In the kingdom of Eltaria, the Tradition reigns supreme. So it’s virtually inevitable that young princess Rosamund will lose her lovely kind mother Celeste, and that she’ll have a fairy godmother, and that her father will marry an evil Stepmother to send a Hunter after her. The Tradition will always try to bend fate in the direction of a fairy tale – but it can be subverted. So when Rosa’s father does die, her fairy godmother disguises herself as an evil sorceress and makes a deal with Rosa’s father – but Rosa still flees and is captured by dwarves who are far from the kindly ones described in Snow White. This time, however, there are two princes wandering the forest; which way will the Tradition bend Rosa’s life next?
This was quite a clever and entertaining twist on traditional fairy tales. The author starts off, rather obviously, with Snow White, but also makes space for Sleeping Beauty which can also suit Rosa’s situation. I really liked the idea of a world which tries to obey the dictates of fairy tales – no matter which fairy tale – and each different kingdom in the world draws from different mythologies. Siegfried, who is pretty obviously Rosa’s main love interest as he’s the only male narrator, is haunted by a shield-maiden in a ring of fire straight out of traditional Nordic myths, as he is from the North.
The characters themselves were enchanting in their own ways. Rosa started off a little too whiny; she insists that she’s self-sufficient but requires rescuing from the evil dwarves nonetheless. However, as soon as she’s woken up with a kiss which she decidedly does not want, she gets a bit feistier which makes her easier to relate to. I felt the story was a bit less cohesive after the Snow White part ended, as it doesn’t really imitate any other fairy tales (that I know about) in so much detail, but it was still very much a fun book. People fall in love, fight battles, and solve riddles trying to win the princess’s hand in marriage; it’s all good stuff.
This is the fifth book in a series of similar fairy tale themed stories set in this world. This is the first that I’ve read and I had no trouble following along; I probably wouldn’t even have known it was a series if LibraryThing hadn’t told me so. I liked The Sleeping Beauty enough that I plan to seek out the earlier books in the series. It’s an intriguing world, and since I like fairy tales, I’m looking forward to see which other ones she’s played with so well.
I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book for review for free through Netgalley.