Half sisters Aurora and Isabelle must face all that threatens them as their individual paths of peril converge in the conclusion to Hillyer’s (Spindle Fire, 2017, etc.) fantasy duology.
Apart for much of the first volume, Aurora and Isbe, as she is known, reunite on the threshold of war. Aurora, ripped away from the ruined dream land of Sommeil, where she had both voice and touch, is determined to confront the evil faerie queen Malfleur even as past failures and unresolved feelings suffuse her in doubt. Blind Isbe, meanwhile, follows her heart and marries Prince William only to spend her honeymoon waging a bloody, demoralizing war against Malfleur’s forces and attempting to unravel the mystery of an unbreakable glass slipper left to her by her mother. This sequel continues to showcase a lush landscape and an innovative intertwinement of classic Perrault with the unconventional, with considerations of power and hierarchy present as the sisters discover the dark workings of love and family that have affected their lives and land. Unfortunately, readers’ problems with the first book continue to plague the second, from inconsistencies in the portrayals of the sisters’ disabilities to a rushed, underdeveloped romance in the service of metanarrative (previously between Isbe and William and now between Aurora and Wren) to the distractingly self-conscious deployment of French nomenclature. Aurora and Isbe are white, and William has dark skin.
There is closure here but little satisfaction. (Fantasy. 14-17)