The Queen of Blood: Book One of the Queens of Renthia, by Sarah Beth Durst (Voyager, 9/20/16, $19.99, 9780062413345)
Elemental spirits and humans clash for survival in Sarah Beth Durst's novel Queen of Blood. In this epic tale, Daleina is a young girl with some ability to command the destructive spirits that populate her world, but she is by no means the strongest. Plagued by doubt and a lack of confidence, Dalenia must confront her shortcomings and save the realm from a devastating betrayal. Chock-full of strong independent female characters, this novel had me hooked! Finally, a great fantasy with dynamic and realistic female protagonists.— Kelli O'Malley
A Tor.com Best of 2016 pick
Set in the magical world of Renthia, The Queen of Blood is Sarah Beth Durst's ambitious entry into adult epic fantasy. With the danger of Peter Brett's The Warded Man, heart of Naomi Novik's Uprooted, and lyricism of Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind, this is the first chapter in a series destined to be a classic.
Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .
But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.
With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits' restlessness--a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it's bathed in blood.