PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray
DATE PUBLISHED: 14th February 2017
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.
A blend of Beauty and the Beast and Rumplestiltskin was not what I was expecting but it worked so well. This companion novel of The Shadow Queen is in the same world, just a kingdom over. The world is stunning and I loved seeing a new element of it in this book.
Teague as a character was malicious, cruel and vengeful and this made it extremely easy for me to hate him. He is the magical fae crime boss who uses any means to get his own way and increase his riches. There was even a scene with golden straw that had me both cringing at the brutality and smiling at the reference to the original tale.
Princess Ari is the bastard daughter of the deceased King and her brother Thad has taken the throne. Little did Ari know that Thad made a bargain with The Wish Granter (Teague) to become King. Now Teague is threatening her brother and Ari will stop at nothing to protect her brother. Ari has a love of family and food. She is strong-willed and fiercely loyal. This made her my favourite character in this book. She is a plus-sized princess who is comfortable being herself and protecting those she loves.
A special mention goes out to Sebastian who falls for Ari as he teaches her to fight and helps when she is taken hostage by Teague. The interactions of these two characters left me shipping them so hard.
This is an amazing fairytale retelling. I was on board when I heard this was a Rumplestiltskin retelling and I was so thankful I read this. It was excellent and I loved the characters, the world, absolutely everything about this book!
Keep Calm and Read On,