An epic, romantic, and action-packed fantasy inspired by the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, about a bastard princess who must take on an evil fae to save her brother’s soul, from C. J. Redwine, the New York Times bestselling author of The Shadow Queen. Perfect for fans of Graceling and the Lunar Chronicles.
The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of Súndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop.
Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.
So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.
But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul.
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Fairy tale retellings – they are so difficult to get right. With multiple authors currently putting twists on the stories many of us grew up reading as children, which should a lover of fairy tales choose to read? Marissa Meyer retold the stories of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and many more all in one enchanting series. Disney itself published a book by Liz Braswell about Beauty and the Beast. However, the answer to the aforementioned question is: THIS ONE. Every lover of fairy tales and happily ever afters should read the works of C.J. Redwine. The first book in her Ravenspire series, with which Redwine enchanted me by telling the tale of Snow White sans dwarves, was actually my first read, and subsequent first five star rating of the year. When I read that her follow up novel was only a month away and featured Rumplestiltskin, I was over the moon.
In “The Wish Granter” the main character, Ari, and her brother Thad are placed on the throne unexpectedly when the royal family dies and they, as the king’s bastard children, are the only remaining heirs. When Ari uncovers the truth of their circumstances, and the dangerous deal Thad made with a man called the Wish Granter to get them on the throne, she immediately begins to search for this mysterious man’s weaknesses. To set her plan into motion, she needs help from the castle’s new weapons master, Sebastian, another of the book’s narrators. As a story teller, Ari was entertaining as can be. Her personality shone through in every single word written from her perspective. While in her head, there was never a dull moment. I loved and admired her resilience and loyalty to not only her family, but also her friends and kingdom.
Although I loved Ari as a narrator, Sebastian really took the cake for me. Just trying to escape his abusive life, Sebastian takes the job as weapons master so that he can keep his head down, save money and get the hell out of dodge. When the Princess ambushes him and asks him to teach her to make weapons, he is drawn to her personality and charm. Sebastian’s story absolutely broke my heart – he was so terrified of letting people get close, both physically and emotionally due to his past. Redwine wrote a beautiful and well developed love story between Ari and Sebastian – Ari slowly proves herself trustworthy and manages to break down Sebastian’s walls to reveal a loving, caring, and devoted man. Thus far, Sebastian is my favorite book boyfriend of 2017 (I’m sure that will change when “A Court of Wings and Ruin” comes out though – I could never cheat on Rhys).
Once again, Redwine allows the reader glimpses into the mind of her villain. It was interesting to see how the Wish Granter’s mind worked – and I enjoyed the story behind his descent into evil. As a villain, he was even more ruthless than Queen Irina in “The Shadow Queen”. He killed often and in brutal ways to prove his point and strike fear into the hearts of his enemies.
I have to say, I did enjoy “The Shadow Queen” by just the smallest of margins more. Where “The Shadow Queen” moved quickly constantly and was packed with action, I found “The Wish Granter” to be a little bit slower in places. I understand that the difference in pace is largely due to the difference in narrators – where Lorelai was a warrior and fought with her body, Ari was more of a strategist. Despite the slight drop in pace, however, I think that C.J. Redwine absolutely has a knack for fairy tale retellings and anticipate her next book in this series.
My Takeaway: Ari and Sebastian were fantastic narrators and the Wish Granter made for a fantastically evil villain. Redwine’s Ravenspire series is shaping up to be an all-time favorite of mine. I look forward to reading the next story she chooses to tell!