Glass Kingdom takes place in the same world as the Golden Curse books, and it's a few years after those events. There is some crossover, especially of characters, but the Cinderella books can technically be read on their own.
This is the famous tale we all know and love but told in a completely new way. First, it's a gender-bent version, meaning the "Cinderella" character is a man. Dell first meets the princess, Helena, while she's in a disguise in the city. The tradition in the kingdom is for princesses to wear a mask around everyone but family until their eighteenth birthday. So she's lived her entire life hidden until she sneaks out in her brother's clothes. When their paths cross, Dell tells her it's a horrible disguise but doesn't know she's the princess. She tells him her name is Len, and they quickly become friends as they keep meeting.
Dell and Edmund get caught up in the mess of rebels trying to tear the kingdom apart, and to protect the girl he thinks is a mistress of the prince, Dell attends the ball. Of course, there, he figures out she is Helena, the princess. But they're separated as the royal family is betrayed. With Helena fighting to get out of the castle with her brothers, they're faced with impossible decisions and heartbreaking truths.
This book is so, so good. I always struggle jumping into a new series after finishing one, but it was very easy to dive in with Glass Kingdom. From the beginning, I was interested in Helena and Dell's story. Plus, Edmund is in these books too, and he was my favorite in the Rapunzel series, so I was excited. I love him even more now, if that's possible.
Helena and Dell are such strong characters. Normally, it takes a bit for me to warm up to new characters, but not these two. I loved them both from the start, but they developed very well too. By the end, they're both fierce in their loyalties--Helena to her brothers and Edmund; Dell to Helena. The friendships in this story are beautiful, and I think that's why I enjoyed Helena and Dell so much right away.
The world building in this series continues to amaze me. We're introduced to the kingdom of Madra in this story, and it's evident Michelle worked hard to create these unique societies in the same world. She painted a vivid picture of how it looked and functioned.
As always, it was well written. The dialogue flows naturally. The descriptions are there but don't bog down the story. I really enjoy her writing style; it's easy to read and quick to pull me into the story. I highly recommend this book!
- Beautiful friendships
- Strong family relationships
- Wonderful world building