[A quick note: This series can be read as stand alone books. Meaning, you don’t have to read them in the same order. While it’s all set in the same world, the characters in each book are different. My editions came from Fae Crate so they’ve got silver edges and a few other fancy features. Aren’t they pretty?!]
“𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐚𝐫𝐞. 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞. 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐈 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐢𝐟 𝐢𝐭’𝐬 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭.”—Elise Kova
Stand alone fantasy romance is one of my favorite genres. Throw in fay royalty, an arranged marriage trope, and a Cinderella retelling and I’m HERE for it! While I did find a few issues with the Fae Prince’s character, this was an addictive read that I couldn’t put down. I legit neglected life just so that I could see what happened next.
Set in the same world as ADWTEK, this story follows a completely different set of characters. It was a great reimagining of Cinderella, down to the evil stepmother/step-sister, a dance with a dashing prince, and a glass crown in lieu of a glass slipper. Katria’s stepmother sells her hand in marriage to pay for her frivolous lifestyle. Katria’s new husband is distant, secretive, and won’t allow her to see him. In fact, he only married her for a magical book! This makes getting to know him difficult. When he disappears into the forest bestowing upon her his entire fortune, she breaks his rule and goes after him. In doing so, she discovers a plot to reclaim a kingdom—and suddenly she’s the key player.
The bigger picture is this: The fae kingdom has been under the rule of a tyrant for generations. Its people are suffering. The throne was stolen from the rightful family, and the heirs of that family have been hunted into extinction. Only one known person remains in the bloodline, and this fae prince will do anything to kill the tyrant king and restore his people’s kingdom. Except, what if he’s not really the last in the bloodline?
You know those books where you discover a secret that NONE of the characters notice or see? And you’re screaming at them the entire book to figure it out?! Yes, that was this book. Every time Katria’s mother’s magical book was mentioned, every time she had a chance to bring up her mother and didn’t, I was shouting at the characters! This made it such a fun read because I KNEW who Katria really was, even if no one else did.
“𝐌𝐲 𝐰𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐈’𝐯𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐚 𝐯𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐥, 𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐟𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐦𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐬, 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐬, 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐬…𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐨 𝐦𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐨𝐟 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐞𝐥𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨 𝐫𝐨𝐨𝐦 𝐥𝐞𝐟𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐦𝐞.”—Elise Kova
“𝐃𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐦𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐚 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐈 𝐰𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐈’𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐈’𝐯𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐧.”—Elise Kova
There was so much I enjoyed about this book. It was not similar enough to Cinderella to be predictable. Other than the one excruciatingly obvious aforementioned aspect, I wasn’t entirely sure which direction the plot would go. There were a few moments that surprised me. I loved the parallel of the glass crown to the glass slipper. I loved Katria’s personal journey, growing from a cowering girl to a woman who isn’t afraid to stand up for herself. I loved the world building and how it added to the world from the previous book. I loved the power struggle of an oppressed fae people fighting to overcome a tyrant king. I loved the long lost heir trope. I loved the arranged marriage trope, and how Katria was forced to get to know her husband from afar. I loved the way Katria and the prince were forced together into similar circumstances. I even loved the romance that developed between them, slow and tenuous at first, and then growing to something more passionate.
However, the one thing that was a little off for me was the prince’s character. I’m struggling to put my finger on it. He said and did things periodically that felt a little out of character, selfish even? I tried to understand why he was saying or doing those things. I understand he had a lot of pressure on his shoulders trying to step into big shoes. But…some of his actions and things he said just felt misaligned with his over all character. That is ultimately why this book isn’t getting a full 5 stars from me.
But this was fairly minor in the grand scheme of things.
The other thing I’m enjoying about this series is the way that there’s a subtle plot woven together that connects each of the book characters together. We got to see a glimpse of the last book’s characters in the bonus epilogue chapter. And they hinted at what would come in the next book. That’s a fun way to tie everything up.
𝐌𝐘 𝐑𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆: 𝟒.𝟓/𝟓⭐️