Series: Ravenspire #2
Published by Balzer + Bray on February 14th 2017
Source: Publisher, Edelweiss
Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
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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.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the first book to this series of interconnected books, The Shadow Queen, I adored this one even more! You don’t see many retellings of Rumpelstiltskin, and Redwine really adds great dimension and twists to the characters and plot, making for an exciting read despite the familiar story. I’ve been loving this series, and really can’t wait to see what the author has in store for the next books in this world.
We start out with the mystical Wish Granter, a small name called Alistair Teague, talking about his contempt towards humans. He manipulates Thad, the bastard boy of the king of Sundraille, into wishing to become king in order to save his twin sister, Ari. Thad is very sweet and reluctant leader who is humbled from being raised as a bastard and has the strong will to rule a country. At first, all he wants to do is wish for Ari’s safety because the king’s wife was looking to kill them, as they were threats to the throne for her own newborn child, but Alistair wanted more than that. This intriguing villain manipulates a desperate Thad for a bargain with his soul. In a couple of weeks, the current royal family would suddenly die, the bastard son is placed on the throne, and Ari finds herself confused as to her place as “princess” of Sundraille. I really loved the sibling camaraderie between Thad and Ari, as they complement each other well and support one another constantly throughout the book. Redwine also does a great job with the exploration of Ari’s friend Cleo, who was as three-dimensional as the rest of them. The author doesn’t hold back on characterizations, and it was really heartwarming to see the support and protectiveness of these friends.
‘You and me against the world, right?’
Soon enough, Alistair uses the terms of the wish contract to exploit the local businesses of the kingdom and bully people into paying him. Ari gets ahold of the fact that Thad’s soul is on the line, spurring her to action. Ari’s character is Awesome with a capital A because I loved reading about her strength, failures, and getting up from them. She’s also a baker and is constantly eating, which I can appreciate because that is basically me. Other than that, she always has a plan for something and while her twin brother Thad is busy ruling the country, she’s thinking of ways to break the contract with Alistair. Ari is definitely a willful, courageous, witty, and intelligent heroine who although may not have magical powers or physical prowess, uses her inquisitive mind.
She was facing the most dangerous evil her kingdom had ever known, and she was going to be the weapon that brought him down. She would be iron and bloodflower. She would be trickery and deceit.
The pace in this book was always rolling, which made it a really easy and quick read even though so many things are going on. Ari is constantly on the prowl with new plans and ideas to get rid of Alistair and the contract he has with her brother. We also get introduced to a new, mysterious (but not one of those brooding, dark types) weapons master named Sebastian who starts helping Ari out. We get to learn a lot about Sebastian as well, considering the book switches from third person limited POV from him, Ari, and Alistair. He’s a fast thinker, but even more skilled physically with weapons and fighting, as he had to in order to survive. Learning about all these characters is a gradual progression that I really appreciated since it gives them all a unique personality, from supporting characters to antagonist.
I love love loveeeed the romance in this book. It had a rather steady pace that develops from friendship and acceptance to more feelings between the characters. It was surprisingly quite realistic despite the circumstances that Ari and Sebastian are in, and fits really well with the story. It’s a relationship based on support and compassion towards each other, as well as the knowledge that they’re individually strong. Also, I was really happy that it was linear, doesn’t detract from the plot, and had a perfect blend of swooniness and squealing in the midst of all that is happening.
But mostly he wanted to touch her because being with her felt like finding the answer to a question he’d been asking all his life.
CJ Redwine is really killing it with this series! I really liked the first book The Shadow Queen (whose characters had a small cameo in this story), but I think I adore The Wish Granter even more. Alistair was a really dimensional antagonist, as were the other characters. Fueled with action, fun schemes, and a romance loaded with chemistry, this book will definitely satisfy readers looking for an adventure as the author places twists on a familiar tale. I would recommend this to fantasy and fairytale lovers, as well as other readers who want a magical break from their usual reads.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Thank you Harper Collins for the review copy!
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