed down to her and her elder sister. The night of the spring festival of Emystre arrives, and the village is laid to ruin when ancient creatures—the skáiga—come in search of the Queensdaughter. Navette flees to the capital, where she discovers her fate as the heir to the throne and a world far more vast than she had ever imagined.
This story follows Navette as she learns how to become a queen, control her innate magic, and battle the darkness that threatens her entire world. Meanwhile, her sister Ivy remains in Osala as the people try to rebuild a village from ruin, even as the darkness returns.
In the lands of Varyn, not all is as it seems. The trees begin to whisper of danger, the dragons of old are little more than legends, and even queens have their secrets. Love and companionship are more valued than ever as Varyn begins to sink into darkness, but even after the darkest of nights, not all is lost.
Queensdaughter is Amanda Ylva’s debut novel, and the first installment in the author’s The Queensdaughter Trilogy. The book follows two sisters after they are attacked by evil creatures called the skaiga. Their home destroyed, each sister must choose her path wisely.
I went back and forth a lot on where to rate this book. Looking at all the story elements, I landed on a rating of 6/10, which in my mind is an average book. After taking everything into account, I feel this rating is pretty accurate.
Queensdaughter is definitely a character-driven novel. There is a hard focus on Navette and Ivy pulling the story along, and I think this was my favorite part of the book. Each sister has her own narrative, each with its own conflict to solve. Navette has been deemed heir to the throne and struggles with this newfound knowledge and the trappings that come along with it. Trying to do what she can to help Varyn win the war against the skaiga and not knowing who she can trust, Navette is torn. Ivy, on the other hand, is trying to rebuild their village with the help of the survivors. Though she is not in the captial, Ivy has her own local politics to deal with, not to mention skaiga of her own. This is where the main suspense in the book comes from, and is the best part of the story in my opinion.
There were a few aspects of the book that did not do it for me, starting with the character decisions. All along the way I found myself questioning the plot points that put the characters in their respective places. Navette and Ivy never really challenge what is happening. Someone just says, “Navette, you are the Queensdaughter. Come with me.” And she goes, all the while missing her sister and the woman she loves. But, again, does not really do much to get back to them. Ivy is kind of the same: she just goes along with everything without critical thinking. I thought there needed to be more compelling reasons for them to roll with what was happening.
I also found the dialogue to be lacking in believability. I am on record as saying dialogue is the hardest part of a book to write, so I try not to be too critical of it. With this book, it was difficult to read without the dialogue pulling me out of the story, so I feel as thought it deserves a mention.
In contrast, I really did like the tone of the book. I am not sure if this is what Ylva was going for, but the writing gave me fairy tale vibes. An unexpected royal of destiny, whisked away to the palace. Separated from her family, each fighting evil on their own fronts. I like the inflection this aspect adds to the book. I really like the cover, too. Simple and elegant – really eye-catching.
I liked Queensdaughter enough. It has its flaws, and I cannot give it a blanket recommendation. But, I can say if you are looking for something character-driven and are a fan of fairy tales, it is worth checking out.