Game of Thrones meets the Grimm’s fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty’s daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.
Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora’s throne ten years ago.
Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it’s too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?
I received this eArC from NetGalley for review, it's official release is in early December
From the title, and a little bit from the cover, I was expecting more of a High fantasy, especially with the "Game of Thrones meets the Grimm's fairy tales" claim. I haven't read the books, but I watch Game of Thrones, this wasn't very GoT in my opinion. The book was still really good though. Not saying that it not being like GoT is a bad thing, it's just there's, way less murder, sex, drug use and betrayal in this book, cause there isn't any.
Our main character is Aurora, the daughter of sleeping beauty, ... only in all the fairy tales, Aurora IS sleeping beauty. So that was mildly confusing. Thankfully, she goes my Ror for 80% of the book pretending to be her brother,Jor, so she can mass an army to save her brother from the Ogres. That added some humor to the story for me when she meets the other Main character Niklaas, a young prince on a mission to find a princess to marry to break a curse set on him and his brothers. While there's no saving them, he can save himself by marrying outside his kingdom before his 18th birthday. (His curse is explained in a mini prologue. Aurora's curse doesn't really have a direct way to be solved)
The story is told in kind of three POV's, Aurora, Nik, and the Ogres that are holding her brother captive, but it's mostly Aurora and Nik's story. I really liked Ror and Nik's scenes, they were funny, clever, there were some sort of touching moments like when they discuss the crap they've had to deal with, and Nik thinks he's talking to a 14 year old boy trying to save a friend, not the princess he hopes will agree to marry him. Those moments are pretty funny because of him boasting at his abilities to charm the petticoat of a girl, in front of a girl he hops to woo.
There is a romance in this book, and it's not annoying or feel fake, In fact, the romantic feelings they share for one another (Its not really a surprise that he would find out Ror, is Aurora) starts as feelings of friendship. They trust one another with their lives, they see each other as equals. And while it understandably took Nik a little while to come to terms with Aurora being the princess he was looking for, but also someone who was his equal in a fight, and had saved his life more than once in their travels. I really liked their dynamic, it's how I think real love is determined. The way this romance was, as cliche as the phrase is, a breath of fresh air. There was no "I'm a strong female character, oooo look a handsome guy' *faints* 'Save me good-looking male". It was just really nice seeing a pair that were thought of and seen on equal footing through the whole book, in some ways Aurora is a better fighter than Nik, because of the fairy blessings she has.
There was a semi-slow patch before the climax of the book where they are re-cooperating at a Witches hut, with Ror, being Aurora that's where the majority of Nik's anyways, development of romantic feelings is at. Aurora had about a month or so spending every moment with him, under the guise of a boy, where she slowly saw him as more than a traveling companion and friend, even if she didn't want to admit it.
Over all, while this book was a little less high fantasy than I was expecting, It was one of the best new books I've read this year. The characters are well written and likable The story is less fairy-tale retelling and more of a unique and exciting book. It's a 400 page book that I read in 3 hours. I'd recommend this book to just about everyone.