The first book in a fantasy series about reimagined fairy tale princesses.

Publication year: 2009
Format: Audio
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Narrator: Carol Monda
Running Time: 11 hrs and 29 minutes

Princess Danielle is Cinderella. She married her prince with the help of her dead mother and despite the obstacles created by her cruel stepmother and her two daughters. She’s had a wonderful couple of months with her prince Armand and now she’s expected to learn everything a proper princess does. However, one of her stepsisters, Charlotte, tries to kill her and even gloats that she and her sister have kidnapped Armand.

One of Danielle’s maids helps her against Charlotte who escapes with the help of magic. The maid Talia turns out to be Sleeping Beauty. She and her fellow princess Snow White are secret agents for Armand’s mother, Queen Beatrice. Danielle wants to rescue Armand and reluctantly Beatrice sends her with Snow and Talia to track down the prince. The trail will take them to Danielle’s former house and then to fairy lands.

I liked the book a lot but for some reason, I didn’t really click with the writing. I also didn’t really care for the second half of the book where our heroine is rendered helpless. However, she does essentially get herself out of the trouble so that’s a big plus. The book has lot of humor, too, but unfortunately, some of it wasn’t to my taste.

Each of the princesses have a personality and specialty of her own. They back stories aren’t the Disney versions but the darker, older versions. Danielle is sweet, trusting, and caring. She loves animals and has a way to communicate with them, but she doesn’t command them. She’s also been a servant for a long time and she’s still struggling to get out of a servant’s way of thinking. Talia has a grim history which we don’t find out until later in the book. She doesn’t trust others easily and she loathes faeries. She also constantly challenges Danielle because of Danielle’s inexperience. Talia is an expert swords woman partly because one of her gifts from the fairies is perfect grace. Snow is a balance between the two, she’s mostly friendly to Danielle and the others. She’s also more sexual and often flirts with men. She likes to draw attention to herself. She’s also a sorceress and used mirror magic.

I really enjoyed the fairy land. Hines used a lot of material from different fairy tales and made them work together beautifully. For example, you shouldn’t accept deals or favors because fairies always ask something awful in return, usually your first born child. Fairies also stick to the wording of a agreement and not to the spirit. And the glass sword was awesome!

The next book in the series is the Mermaid’s Madness and I will listen to that, too, at some point.

The first chapter is available for free on Hines’ site.

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