My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling, YA
Publisher: Mirror Press
This review contains no spoilers.
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review through the website Ebooks For Review. This has not affected my review in anyway, and I was not paid to write my review.
Seventeen-year-old Adrielle doesn’t believe in magic; she merely possesses it, though no one has ever mentioned that her unusual gifts—exceptional speed, a flair for fire, and an intimate knowledge of flora—aren’t things she was born with. When Adrielle starts a fire that burns down the family home, she must deal with both her grief and her siblings’ hurtful rejection.
While journeying to far away Tallinyne, in search of her older, estranged sister—the only relative who might take her in—Adrielle is separated from her escort when the carriage is beset by thieves. Alone, she is thrust into a dangerous and unfamiliar world where she encounters fairies and gypsies, a wild boar, a drunk cook, and an evil queen whose curse is sweeping death across the land. Adrielle also finds love, falling hard for a kind, funny, handsome—and completely unavailable prince.
From the glowing pearls tucked beneath her mattress and keeping her awake at night, to Queen Nadamaris’s curse that seems to thwart Adrielle’s every effort, Adrielle struggles to navigate a world of magic she never imagined, where people she knows and loves are not always what they appear to be. With the glowing pearls—and her fondest desire—within her grasp, she is forced to make a choice no girl should ever have to—satisfying her own heart or saving the kingdom.
I think I lost count of the sheer number of fairytales and folk stories that were referenced or directly involved in this story. However, they were all well-woven into the plot and none of them screamed at being out of placed or distracted from what was going on. They all worked together to create the landscape in which the story took place.
Additionally it was a very solid book, I while I didn’t give it five stars – because I felt as though there was something missing (I’m just not sure wha) – I can very easily say that it deserved everyone of its four stars. The story was well told and each of the characters fit perfectly inside it. But there was just a little spark that a five star book requires was missing.
The basis of the story is very tragic, a girl who is blamed for the accidental deaths of both her parents, and so she is shunned by the people she grew up with, which leads her to leave her home in search of a new start. Along the way she meets a delightful and varied cast of characters, who are all well-written and unique in their own right. There is a love story, naturally, and I won’t spoil it, but I will say that is it a very sweet love story.
My biggest complaint, and perhaps the reason I could not give it more stars, is the predictability of the story. It is a fairytale after all, and follows a lot of the ‘traditional’ paths that such stories take. There were many plot twists that I figured out well before the main character (or other characters), and seemingly before the author wanted me to.
Overall I’d reccomend this to anyone who likes fairytales or romance books. I think perhaps it would be best with younger readers – middle grade – because it is very clean, with only one minor reference to ‘wedding nights’ and I just wasn’t sure that it seemed to be intended for older readers. But don’t let that discourage you. I’m at the higher end of the ‘teen’ age range and I liked it!