2014 has been a great book year for me! I exceeded my goal of 100 books, finishing out the year with either 106 or 107 books read (I'm still reading one so I may or may not finish it before midnight tonight). I fully expect my rate to be higher next year, as I have to read 60+ books for school by April alone. I'm really happy because the quality of books that I've read this year has been great, too! I've encountered my share of duds, but overall, this has been a really great book year for me.
This book was crippled from the start. You know why? Just look at the title: The Queen's Choice. Obviously, a queen in the book has to make a very important decision, right? So if that decision is to, say, appoint the only qualified member of the royal family as an heir, and the new heir decides she would rather flee the kingdom and try to find her long-lost cousin who hasn't been seen in years, is most likely dead, would refuse to accept the throne even if he was found, and also may have cut off his wings (which apparently are the only things that make the Fae magical???) so that he literally cannot enter the Fae Realm ever again, that makes it a bit hard to like the book if this disgustingly selfish and stupid new heir is the main character, doesn't it? Because I found it impossible to side with that despicable MC ever again, and her whining about having her wings cut off by humans fell on deaf ears because she is the idiot who crossed into human territory, with her wings visible to them, just so that she could be free of the responsibilities of being the heir.
Anya, the MC, has every right to be my least favorite character, but she is topped by just one person: her new best friend, Shea. The only reason these two girls don't have green skin and pointy hats or ride around on broomsticks is that they're so much more evil and loathsome than the classic witches who boil people alive and eat them for dinner that the poor black-robed old witches refused to be associated with them. Here are a few reasons why:
1) Anya is constantly looking at or thinking about her younger cousin, Ilumina, and pitying her, fearing her, or even being disgusted with her because she's different, while Ilumina is always treating her like treasured family. At one point, Anya even acknowledges that she would be relieved if Ilumina conveniently died. Seriously, how are you supposed so sympathize with a character who treats her family like that?
2) Shea decides to leave her parents and her little sisters who rely on her just so that she can see the world and meet some people her age, even though any member of her family will be imprisoned if the guards find them, including her.
3) Anya takes Shea with her despite the fact that Shea's father begged her not to, and then proceeded to think of Shea as a burden whenever she needed someone to blame for. . . pretty much everything.
4) After Anya and Shea are both imprisoned, they narrowly manage to escape. . . and Shea promptly starts cheating at dice in front of a bunch of nobles who can turn her in. . . and then Shea starts snapping at Anya for warning her to be more careful.
5) When they finally, finally manage to find Anya's long-lost cousin, Zabriel, Shea starts kicking him and yelling at him and generally being witchy and cross. Anya follows up by spending the rest of his scenes whining about how much he's changed, and trying to force him to go back the the Fae Realm to be king (when she, the hypocrite, fled from being heir to the throne just a few weeks ago).
6) Shea and Anya both seem to hate everyone who (whether they know it or not) is affiliated with Zabriel, even though all of them are obviously the best characters in the book. Honestly, it seems like Shea and Anya are both just jealous that Zabriel and his gang are sooooo much cooler than they are, and decided to take it out on them rather than striving to be better themselves.
7) At the end of the book Shea, predictably, betrays everyone mwahahaha to pay off her family's debt to the Governor by giving Zabriel to the main villain on a silver platter, and thus reveals that she really is a villain. She then cried. . . and cried. . . and cried. . . and cried some more, before, still crying, she leaves Anya with tears in her eyes.
8) Anya, knowing that Shea had betrayed them, lied to her allies and convinced them that Shea was innocent, and then helped Shea escape before anyone changed their minds. So much for all her preaching about caring for Zabriel and the Fae, because apparently she would rather help a traitor she says she'll never forgive than either punish her or leave her to her own devices.
The list goes on, but it would take up way too much space for me to write it all down.
Other than the two main girls and Zabriel's gang, every character in the book is either a bland white knight, a bland villain, or (this one's nice) the most useless/pitiful character ever created.
Amazingly, Zabriel's gang is fairly cool, and Zabriel himself is awesome. They are the only good things in the book beyond the first twenty or so pages, which were okay, and they are the only reason the book merits half a star.
Finally, I would like to warn any fairy-loving readers that this book is not a fairy book. Only the very beginning is about fairies, and the rest of it is about Anya not being a fairy anymore, and being stuck in the human world, with her human friend. And, naturally, evil humans are the villains--because they're not cliché or anything.
I'm starting to really hate Shea. She and Anya just escaped from prison, and she decided at the first opportunity to risk being caught by cheating at dice around a bunch of noblemen, and ignored and even got irritable with Anya when she told her to be more careful--and then, once they finally find the person they've spent the entire book looking for, she decided to kick him as hard as she could. . . and then snap and snarl at him just because he's obviously the best character in the book. Is she trying to make sure their quest fails? Because it really, really seems like it.
Also, Zabriel is probably the only person in this book that I like, and it took him 350 pages to show up. *facepalm*
I've been looking forward to this book for a long time, and finally got it. . . only to be completely disgusted with the main character in the first 50 pages.
I mean, how stupid and selfish can she be? I'm convinced she's trying to break a record for the most selfish character ever (and she only fails because there are, unfortunately, some characters out there whose only personality is that they're selfish).
She has two choices: accept the crown in place of her either one of her two cousins who can't handle it, or refuse and try to force the better of them onto the throne--when no one has even seen or heard from him in ages, and he is quite possibly dead by now. Which does she choose? The latter. UGH!
Also, her narrative is almost exactly the same as Alera's from Legacy. *sigh* And she's also another princess heir who refuses to just go along with what the current ruler thinks is best for their people. *SIGH*
On the bright side, the Fae's powers are awesome and the writing is beautiful, so yay! It's not all bad, I guess.