The Reluctant Queen, the second book in The Queens of Renthia series, was released this past July. It begins shortly after Daleina’s crowning as Queen of Aratay, a woodland realm where queens control chaotic and often malicious and murderous, elemental spirits. Daleina hasn't been queen for long when things begin to fall apart. The spirits run out of her control and she finds she is terminally ill with the 'False Death.' Champions search in secret for candidates to heirdom, heirs being in short supply after the massacre in the last book. Naelin is the most promising and the most reluctant.
CS Peterson: For me, Naelin is the best thing about the book. She is a 30-something female protagonist, dealing with issues that so many 30-something moms deal with, and then she is thrust into the middle of a fantasy adventure tale. The Reluctant Queen is worth reading for that reason alone. I’m having trouble thinking of any other fantasy stories with a mature female protagonist. Usually, when the young, available gal marries, she disappears from the stage until she’s an old woman waiting around like Obi-Wan Kenobi to give advice to the heroes as they go off to storm the castle. Or if she is older, she’s unattached, a la the Black Widow. Some of my favorite moments in the book come when Venn or Queen Daleina demand something of Naelin that a young candidate from, say, the Northeast Academy, would simply accept as an assigned challenge, and Naelin flat out says no. Naelin takes her kiddos by the hand, calls the authorities out on their ridiculous manipulative behavior and walks away. The difference between Elastagirl and Naelin is Elastagirl knows all about her superpowers and how to control them. Naelin is afraid of her powers, in a kind of denial.