Title: The Queen of Ieflaria
Author: Effie Calvin
Publishing Date: February 19th 2018
Published by: Nine Star Press
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Princess Esofi of Rhodia and Crown Prince Albion of Ieflaria have been betrothed since they were children but have never met. At age seventeen, Esofi’s journey to Ieflaria is not for the wedding she always expected but instead to offer condolences on the death of her would-be husband.
But Ieflaria is desperately in need of help from Rhodia for their dragon problem, so Esofi is offered a new betrothal to Prince Albion’s younger sister, the new Crown Princess Adale. But Adale has no plans of taking the throne, leaving Esofi with more to battle than fire-breathing beasts.
The Queen of Ieflaria has two main characters, Eofi and Adale, who are complete opposites, but both of them manage to be complex, flawed and compelling characters. A big portion of this book is focused on developing their relationship from reluctantly liking each other to being friends to having romantic feelings. While their relationship is explored, the book maneges to show a bit of the world, how the kingdoms are divided, how things work in Ieflaria, the problems the kingdom is facing and how the magic system works. It’s not a super detailed description of these aspects, but it shows the basics.
In this book, the magic system is intimately related to gods, goddesses and the mythology that surrounds them. What we get to see a magic system that it’s interesting even if it’s similar to the magic system in other YA fantasy books. Nonetheless, there’s an elements that made this world and this magic system especial: the dragons. This is definitely not the first book in YA to have dragons, but this book does something a bit wacky in regards to the dragons right at the end, which is gonna play a bigger role in the rest of the series.
I did have a problem with this book because there are some elements in terms of worldbuilding and magic system that are fascinaring ideas, but that are never fully developed and are left in the air. Some of those elements I will not mention because they are spoilers, but one example is a secret cult that exist around one of the goddesses, which sounded like a fascinating addition to the story but it was never really explored. Also, there were several mentions of a tension between magic and science within this world, and it was a source of disagreement between the main characters, Eofi and Adele. That tension could have given more depth to the book and made it more thought provoking, but unfortunately it was never fully explored either. Even if we are left with these holes, I think in future books a lot of the aspects that were left unexplored are going to add very compelling elements to the story.
Now into the romance, which was my favorite part of this book. The romance in this book is a slow burn and a fantastic one at that, they have a bit of a rough start but it becomes obvious pretty fast that they good for each other and they complement each other really well. There were a lot of sweet moments between the main characters, Eofi and Adale, and the reader gets to see how they slowly build a friendship. Both characters had things to learn from the other and they managed to do that. Even when there’s some miscommunication between them, it’s resolved quickly.
Even if the exploration of the world, the characters and the relationships between them is really interesting, the set up for the story and the build up of the relationship between the two main characters lasted way too long. Around 70% of the book is set up and then all of the sudden, in the last part of the book, it feels like everything happens, all the action takes places and it does feel a bit rush. Nonetheless, the last 20% of this book hints at a very fascinating and unique story in the rest of the series.
Overall, this books has complex and compelling characters, an amazing romance and an interesting magic system. Nonetheless, it very much feels like a set up book for the rest of the series. There’s ideas and plot elements that are mentioned but left for later. Hopefully, all the set up pays off in the future books.
Rating: 3,8 stars
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