Rhiannon Thomas's Long May She Reign should not be confused with the final book in Ellen Emerson White's President's Daughter series. I read that Long May She Reign years ago, and it was a really excellent book about the aftermath of things. That whole series is fascinating in the way it's structured and how different the books are, but that is NOT the topic of this post.
The topic of this post is this book:
This is a YA fantasy about an awkward nerd girl (she's a chemist who gets panic attacks when called upon to speak in public) who, when hundreds of nobles are poisoned, finds herself queen of a country in pretty rough shape. She has to cement her hold on the throne and solve the murders at the same time--a classic Power Thrust Upon Her scenario.
This is one of those books that skews just a little young for me; the thing about YA is that they market so many books that way that it's not as useful as I wish it was as a category. The story is interesting and the book is good; I feel like it's missing some of the political complexity that could have made it greater.
But it had its own kinds of complexity that I really admired. People with good intentions do bad things, and people with bad intentions do good things. The bad guys are given interiority, at least in the end--even the off-page ones. Mourning is a big part of this book, especially mourning people you have a complicated relationship with. It's maybe not quite deep enough for me, but it's refreshing anyway.
This book is really the same story as The Goblin Emperor in many respects--it's a very YA version of that incredible novel. Freya here is less centered than Maia is in that book, but the problems she faces are the same. Freya spends a lot of time telling herself to think and very little time acting, though, which I never really understood as a new ruler. Grab hold of things--someone's got to take charge!
Maybe that says more about me than her.