A mysterious woodsman joins forces with an earnest princess to stop a plot that could ruin both of their kingdoms in this fantasy romance.
Princess Sorcha keeps a close eye on her loved ones, constantly living in fear that her brother and adopted sisters will be taken away from her. When she uncovers a plan to murder her brother and steal his queen, Sorcha throws herself (quite literally) into ruining the enemy’s coldhearted scheme. In the fray, she is taken prisoner to be used as leverage. Her freedom comes at the hands of a man known only as the Woodsman. A Robin Hood–esque hero, he leads a secret rebellion to overthrow the corrupt family in power in his woodland country. With Sorcha’s ability to harness fire and the Woodsman’s talent for communing with nature, they realize their combined magical strength is the key to protecting those they love. Sorcha’s close circle of friends and family rely heavily on previously established relationships from prior books, and the setup is a direct relation to past events. Newcomers to Sparks’ (Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon, 2018, etc.) Embraced by Magic series will undoubtedly be lost when attempting to understand character connections and references to previous skirmishes and battles. The relationship between the hero and heroine is background noise to the tangled web of political machinations by cartoonish villains, but the inventive setting and depth of worldbuilding prevent this from feeling too much like a paint-by-numbers, cookie-cutter fantasy romance. But while Sparks’ crafting of distinct kingdoms and fantasy races is the strongest part of the series, this installment carries on the earlier tradition of middling, glacially slow romances.
An adventurous fantasy romp only for the die-hard fan.