The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst: Tree Cities, Badass Women, & Nature Spirits | Book Review

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

The Queen of Blood, first book in a new fantasy series released in 2016, is the most charming tale about bloodthirsty nature spirits you will ever read. Really.

The world of Renthia is inhabited by nature spirits of all the elements, soil, air, fire, tree, rock, water...ect.

They operate on their own innate and ancient instinct: Create and Destroy. The humans in this world are only in their way.  A flea on their back that has risen up to control them.  

If allowed the nature spirits would wipe out humanity completely. However, it has been discovered that the only thing they crave more than chaos is control.

For that reason, the spirits pledge themselves to one human.  A queen, for her lifetime.  She alone has the power to control and direct their fury. Using their awesome ability to shape the natural world so that it is more comfortable for humans.

Or at least, that's how it should be. But as of late, villages have been attacked.


In the treetop villages, and the capital city of Aratay, life is quite literally lived on the edge.

At any moment a rogue nature spirit could get too close--rip you apart, or you could always fall to your death.  And yet, the scenery can't help but sound fantastically beautiful.

The atmosphere in this book is like one part Little Witch Academia (anime), one part The Wheel of Time (classic fantasy series), and one part asking yourself "Did this project start out as Aragorn fan fiction?" (Lord of the Rings)

On the one hand it tells the story of a small town girl, Dalenia, setting her sights on becoming the next Queen after tragedy strikes her village. She has many obstacles in her way including obscurity and a severe lack of power.

The innate power it takes to become Queen does not reside within all women, and while Dalenia was able to protect her own family from the attack, if she were a true user, she could have protected her entire village.

Her entrance ceremony into the school reads like a trial from the Triwizard Tournament -- and the academy she seeks entrance to is in the heart of an enormous tree.

Are you seeing it?  Are you feeling the wonderful atmosphere?  World building is certainly this novel's strongest attribute.

On the other hand it tells the story of a Queen going too far to hide her failures. Willing to risk it all & even make an enemy of the man she loves, Champion Ven.

These dueling plots clash & combine throughout the novel.  Most of the tension arising within us as the reader because we know more than the characters.

I was pleasantly surprised that this book was not inundated by training montages. As each student must partner with a master Champion for training.  

Training montages would have been the obvious & boring choice.

Instead the time spent at the academy is made more dynamic by showing Dalenia's talent for problem solving, and the friendships she builds among the other girls.

Its also a good place to gather more intel on whats really going on.  

Then adventure takes over as the plot takes us into the wider world among the trees, zip lining & fighting rogue spirits.

I actually expected more romance from this book than I got. The romance we do get is much more in the style of character development, than it is a part of the plot.  

And while it was brutally bloody, with a high character death toll, the story remains hopeful & this savage world hauntingly beautiful. 

In Conclusion:


Genre: Fantasy, Female Protagonist 

Length: 390 pages

Plans to Continue? Yes. I have the sequel, The Reluctant Queen, sitting on my shelves

What This Story has to Offer You

  • Treetop villages

  • Female warriors

  • Magic school

  • Conspiracy

  • Death

  • Family to protect

  • Disability

  • Complicated love

  • Exiled hero

  • Ruthless queen

Have you read The Queen of Blood?  Tell me your thoughts!

Thanks for reading,


Photo taken by me

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