Years later, Ashleigh is grieving the loss of her mother when she encounters Saxon, an Avian prince whose opinion of her is already terrible. Ashleigh blacks out and awakes to him being injured, an offense that requires restitution. She is cast out of the kingdom to begin serving her sentence. It is grueling, and when she is summoned back, she has hopes that it will be over. However, her father happily hands her over to serve Saxon as he fights amongst many potential suitors in war games to win her magical stepsister's hand in marriage.
As the plot evolves, things become quite twisted and complex with magical surprises at every turn.
What I loved: The writing style here is quite compelling, transporting us to the magical realm and the many species and kingdoms there. This story has a bit of everything- magical creatures like dragons and unicorns, evil witches, vague oracles, enemies-to-lovers, fated romances, foes to hate, and so many delightful characters. I loved that we get to see the story through both Ashleigh and Saxon's eyes. With both perspectives, it is easy to cheer for both throughout the story and really understand both of their motivations, which is particularly important because of the way things happen.
Ashleigh and Saxon, as well as so many of the secondary characters, are so easy to love, and I really enjoyed hearing their stories. The reappearance of characters from the first book are delightful for those who enjoyed that one too, but I also appreciate that you do not need to have read the first book to enjoy this one.
I also really love the way Showalter can add in some sarcasm and quips in such a seamless way to infuse some humor amidst the serious. She also includes some interesting themes about believing in yourself, the value of confidence, following your goals, being true to yourself, the real meaning of strength, and finding your inner peace that make this a deeper read.
Final verdict: THE GLASS QUEEN continues a highly anticipated series with courageous characters, dashing heroes, and soul-stirring romance. Fairytales are reinvented in absolutely clever and unique new ways, making this book and series stand out. Highly recommend for fans of the RAVENSPIRE series, TO KILL A KINGDOM, and/or ELLA ENCHANTED.