Once Upon a Time meets Game of Thrones in book two of New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter’s magical, romantic dark fantasy series, in which the fairy tales we know and love are prophecies of the future. Welcome to the Forest of Good and Evil, where villains may be heroes and heroes may be villains…it all depends on who you ask. Ashleigh Ansklelisa may be called the Glass Princess due to her weak heart, but Saxon, king of the Avian, knows she is more dangerous than broken glass, in this Cinderella retelling that sweeps readers into the magical land of Enchantia, filled with treacherous enemies, unexpected allies, forbidden love, and dangerous magic! Can destined lovers find their way to each other, or will evil win the day? Everything changes at the stroke of midnight as one determined princess fights for her legacy, her love, and the crown that is her destiny.
The Glass Queen (The Forest of Good and Evil, #2)Featured
Princess Ashleigh Charmaine is known as the Glass Princess. Born with a weak heart, she has never been seen as strong enough to survive and rule her kingdom. As she ages though, a power is awakening in her, one that she isn’t sure she controls. I love Ashleigh. Her entire character arc proves that she will be a just and fair queen, if she is ever really given the chance.
Saxon was first introduced in The Evil Queen, a friend of Prince Roth and the heir to the Avian throne, whether he wants it or not. I wasn’t really sure how I felt about Saxon starting this book. His interactions with Everly were not the best. However, I quickly fell in love with him. The credit for that goes to the dual points of view. The chapters alternate between Saxon and Ashleigh, which just served to endear him to me.
The plot revolves around the prophecy surrounding Ashleigh and Saxon. Saxon is in his third reincarnation as one of the ruthless leaders of the Avians. Fate continues to bring him and a witch together. However this time the witch (Ashleigh) seems to not remember him nor does she have any of her previous powers. With her father vying to control all the kingdoms, Ashleigh must strike a bargain to work with the man who hates her most, whether she understands his hatred or not.
Overall I loved The Glass Queen. This twisted Cinderella retelling had me guessing right to the end. Steamy and sweet, the romance is heart-aching and sure to tug at your heartstrings. If you enjoy fairytale retellings, you need this one asap.
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.