By Ann Hunter
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Number of Pages: 170
A cursed prince. A vain beauty. Glory is the seventh daughter of Balthazar, High King of the Twelve Kingdoms. Glory hopes that - of all her sisters - she can escape the fate of a loveless marriage. But on the night she plans to elope with the royal falconer, her world comes crashing down: Her father announces Glory's betrothal to Eoghan of the Blood Realm - a prince no one has ever seen. The prince is said to be a recluse, cursed and deformed by the gods for the sins of his power-hungry father. Yet when Glory is trapped in Blackthorn Keep she discovers that not everything is what she expected. An insulting gryphon, a persistent ghost, and a secret plan to usurp the prince keep Glory reeling. Can she overcome her vanity to learn that what you want isn’t necessarily what you need—and save the cursed prince?
The very beginning of the novel was hard to grasp, seeming unimportant and hard to get through. Although the setting is done quite well, it seems that the Celtic vibe Hunter is aiming for is lost the further in one reads. Once the fairy tale characters begin to appear, it becomes a bit easier to understand, and to empathize with Xander. I actually really enjoyed our "bad guy", Sylus, because although warned, Xander does decide to visit him anyway. Is Sylus really the bad guy, or does he simply let others find the darkness in themselves?
Once deeper into the story, it's hard not to care for Glory's attempted suitor, Colin. Poor Colin leaves his job and ventures to save Glory, so that they can live out a life they had planned, but he shifts and changes throughout the way. When Glory is brought to Blackthorn Keep she realizes that although she wanted desperately for Colin, in the end, perhaps she is better off there. Despite Colin's actions in trying to save Glory, it's hard to forget just how cruel she had originally been to him when he faces horrible consequences. The relationship between Colin and Glory is an excellent representation of infatuation, where looks provide the sole basis of love.
I like that Glory isn't a like-able character, but most will be able to relate to her. She has personality, and she grows throughout the book, much like many of us do in life. Glory learns that her father has more of an understanding and reasoning for what he does than she is aware of, and that getting everything you want isn't the answer to happiness.
There are lots of fun fairy tale retellings hiding throughout this book, and while I don't want to say exactly what, I will say that oh, Beauty and the Beast, but perhaps reversed. There are more ways to be a beast than merely appearances.
If you love fairy tales, fantasy, intrigue and surprises, you definitely need to find a copy of this book!
Author Bio: (from Amazon)
Multi-award winning author, Ann Hunter, is the creator of the young adult fantasy series Crowns of the Twelve (including the novels The Subtle Beauty, Moonlight, Fallen, with A Piece of Sky, Ashes, and The Rose In The Briar to follow). She likes cherry so
da with chocolate ice cream, is a mom first and a writer second, has a secret identity, and thinks the Twilight movies are cheesier than cheez whiz (which is why they are her guilty pleasure!)
She lives in a cozy Utah home with her two awesome kids and epic husband.
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