Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.
But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found. Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.
Elli's world grabbed me immediately when I read the synopsis. A world where there is a Valtia who has the power of ice and fire and also able to balance it, surrounded by Priests who are powerful in either one of these powers, as well as a Saadella who is the next in line to the Valtia. All Saadellas (and in turn Valtias) are distinguished by a birth mark. That is why Elli is currently the Saadella. Not only that, but her birth and existence was told through a prophecy. She will be the strongest Valtia in the history of mankind. Unfortunately once the Valtia dies, Elli's power don't come and she must escape.
All of this was told in the synopsis, but unfortunately it took around 80 pages of the book to catch us up to the synopsis. I dislike it when a synopsis tells too much, and I am left reading and reading and reading things I already knew will happen. However once I passed that 80 pages, and Elli became on the run.. that's when things got interesting for me. I think The Impostor Queen is gruesome and graphic at times in terms of the horrific acts Elli had to go through. I was grimacing and wincing reading about her struggles, it was harsh, but I think it suited the flow of the book.
Elli herself is a very naive but likeable character. Initially she was a bit too sheltered, living her life like a princess, but the tides were turned 180 degrees and she became a prisoner in her own tower, but she ended up running away... that's when she had to grow up.. really fast. I liked the survival aspect of the book, especially her meeting the outcasts and people with powers who aren't contained in the priesthood. The world building was done very well, that I have no complaint about. However the pacing of the novel suffered from being super slow, to quite exciting, so sluggish to a sudden showdown.
I would definitely pick up the sequel if I had the chance. I am very interested in the direction of the story and what will happen to Elli as well as the kingdom and the structure that crumbled at the end of the book.