Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery
Publication Date: February 21, 2017
Synopsis: 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.
I went into this book with somewhat low expectations for a couple reasons: 1) the average rating for the book on Goodreads was quite low and 2) a lot of my Goodreads friends had rated it somewhere between 1 and 3 stars. While 3 stars isn’t a bad rating necessarily, I still went into the book feeling skeptical because of the 1 and 2 star ratings. Fortunately, I really enjoyed this book and I think going in with low expectations was actually a good thing!
This fantasy standalone had a huge emphasis on science and politics, as well as a mystery aspect. I was always interested while reading this book and was thankfully never bored. One thing I especially loved was that the main character, Freya, had anxiety. A main character with such clear anxiety is almost unheard of in fantasy books. I don’t think I’ve ever read a non-contemporary book where the main character had anxiety! I’ve always wanted a book featuring an anxious main character, especially in my favorite genre of fantasy, because I myself have an anxiety disorder. It was SO great seeing that in this book! I was so proud of Freya for pushing through her anxiety and doing what needed to be done to save not only herself, but the ones she loved and her kingdom as well. It really gave me hope and a bit of inspiration too since I’ve been really struggling with my anxiety lately. I mean, if Freya can handle being queen while multiple people want to kill her, I can handle pretty much anything, right?
Okay, so let’s back things up a bit and talk about the main plot of this book. Our main character, Freya, is distantly related to the current king of her kingdom and she is twenty third in line for the throne. Freya never expected to rule so she instead focused her time on doing scientific experiments and hanging out with her adorable cat and her best friend, Naomi. Freya always dreamed of one day leaving her kingdom for the Continent to become a scientist. Those dreams unfortunately came to a drastic halt. On the night of the king’s birthday feast, Freya and Naomi leave the palace early because Freya had a great idea for an invention she had been working on. In the early hours of the morning, Freya’s dad rushes home with palace guards looking for Freya and fearing she is not alive. At the feast, hundreds of people – including the king, queen, and the 22 people that came before Freya in the line of succession – were murdered. All of a sudden Freya is now queen and has to figure out 1) who poisoned all those people and why, 2) how to be queen, and 3) how to stay alive.
In some reviews I’ve read, people don’t think this plot was executed as well as it could have been, but I really don’t agree with that. It was so interesting following Freya around and trying to figure out the mystery of who the murderer was while at the same time, rooting for Freya to be a great queen. In my opinion, the book also wasn’t predictable at all! I had many guesses as to who could have poisoned all those people and I was constantly being proven wrong. It was quite a shock to me when we figured out who the murderer was and I loved all the suspense throughout the book! In addition to the plot, I really loved the characters as well. I especially loved Freya – she was smart, kind, and an all-around good person. The side characters Naomi, Fitzroy, and Madeleine were great as well!
The one thing this book lacked a bit of was world-building. I think this is a crucial element in a fantasy novel and unfortunately, Long May She Reign didn’t completely deliver in this aspect. I know you can only do so much in a standalone novel, but I wish this world would have been a bit more fleshed out.
Bottom Line: If you enjoy fantasy books with an awesome main character, an interesting plot, and some science and political intrigue, I would definitely recommend you pick up Long May She Reign as soon as you can!