The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
"When Princess Wilhelmina was a child, the Indigo Kingdom invaded her homeland. Ten years later, Wil and the other noble children who escaped are ready to fight back and reclaim Wil's throne. To do so, Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate the Indigo Kingdom palace with hopes of gathering information that will help them succeed.
But Wil has a secret—one that could change everything. Although magic has been illegal for a century, she knows her ability could help her save her kingdom. But magic creates wraith, and the deadly stuff is moving closer and destroying the land. And if the vigilante Black Knife catches her using magic, she may disappear like all the others. . . ."- summary from Amazon
I absolutely loved Meadows' Incarnate trilogy and was excited to start a new series from her. This is the first book in a duology (with the sequel out next year) and it is simply fantastic. The world building in this book is done so well and it's easy to get a sense of how this world operates. Wil was an amazing main character- empathetic, witty, strong-willed, and strong in body. Tobiah's character was interesting too as Wil gets to know him in court, but the one who I really enjoyed was James (and not just because he shares my name), his right-hand man. James is loyal, smart, and very hilarious, which provided for some light moments throughout the book. Wil's relationship with the Osprey leader Patrick is handled very well and slowly unravels throughout the rest of the book, becoming more and more unstable.
I will warn you all though that the ending may make you want to throw the book across the room, only because of the huge cliffhanger at the end. I am so eager to get my hands on the sequel and find out what happens next!!
Overall, another winner from Meadows and I highly recommend it, even with the crazy cliffhanger. Don't worry, there's a support group.
FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.