The second book in the fantasy series.
Publication year: 2009
Narrator: Carol Monda
Running Time: 11 hrs and 50 minutes
The kingdom of Lorindar and the merfolk have had friendly relationship for a long time. Lorindar’s Queen Beatrice takes her new daughter-in-law, Princess Danielle, also known as Cinderella, to the annual meeting with the merfolk, called undine. They are accompanied by masterful swordswoman Talia (also known as the Sleeping Beauty) and Snow (Snow White) who is a sorceress and uses mirror magic.
The undine tribe’s king has died and his daughter Lirea attacks the ship demanding that Queen Bea should return her sister. The crew and the three princess leap to the Queen’s defense. But in the middle of fighting, Lirea stabs the Queen and steals her soul with the magical knife. Lirea and her tribe flees and the princesses try to save the Queen’s life. Back in Lorindar, the royal healer says that the Queen will last only a couple of weeks without her soul. It turns out that the Queen does have Lirea’s sister, Lannadae, but only because the Queen wanted to protect Lannadea from her sister.
In order to heal the Queen, the magic users need Lirea’s knife. The best bet to finding Lirea is her sister. Lannadea is eager to help the Queen, but she’s somewhat timid after being shut into an underground cave for a year. However, Lannadea knows where her grandmother Morvean is. Morvean has made the knife so she could be really helpful. The three princesses and Lannadea sail on a quest to find Lirea. Lorindar’s other ships are defending the country against undine attacks and Danielle’s husband Armand leads the fleet.
I enjoyed this book as much as the previous one even though this book darker in tone. All of the three princesses have been abused in the past and carry the scars. Danielle was forced to work by her stepmother and step sisters, and she still feels like a maid, not a princess. She cleans when she’s nervous. Snow was abused by her mother who wanted to make Snow a great sorceress and a vessel for her spirit when her own body started to age. Snow always compares her skills to her mother’s skills and flirts with any handsome man to cover her real feelings. Poor Talia hates fairies and has a very hard time trusting anyone. This time we got a point-of-view from all of the three women and also from Lirea. She is the Little Mermaid familiar from fairy tales but her tale is also a very dark one.
I really enjoyed Hephyra. She’s the captain of the ship where our trio spends most of their time. She’s a dryad and when the elven queen cut down her tree, it was made into a ship, Philippa. She’s very sexual and has a bit different sexual mores than humans. She also wants to be independent but that’s not possible. The ship has been enchanted so that Hephyra has to obey Queen Bea and Hefira resents that. Hephyra is the unquestioned captain of her ship and not shy about telling her opinions.
The plot feels perhaps a bit slow at time but frankly I enjoyed the characters so much that I didn’t care.
The undine have a different culture than any of the humans because of their physiology. They hibernate during the winter and also have a separate mating season. The royals emit a scent in the water and control their underling with that scent. Many of the undine also believe that they don’t have souls and are jealous of humans because of that. Some humans also think of the undine as animals.