Winter Queen by Amber Argyle
Series: Fairy Queens #1
Published by Starling Publishing
Published on: June 19, 2013
Genres: Young Adult
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~Becoming a winter queen will make Ilyenna as cold and cruel and deadly as winter itself, but it might be the only way to save her people from a war they have no hope of winning.~
Mortally wounded during a raid, seventeen-year-old Ilyenna is healed by winter fairies who present her with a seductive offer: become one of them and share their power over winter. But that power comes with a price. If she accepts, she will become a force of nature, lose her humanity, and abandon her family.
Unwilling to pay such a high price, Ilyenna is enslaved by one of the invaders, Darrien. While in captivity, she learns the attack wasn’t just a simple raid but part of a larger plot to overthrow her entire nation.
With the enemy stealing over the mountains and Darrien coming to take her to his bed, Ilyenna must decide whether to resurrect the power the fairies left behind. Doing so will allow her to defeat Darrien and the other invaders, but if she embraces winter, she will lose herself to that destroying power—forever.
Amber Argyle has solidified herself on my must-read list. The covers on her books, are my absolute favourite – they are so beautiful. Her Witch Song books are unique and well written and I’m happy to report, such is the case with Winter Queen. Argyle is remarkable at balancing character development and a moving plot. It’s a story about fairies and barbarians and all of the magic in between. The world she creates is not just believable but it’s filled with unique places and characters. Her heroine’s are fierce; they’re strong and they endure A LOT.
Ilyenna is no exception. The Shyle clan mistress risks her life, time and time again for her people. Upon Ilyenna’s refusal to become Winter Queen (and sacrafice her humanity and her clan in the process) she’s taken by Darrien, the son of the enemy clan and all hell breaks loose. Ilyenna demonstrates to the reader that she is worthy of being her clan’s mistress. She is treated deplorably while enslaved to the villain of the book, Darrien . There is nothing redeemable about the enemy in this book. They are evil to the core.
The teen girl in me needs a little angst and first love action, something Argyle did so well in Witch Song. So, yes, there is a little romance but it’s subtle and slow paced, which I find refreshing and mature. I believed every interaction between Ilyenna and Rone, even the acutely annoying “no-clue he really loves me” bits. I anticipate that book 2 will further develop Ilyenna and Rone’s story. There is a twist, which for spoiler reasons I wont’ get into, but when an author can surprise me and take a predictable story in a different direction, completely changing the outcome I had expected, I applaud them.
Winter Queen has all of the elements I look for in YA. A loyal, unwavering female protaganist. Fantasy and action. The magic and touch of fairy mythology in this book is unique and worth reading. A darker and more mature feel in Winter Queen proves this to be another series I’ll be following. Correction: if Amber Argyle’s name is on it, I’m reading it.