I won this ARC through Goodreads which was SO exciting since I’ve never won one before! And I am SO ecstatic that I won this book!
It comes out tomorrow, July 7th. You NEED to get your hands on it and start reading immediately.
What if Buttercup saved Wesley? That’s the question on the back of the book and what seems to be the question that planted the seed for this book. I’m a fan of The Princess Bride, and it was so interesting to me to see a story inspired by a tale so beloved.
Even though it pulls inspiration from The Princess Bride, it’s definitely its own book. There are wonderful homages to the original, but this is very much its own world, plot, and characters. I was really impressed by how much Henning expanded from the original question on the back of the cover.
Amarande is unapologetically smart and strong. She is also a little hotheaded which I loved because she was such a completely flawed and complex character. I would follow her anywhere, such as the next book.
She reminded me of my favorite poem by the poet Atticus, “She wasn’t waiting for a knight, she was waiting for a sword.” Amarande isn’t waiting for someone to fix her problems, she’s waiting to get her hands on a sword to solve them herself.
I also love Luca and what he’s doing to fight toxic masculinity in YA fantasy. He is so sweet and kind. He’s also not just a boy in distress, he’s got his own strengths and desires. I look forward to learning more about him in the next book.
Their friendship and blossoming love are beautiful to get to watch bloom. Amarande and Luca remind me of Finn and Enna from Enna Burning by Shannon Hale which remains one of my favorite pairing that represents a slightly prickly girl and a patient boy who loves her as she needs.
I enjoyed how many characters we get to watch throughout the book, showing how vast the world and the plot is. The world kept getting bigger and more complicated than I realized. I’m interested to see what characters we follow in the next book and what new characters we’ll get to read about.
This is a deeply feminist book while staying true to fairytale adventure stories. I saw myself in Amarande, and I have often felt it difficult to see myself in characters in princess stories. I am so happy more books are coming out about fierce princesses who save themselves or save the ones they love. I desperately wish this book had been around for 16/17 year old me when I wanted books about girls who saved boys.