The Exiled Queen follows Han Allistair and Princess Raisa as they spend the year in the academy in Oden’s Ford. Han Allistair, together with his friend Dances With Fire, goes to learn how to use his magic. They are joined by Han’s old friend Cat, who swears fealty to Han and goes to the music school there. Things aren’t easy for Han because the Bayars want to get back at him for stealing their amulet, the principal wants him to be party to overthrowing the Wizard’s Guild, and a mysterious man named Crow wants to teach him magic with a more sinister plan in mind. Meanwhile, Raisa, along with her personal guard and childhood friend Amon, attends the soldier school where she intends to get an education that will prepare her to rule. She must keep her identity and presence secret, which would be easier if the Bayars and Han weren’t in the area too.
Sometimes Raisa’s boy-crazy behavior makes her a little hard for me to relate too. Not that I doubt it is a real representation of a teenage girl, but it’s just not how any of my friends and I were at that age. Mostly, I found her inability to settle on just one person and her inability to control herself mostly annoying.
Han was not above some terrible decisions of his own, though he seemed to have a little bit less of a choice in the matter since everyone else was desperate to control him. He got caught between so many different people that it was hard to tell how much of his life he had control over. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of his struggles were the Bayar twins themselves, as it seems that Fiona, despite being part of the same family, does not share the same goal. Or at least, not quite. She’s as power hungry as the rest, but she doesn’t see why her brother should be the one to rule instead of herself.
There is so much scheming going on that you can’t help but wonder how the kingdom hasn’t collapsed already. There is hope though. As bad as Raisa’s decisions sometimes seem to be, it is clear that she intends to be and will be a strong queen. If she can avoid getting herself taken by Micah. I can’t help but wonder what her mother is thinking in all this, if she has been bewitched or just beguiled. How much of this is her conscious involvement and how much of it is magic? Can Raisa trust her mother? (And until she’s sure she can, why would she go to the queen?)