Wow. This book. I absolutely could not put it down, especially as I neared the end. This tale was expertly woven and dark and captivating. The number one rule for reading this book is that absolutely nothing is as it seems.
As the plot unfolds, it becomes more and more complex, and neither the reader nor the protagonist knows what’s real and what are the contents of her own delusions. The story is riddled with magic and mysticism and dark powers at work within an alluring and luxurious setting. At no point in the novel did I feel like I knew what was going to happen next, which is part of what makes the narrative so compelling.
If there’s one thing I didn’t like about this book, it’s that at times the resolutions seemed very ‘deus ex machina.’ In the midst of the conflict, this seems mostly fitting. There are literal gods at work in the story, and the use of this device doesn’t take away from the quality of the narrative. The real problem with this comes in at the epilogue. Here, the deus ex machina isn’t used to add another layer of mystery and dark forces, but to give the protagonist a picturesque happy ending, which feels at odds with the rest of the story. Maybe I’m just prejudiced against happy endings, but this definitely felt out of place to me, especially because it wasn’t really explained at all, it was just delivered to us and we were expected to accept it.
Despite this slight issue with the epilogue, I truly loved reading this story, and I would highly recommend it to all fantasy fans. It was twisted and enchanting in all the right ways, and despite being a retelling of the twelve dancing princesses story, it was a truly original story unlike anything I had ever read before.
Buy it on Amazon