Author: A.G. Howard
Genre: YA Fantasy/Retelling
Series: none – standalone
Blurb: A high-fantasy gothic fairytale inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess and the Pea.
Once upon a nightmare, her fairy tale begins…
After Lyra—a princess incapable of speech or sound—is cast out of her kingdom of daylight by her wicked aunt, a witch saves her life, steals her memories, and raises her in an enchanted forest … disguised as a boy known only as Stain. Meanwhile, in Lyra’s rival kingdom, the prince of thorns and night is dying, and the only way for him to break his curse is to wed the princess of daylight, for she is his true equal. As Lyra rediscovers her identity, an impostor princess prepares to steal her betrothed prince and her crown. To win back her kingdom, save the prince, and make peace with the land of the night, Lyra must be loud enough to be heard without a voice, and strong enough to pass a series of tests—ultimately proving she’s everything a traditional princess is not.
Review: Every once in a while, you find a story that is truly magical. This is that story.
Lyra is a really fun character full of contradictions. She is fragile, but she is strong. She is small of stature, but large in spirit. Getting tricked out of her throne and left to die didn’t break her, but instead molded her into the type of person Prince Vesper could fall in love with. Without a doubt, though, my favorite characters were Crony, a harrower witch with a heart of gold, and Luce, an air sylph who sometimes takes the form of a fox. These became Lyra’s surrogate parents when she was living as Stain.
I was also a fan of the world: two kingdoms torn assunder, one always bright with sun, and one shrouded in moonlight. I loved how each kingdom evolved to cope with these changes. Imagine living some place where the sun never set; it would certainly be an adjustment! I think I would prefer to live in Nerezeth, the night kingdom – I’ve always been a night owl, but this way I wouldn’t have to lose sleep to stay up all “night!”
This entire book had an ethereal quality to it, almost dreamlike. It’s the closest thing to a modern fairy tale that you will find. I’ve been a fan of A.G. Howard’s for years, ever since falling in love with her Splintered series (and if you haven’t read those, check them out – so good!). I was really looking forward to this one and it didn’t disappoint.
GoodReads rating: 5 stars.