The final book of the trilogy continues the richly imagined although sometimes confusing world of Heartless and Veiled Rose (both 2011).
Rose Red, princess of a long-hidden kingdom, was stolen as an infant by her mother to keep her safe from her royal father, who has evil plans that spell her future doom. Rose Red has lived, hidden by veils, in the world of mortals, working in the household of beloved childhood playmate Prince Lionheart. Lionheart is a flawed hero, terrified when he should be brave, then wracked by guilt for his many shortcomings. Faced with the potential loss of his crown for championing Rose Red, he casts her into the dangerous Wilderlands. This final self-justified act of betrayal has a far-reaching unanticipated impact. Eventually he embarks on a quest to find her, but it may be too late. Rose Red and Lionheart are carefully drawn, but the myriad other characters are less well developed. Between complex back stories and multiple plot lines, readers may wish for a scorecard to help keep track. A theme of Christian allegory runs through the tale, mostly subtle, but notably heavy-handed at the climax.
A multilayered, labyrinthine fantasy that will engage fans of the genre, even those not looking for a tale with a moral message. (Fantasy. 12 & up)