In a companion book to The Shadow Queen (2016), Ari becomes a reluctant princess when her brother makes a disastrous deal with the notorious Wish Granter.
The ruthless fae Wish Granter, who goes by Teague in his human guise, doesn’t make deals that he does not win. He always takes someone’s soul, which he uses as an ingredient for the addictive apodrasi. Brown-scanned Ari, illegitimate daughter of the king and a former pastry cook, realizes that her twin brother, Thad, made a deal to become king and determines to defeat Teague somehow. Teague has included in Thad’s contract the right to operate his criminal enterprises without interference from the crown, and he terrorizes the capital city daily. Ari meets Sebastian when he signs on as the castle's new weapons master, and the two join forces against Teague and (of course) fall in love. Can Ari’s shrewd intelligence and Sebastian’s superior fighting skills prevail over the monstrous criminal? Ari is a bit of a navel-gazer, but the story proceeds briskly enough. As the romance develops, Redwine brings attention to class rather than race, with the racially indeterminate Sebastian ever conscious of the social gulf between them while Ari accepts him as an equal. In a highly welcome development, Ari is a plus-sized princess who loves not only to cook, but to eat.
Satisfying fare for fantasy fans. (Fantasy. 12-18)