By: Cait Marie
Generation after generation, the Basiles have been forced by a curse to serve as protectors to the Durands—the royal family of Gaule. The Basiles themselves are the descendants and heirs to Bela, a kingdom that had been defeated and destroy long ago to a sorceress.
To protect the Durands and the people of Gaule from La Dame, the powerful sorceress, Viktor Basile uses his magic to put wards around the kingdom. However, when the king decides that magic is evil and no longer allowed in Gaule, he leads a great purge of their people, and Viktor must run with his 10-year-old daughter, Persinette. They hide in the Black Forest, among those who escaped, but the wards didn’t just keep dangers out, they trap all those who have magic within.
For her entire life, Persinette has trained to one day be Prince Alexandre’s protector. They have been betrayed and are enemies of the crown, but the curse still ties them together. When 18-year-old Persinette wins the tournament to become the prince’s appointed protector, the king recognizes her. Just as he is about to expose who she is and sentence her execution, Viktor kills the king, ending his own life as well. In an instant, Alexandre becomes king with Persinette as his protector. But though they grew up together, he does not recognize “Etta” as his childhood friend.
Together they must prepare the kingdom against the fight they’re sure La Dame is bringing to them. However, the closer they get, the harder it is for Etta to keep her magic and identity a secret.
I’ve mentioned my love for fairy tales, yeah? I loved this book! It’s a Rapunzel retelling, and if there’s anything you probably know from following me it’s that I’m obsessed with Tangled. The connection is subtle, though. Etta has magic and golden hair, but until the end, that’s about the only likeness to the story I recognized. I will admit I don’t know the full Rapunzel story outside of Disney, so there might be more that I just didn’t catch onto. Regardless, it was a fantastic book. There’s also a reference to Sleeping Beauty when explaining the curse’s history, which made me happy.
M. Lynn is a new author to me, but after this book, I’m hooked. The story was quick-paced, but it didn’t feel rushed. It was well written and easy to follow through the histories and changing POVs. It had everything you’d want from a YA fairy tale, but it was told in a more modern way while still taking place in a historical setting.
For the most part, I loved the characters. Alex was very wishy-washy, especially in the end, but with everything going on, it was to be expected. Even if I didn’t like his actions. Etta was pretty awesome. I love a good, strong heroine who doesn’t take crap from anyone. Those are the two main characters, but it was actually Edmund and Prince Tyson who were my favorites. Edmund is Alex’s best friend and head of his personal guard. We also find out early on that he’s in love with Alex. It is rare to see LGBT representation in a fairy tale like this and I really loved it. It wasn’t a main plot point, he never acted on it, but it was there. Tyson is the youngest royal sibling, who has secrets of his own, and throughout the story we see this warm, caring character who you just can’t help but love.
I fully intend on jumping into the next book ASAP. I’m so glad all three books are out already and I don’t have to wait for more of the story. There are two books after that as well, which are based on Cinderella and take place in the same world. The second book, Glass Princess, was actually just released today. I already can’t wait to read them. The covers are absolutely beautiful, and we all know how I feel about Cinderella retellings!
If you like fairy tales, check out this series! I will definitely be continuing and looking for more of Lynn’s books.