Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine

The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine
Release Date - Feburary 14, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  432 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
An epic, romantic, and action-packed fantasy inspired by the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, about a bastard princess who must take on an evil fae to save her brother’s soul, from C. J. Redwine, the New York Times bestselling author of The Shadow Queen. Perfect for fans of Graceling and the Lunar Chronicles.

The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of SĂșndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop.

Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.

So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.

But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul. 
I was very excited when I heard that the follow up to CJ Redwine's fantastic The Shadow Queen was a story based on the Rumpelstiltskin tale. I don't recall having read one, especially not a young adult retelling, so that only increased my excitement. Sadly, this novel did not quite meet my expectations, even if it had plenty of potential.

The fairytale feel of the first one is not as obvious in this companion novel. The world building, and fantasy elements that felt so developed and defined in the The Shadow Queen feel like an afterthought in this sequel. I did enjoy what was given but wanted more. The idea of a seedier side to this world with drugs, theft, and a pseudo crime syndicate was interesting and it held a lot of potential but was not fleshed out to really maximize on that potential.

The characters, particularly Ari, is where this story shines. Ari is an illegitimate princess made legitimate out of circumstance. The fact that she is not a recognized princess at birth was unique for me. I cannot recall many books that feature such a character. She is also described as being more curvy than most and totally comfortable with her body. She's even presented as having a realistic dose of self confidence. She has a deep love of food, and loves to cook. She was also not afraid to get her hands dirty. She was pretty much the opposite of the usual character found within this type of story and I appreciated that fact. She is loyal, determined, and doesn't back down. Her character is what makes you want to follow the story because she is such a breathe of fresh air.

Thad, her brother who finds himself in the role of King, is equally intriguing, but we never really get to know enough about him. I wanted more from him. I would have liked to get into his head a little more, especially when he was making certain decisions. He felt like this enigma that I wanted to unravel but never really got the chance to.

Sebastian is your typical boy from the wrong side of the tracks character. He has a tortured past and his issues stem from that traumatic past. His character could have certainly been more developed, but he is endearing enough and seeing the cracks in his armour as he begins a tentative friendship with Ari is the highlight of his character. Those cracks blossom into something deeper which gives the romance a little more substance as they do start out by building that friendship first.

Perhaps the biggest hindrance to my enjoyment was the mythology. The Rumpelstiltskin tale is filled with memorable moments and these are only briefly touched upon in the story. The notion of having to guess his name is tossed in as a last minute thing without the mythology behind it being properly addressed. The way in which he is defeated felt a little too conveniently discovered as there was not a lot of build up to the mythology behind the character or the rules of his power.

This Rumpelstiltskin retelling certainly has its magical moments, but didn't quite take the mythology or characters deep enough for my liking. I wanted more from all elements of this story, but ultimately still find this one enjoyable enough to finish. I am curious enough to see which fairytale is adapted next and would certainly read another novel by CJ Redwine in the future. 

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