Princess Alyrra’s strength lies in silence. Scorned by her family, she avoids the court, spending her time with servants. When her marriage is unexpectedly arranged with the prince of a powerful neighboring kingdom, Alyrra feels trapped. As the court celebrates her match, dark rumors spread about the unexplained deaths of the women of her new family. Alyrra begins her journey with mounting trepidation; betrayed while traveling, she seizes an opportunity to start a life away from court. Walking away from a prince whom she doesn’t know should have been easy. But from the moment she sets eyes on him, Alyrra realizes that her freedom could cost him his life. Without any magical defense of her own, she is plunged into a lethal game of sorcery and deceit. Now Alyrra must decide whom she can trust and what she’s willing to fight for—before her silence proves fatal.
Before It Starts This book is a retelling of the traditional Grimm fairy tale of The Goose Girl, and while I am fairly certain that I have read this fairy tale before, it has not been read by me for a very long time. I feel that this distance from the original may have helped me to like this book that much more. But this could be untrue as it may be very different from the fairy tale but I cannot judge this as I cannot truly remember the original. Having a slight premonition of what was going to happen helped to make the book more interesting because the less I remembered, the more I wanted to keep reading to remember within this story instead of the original. Due to this distance from the original, I will not be using this review as a comparison, but simply explaining why I loved this story as though it wasn’t an adaptation.
As It Is Written The very first thing that drew me into this novel was the writing style. It is written in the present tense. A definite unique selling point that truly drew me in. It is a style that really makes you feel like you are right there, watching what is happening – a very film-like quality. I know that some may struggle with the style to begin with but I found it incredibly easy to get on with and as the story continued, I didn’t even notice anything different because I was just completely and utterly wrapped up within the story. Intisar has a way of writing that really takes you from the seat you’re sitting on and right into a new world. Everything is described so well and with it being present tense, it truly feels like you are going on the journey along with Alyssa. It was really interesting to read and just really helped me to become emotionally invested in this book as I continued to turn page after page.
There Are People Can I just start by saying that I completely adored Alyssa? She was such a real character. Flawed but also so loyal, protective, tender and just stronger than she believed herself to be. There were times when I wanted to shake her but then she would do something and I would be reminded of just how great she truly was. A really interesting and well-written character. I truly adored all of her friends, Laurel, Ash, Rowan and Violet. They were so true too, each with their own individual selling points that made me grin – oh and Joa was pretty damn awesome too!
These characters are all shadows in comparison to Falada. This character blew me away. I loved how loyal he was, and wise and protective. He was such a grand character that I found myself falling in love with. He was really well written and very interesting to read about. Kestrin was also a charming character that I took to instantly. His small little smirks, the way he looked at Alyssa and was also so mysterious, yet cunning with his words. He was such a brilliant character to read. On the other side of things, I found the villains in the piece to be really interesting mix of characters as well. It is definitely noticeable that Intisar has a way with characters as I truly wish there was another follow-on story from this so that I could keep reading more.
Whom Take Twists The last reason that I found this book so enjoyable and entertaining was how brilliant and intriguing the plot of the book was. As noted above, I don’t really remember The Goose Girl tail and so I was not expecting the twist and I found it to be a true shocker that kept me reading more. I was intrigued to know where the story would go and as such, I am so glad I carried on going. There was so much going on within this story, with lots of plots and subplots throughout the book that really kept me interested. I was quickly very emotionally invested within the tale and found myself crying and laughing and smiling at different points. The entire story pulled me in and I found it incredibly difficult to let it go and put it down. Whenever I wasn’t reading it, my mind was going back to it and living within that world all on it’s own. It was a captivating story with a powerful and surprising plot that simply blew me away.
But Survive It All All in all, this is a book that is a must read and one that I would recommend easily. It is a book with depth and heart, with characters that will make your heart ache and your soul bleed and a story that will open your eyes to so many different things. It is truly remarkable written and really manages to grab you by the arms and keeps you there. This is one book that I am so glad to have given a chance and it is one that I will read over and over again easily. It is a book that will sweep you off your feet, not because it is a simply fairy tale retelling, but because it is so much more than that. So, go and get your copy now and get reading!
five out of five hearts
** I received this copy in return for an honest review **