Royal Destiny by Morgan Howell

royal destiny coverDar has received Fathma  and become queen of the orcs, gaining the memories and thoughts of all the orc queens before her. She has survived attack by her most vicious enemy, and has established a peace between the humans and her orcs. Despite all this, things are still not going Dar’s way. Though Dar is now queen, Kovok-mah’s muthuri will still not allow him to marry Dar, despite their obvious love for each other. Additionally, not all the other mothers–leaders of the orc tribes–believe Dar makes a good queen. In fact, many of them are still plotting her demise. Meanwhile, strange things are happening in the human city of Taiben which threaten the peace between the humans and orcs, another challenge Dar must face all while learning to be an orc queen.

Royal Destiny is the conclusion to Morgan Howell’s Queen of the Orcs Trilogy. This novel was interesting in that it was told from multiple points of view, including Dar’s enemies. Previous books were told almost exclusively from Dar’s POV, with short asides told by other characters. I thought it was a little unusual to know the thoughts and plans of characters on both sides of the conflict, but it didn’t effect how I understood or enjoyed the story. I also liked seeing a little more of the human half of this world, including Sevren, who I really liked, which we really only had a taste of in the first two books. Dar was faced with some difficult decisions and situations in this book. She had to rely on the help of her adopted sister and other orcs she could trust. It was good to see a strong woman accepting help and making informed decisions, even if she did sometimes decide with her “chest,” or heart, instead of her head.

The ending of this book, and the entire trilogy, was very sad. I surprised myself by being emotionally invested enough in this series to almost be moved to tears at the end. I can see why Morgan Howell chose to end the trilogy the way she did, but it was still depressing. I don’t want to give away any more than that, just be prepared! Despite the sad ending, I still recommend this series to those who like fantasy novels and strong leading female characters.

Happy reading,

-Branwen

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