Series: Ravenspire #2
Published on February 14th 2017
by Balzer + Bray
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Also by this author: The Shadow Queen
An epic fantasy inspired by the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale, about a bastard princess who must take on an evil fae to save her brother’s soul, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Shadow Queen.
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 that 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 received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I have no idea how to start this review, honestly. This is the second sequel in a row that was very… meh to me. Great in some parts, but then not so much in others. Though, yes, this is more of a companion to The Shadow Queen (which I LOVED), it’s still second in a series and it disappointed me a bit. And that gives me the sad. So now I’m confused because one half of me wants to flail about the great parts… and the other half of me wants to sulk because of the lesser parts. The life of a reviewer is not easy, I’m telling you. So for this review, I’ll be using lists. Because lists are life.
What I Liked
♦ I loved the entire first half of this book. A LOT. It started out great with the prologue, then it kept my attention with great characters, great writing, great plot, great pacing,… Great everything basically. It was on its way to becoming a 5-star-read for sure.
♦ The first chapter started with our MC, Ari, baking and hating corsets. So naturally we connected instantly.
♦ There were glorious cameo’s! First Lorelai & Kol from The Shadow Queen, then a bit later none other than Hansel & Gretel showed up! Not gonna spoil anything about either of these pairs so just read it and be happy with me when they show up!
♦ I loved the writing. I love the dialogue and the narrative and the world-building and everything. There’s just something about this author’s writing that clicks with me and I love when that happens.
♦ THE CHARACTERS! I loved Ari and Thad and Sebastian and Cleo. I even loved the villain, Alistair Teague. He was a great villain and I loved his backstory. All of the characters are so well-developed and real and I adore them.
♦ ARI! She’s such a great MC. She’s resourceful, smart, witty, pro-active, stubborn, kind,… but also clumsy and she DOESN’T. HAVE. THE. PERFECT. FIGURE. And she LOVES FOOD. She’s SO relatable and I loved her.
♦ SEBASTIAN! (No not the crab from The Little Mermaid…) Sebastian is the new weapon’s master at the palace and he’s adorable and precious and fragile but also so badass and awesome and I just felt a very strong urge to protect him at all cost. And hug him. And wrap him in warm blankets.
♦ Alistair Teague is SUCH a good villain. He’s powerful and sneaky and evil and awful and dangerous. His backstory is ALL OF THE NOSTALGIA. Seriously. And I kept imagining the guy that plays Rumpelstiltskin in the TV-show Once Upon a Time as him and it fits perfectly honestly and I loved that.
♦ I loved the romance… in the first half of the book. It was sweet and slow and adorable and gave me all of the swoons.
♦ Sibling love! I loved the bond between Ari & Thad. Sibling bonds are life. Seriously. More great siblings in books, please?
What I Disliked
♦ I don’t know what happened, but the second half wasn’t nearly as good to me. I just… the story took a turn around the halfway point and it lost me a bit there. So this might be just me. I just wasn’t in it as much anymore for several reasons, which are spoilery so I’ll mention those in a moment.
♦ I also hated that there were quite a few side-characters hating on Ari because she was… not very skinny and had curves. That bothered me quite a bit and it wasn’t necessary in my eyes.
♦ The romance sped up a bit too much in the second half and it kind of lost me. But I still liked it?? Sort of??
♦ … View Spoiler »Around the halfway point Ari ends up at Teague’s house and it just lost me. The romance went too fast, there wasn’t much of the sibling love anymore, the ending was a bit too easy considering how bloody things got in that event in the halfway point and how cruel Cleo’s death was… Also what happened with Maarit?? She kind of… disappeared?? I think?? The second half just really didn’t work for me at all. Which is sad. « Hide Spoiler
So overal it was good, but I wanted it to be great. The first half was a lot better than the second half, in my eyes. This is just my opinion though and you should absolutely read it and form your own. There’s still lots to love in this book and I haven’t read many retellings of Rumpelstiltskin before and this is definitely a good one. So read it. And I hope you love it.