Synopsis: Hansel and Gretel Herrscher survived the witch in the woods, but the experience has made Hansel paranoid for the past ten years. He sees dark magic at every turn. When Gretel has a marriage arranged to a much older man, and Hansel discovers he’s about to be sent halfway across the galaxy, he knows something sinister is afoot.
Wilhelmine Nordon has plenty of experience with Hansel’s quirkier side. So when she catches him and Gretel running away in the middle of the night, she follows to keep them from getting killed. The siblings have never left the capital of Mish on their own, so they need a babysitter. Except when she’s discovered, Hansel gives her his usual cold shoulder, and Gretel secretly begs her to take them back.
The problem is, Hansel’s paranoia turns out to be well founded, and they’re all being hunted.
*I received an e-copy of this book through NetGalley by invitation from Curiosity Quills Press in exchange for an honest review*
“You should never compare yourself to other people. When you do, all you see is their strengths and put them against your weaknesses. It’s not a fair comparison.”
Hamstead has done it again with this addition to the Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles. I simply couldn’t put this book down. Her ability to create the most captivating characters, imagery and world is just astounding.
Going into this book I didn’t know what to expect as it had been awhile since I read the last one and I wasn’t sure whether this was going to be a sequel, or something else. Well it turned out to be more like a prequel, where you get to learn more about how the different kingdoms came together in the first place. I really loved getting to know more about the individual kingdoms and some of the legends and lore that surrounded them.
I’ll be honest in saying that while I know the basic story of Hansel and Gretel (you know, two little kids go into woods and almost get eaten by evil witch) I don’t know much past that. So it was great to read Hamstead’s new spin on it. Also I feel like there might’ve been a twist on The Little Mermaid in there somewhere as well, which was fantastic. As an author she does a marvelous job of weaving these new stories and making them believable in these worlds.
The characters she creates have such excellent depth as well. In the beginning Hansel was starting to grate on me after awhile being so overtly rude to Minna and acting like a little child on the playground, always so paranoid. But by the end of the book I was just as in love with him as Minna was. And it takes great skill as a writer to make a reader change their mind about how they feel about a character over such a short span, so serious kudos for that. I think part of it had to do with that adorable faux-play scene near the end, so adorable! And I’m so happy that she always keeps the romances passionate but chaste at the same time. Gretel was cute and I liked her added sweetness and the lighthearted aspects she brought to the book, but I did want to slap her for being almost too naive near the end, but as always it all came together and everyone fit perfectly, including Rune who was such a quirky, awesome guy.
I only have two nit-picks about this book, but they’re not really anything that changes my opinion overall. My first one is that I’m not a huge fan of the cover this time around, I get why that’s the cover after reading the book, but the last cover for Princess of Tyrone was so stunning I just wish I could love this one the same.
Also, the pacing of this book did feel a little rushed compared to Princess of Tyrone, but I think that fit this book better as the circumstances called for a faster pace as the characters were under more constraints. My only wish would’ve been for the ending to have been dragged out maybe a couple of chapters more, I felt like the action was pushed through pretty quickly and there could’ve been more added to it, but overall it was still done wonderfully.
I’m so excited that I got invited to read this. It’s hard to find fairytale retellings that are done well, and done so consistently, but Hamsead has delivered a stunning book not once, but twice now so I look forward to reading as many books in these Chronicles as she wants to write!
Read my review of the first book: Princess of Tyrone