Release Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
An epic, romantic, and action-packed fantasy inspired by the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, about a bastard princess who must take on an evil fae to save her brother’s soul, from C. J. Redwine, the New York Times bestselling author of The Shadow Queen. Perfect for fans of Graceling and the Lunar Chronicles.
The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of Súndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop.
Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.
So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.
But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul.
I wasn't sure I would like this book because of it being based around Rumpelstiltskin; I've never been a fan of him or his story. However, I gave this book a shot anyway because of how much I loved the first book, The Shadow Queen. I'm glad I gave it a try because this book was so enjoyable.
I had a hard time in the beginning; I don't like reading from the villains point of view. Give me dual pov's of the two main characters and consider me a happy reader. Add the villain in the mix and I just get annoyed. While I wanted to skip Teague's chapters, I'm glad I didn't. He actually became fascinating the more I read but of course, because I'm a sucker for romance, really all I wanted to see was the growth of Sebastian and Arianna's relationship. Well, that's a lie; it's not ALL I wanted. I loved the story and I felt as hopeless as the characters. I was having a really hard time seeing how there could possibly be a somewhat happy ending to this story. Just when you think they have the upper hand they come across a roadblock. So many times, I felt gutted.
I feel like I really like all the characters in this story except for Sebastian's parents. His father is a . . . well, what I want to call him really isn't appropriate but he's the worst. I think I hate him more than Teague and he's our villain - so use your imagination on words I'd use to describe this man. I loathe his mom for being so weak. I know, that might make me sound like such a shitty person but she just stood by and let her children suffer. It was more than suffering. How can anyone just stand by and see this happen? I just don't get it.
Do you know who else I felt sorry for? Arianna's twin brother, Thad (which, by the way, I LOVE this name). We've all been desperate enough to wish for something so badly that we'd give up just about anything. That's what he did. He sacrificed himself and he's due to pay a terrible price for one thing. Love, it makes you do crazy, desperate things and this young man did just that. I admire him so so soooo much.
This is a retelling I don't think you'll want to miss. The world building is fantastic, the story is enticing and the characters are addicting and realistic. And did I mention, there's a short bit with certain characters from the first book?! It's from afar but they're there!
Thank you so much to Harper Collins for allowing me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.