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“It’s so much easier to have a conversation with you when you’re not having vapors every five minutes!” Jilly. –The Queen’s Secret
The Queen’s Secret
The Rose Legacy #2
by Jessica Day George
Strong Female Character
Horses have been banned in the country for centuries, and most people believe that horses were carriers of disease. Anthea and her family know the truth—horses are majestic creatures who can share their thoughts with people through the Way. The queen wants to reintroduce horses into the kingdom, but the king has demanded that horses and riders with the Way follow his every command.
When a deadly plague breaks out, people believe that horses are the cause. People’s fear of horses rises as more fall ill and the death toll increases. Anthea and her friends are asked to transport a lifesaving vaccine, but the people fear the medicine that can save their lives. To complicate matters, Anthea learns the queen’s secret—but will revealing the queen’s secret help or hurt their cause?
The second installment of The Rose Legacy series continues to focus on Anthea, who is an extremely likable and strong protagonist. The story introduces a group of all-female scientists that are struggling to understand the disease that is rapidly infecting people. Although the scientists discover a vaccine, the discovery comes because of a chance encounter instead of through their hard work and research. In the end, the story shows women in a variety of roles—the queen, mothers, young girls, and a villain.
Much of the plot revolves around the spread of the disease and people’s fear of both horses and vaccines. Although the plot takes an unexpected direction, the story is fast-paced, interesting, and enjoyable. The story highlights the dangers of allowing fear and misconceptions to overtake reason. Readers will appreciate seeing girls take action and face danger in order to help, even when others doubt their ability. Readers will be eager to read the next book in the series to find out why the villain has kidnapped horses and why the villain seems eager to start a war.
The Queen’s Secret is full of conspiracy theories and intrigue, but what makes the story even more enjoyable is the relationship between horses and their riders, as well as the friendships that Anthea makes. Jessica Day George creates a unique world that builds suspense without graphic violence, romance, or using cliché characters. Anyone who wants to read an engaging horse-related adventure should pick up the Rose Legacy series.
- Finn grabs Anthea’s “gloved hands. . . Now both of their faces were red, but it was not from the cold. . . Greatly daring, Anthea leaned forward and gave him a peck on the cheek, then pulled her hand away.”
- After not hearing from Finn, Anthea finds him and, “she wasn’t even embarrassed to hug him tightly and kiss his cheek. Then she pushed herself away just as he tried to hug her.”
- Jilly gives an account of her relatives. One relative’s “second wife ran away with a blacksmith.”
- The queen tells others about an incident with the Kronenhofers. When two Kronenhofer ships entered the river, the Knonenhofer’s refused to answer guards who “hailed the ship to ask their intent. But the guards didn’t get an answer. Instead, the ship went into battle mode. . . The garrison disabled the Kronenhofer ship. One of them sank, and the other burned almost to the waterline, and there were only a handful of survivors.”
- An injured man shows up at the farm, and “Anthea nearly fainted at the sight of the flesh underneath: bruised, bloodied, and with a large round hole that seeped more blood with every one of the major’s breaths. The blood looked dark and thick. . .” The man survives.
- Men shoot at Anthea and two other girls, but they are able to escape unharmed.
- A strange vehicle enters a village and attacks. “The man was destroyed. The front was simply gone. A gaping hole had been blasted in the beautiful stone façade, and there were flames pouring out of it. . .” During the attack, a princess and some horses were kidnapped.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Sometimes smugglers bring in alcohol. “There are Coronami who enjoy Leanan ale. . . And many Leanans prefer the Coronami wines to their own ale.”
- Anthea says, “Liquor really is the root of all evil, as Miss Miniver said.”
- An injured man is given an injection. “Morphine probably.”
- Anthea is given a glass, “and she tossed back the water like it was whisky and slammed the glass down for emphasis.”
- Anthea calls a horse a “big idiot.”
- People who have “the Way” can communicate with horses and feel the horse’s emotions.
- A village is surrounded by stones that guard the place and helps it stay hidden. People and horses are not able to use the Way to communicate with others outside the village.