Friday, July 12, 2019

The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter

The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter
Release Date - June 25, 2019
Publisher Website - Inkyard Press
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  538 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Classic fairy tales are turned on their heads as strong heroines take charge and save the princes and the world in this magical action and romance-filled trilogy from the New York Times bestselling author of the Everlife novels and the White Rabbit Chronicles, beginning with a teen prophesied to become the Evil Queen from Snow White who refuses to be pigenonholed into her destiny.

Far, far away, in the magical realm of Enchantia, creatures of legend still exist, magic is the norm, and fairytales are real. Except, fairytales aren’t based on myths and legends of the past—they are prophecies of the future. Though Princess Everly Morrow was brought to the mortal realm as an infant, she knows she’s destined to rule a kingdom in Enchantia, thus fulfilling a beloved fairytale. But which one?

At seventeen, when an ability to commune with mirrors manifests, she begins to suspect the truth, and it’s more sinister than anyone ever realized…

She is destined to be Snow White’s greatest enemy, the Evil Queen.

With powers beyond her imagination or control—and determined to prove herself good—Everly returns to the land of her birth, smack dab in the middle of the creepiest forest of all time. There, Everly meets Roth Charmaine, the supposed Prince Charming. Their attraction is undeniable, but their relationship is doomed. As bits and pieces of the prophecy unfold, Everly faces one betrayal after the other, and giving in to her dark side proves more tempting every day. Soon, she will have to choose. Be a hero and walk away, or become the queen—and villain—of her dreams.

The battle between good and evil is on!
Freewill versus fate. What is predetermined and what do we have control over. Gena Showalter's new fairytale series, The Forest Of Good and Evil, tackles the idea of making your own fate and gives a inventive twist to the classic Snow White tale in the process.

One of this books strongest strengths is the world building. The setting feels like a fairytale. The world of Enchantia is vast, and brought to vivid lift. The magic of the world and how it works is also really fascinating. It is the kind of world that is created to be the backdrop to many stories with it being rich in potential. We are introduced to some areas only in passing as we are teased that other fairytales are currently taking place in the land of Enchantia. These other tales, and other lands, have already intrigued me and will provide a great jumping off point for the other books in the series.

Everly is the kind of character that you'll go back and forth on how you feel about them. For most of the novel I couldn't reconcile her actions. She was rash, impulsive, and power hungry. It wasn't until towards the end of the novel that I felt some justification for her actions. I could tell it was supposed to be a gradual turn with each betrayal leading her further down the path to darkness, but many of the things spurring her on could have been cleared up by actually talking with others. She had a lack of trust instantly that was supposed to be a carry over of her treatment in the mortal realm, but I don't personally think that was fleshed out enough for it to resonate the way I expect it was supposed to.

Gena Showalter's background of writing romance novels is evident when reading this. Some of the elements of that genre shine through into this book. They sometimes work and blend into the story and other times they don't quite mesh and stick out. I felt this became particularly evident in how she crafts both her main character and the love interest. Fans of her romance books, however, will probably be happy to discover this aspect of her books made its way into this one at well.

Roth Charmaine, the warrior Prince Charming, reads like my least favourite kind of love interest. He's written as your typical romance alpha male. He is a little softer around the edges than others I have read but his over protective qualities shine steep through a lot of his decisions. It, personally, made it hard for me to like him. He is well respected and does try to make amends for his actions which helped make his character more than just a stereotype.

Free will is a huge part of the story. Everly is told that she has a role to play in the Snow White tale but it isn't clear which one. She thinks her destiny is to be The Evil Queen but the books dives into the notion of self fulfilling prophecy. It grapples with the idea of people actively making choices that lead down a path they feel destined to take which then makes it reality. The book constantly questions if Everly (or any of the characters) could make different choices and have things end up differently.

Family is everything to Everly and these familial ties have the strongest connections in the books. Everly and her bond with her mother and sister is what drives the character and the book. It was nice to see these kinds of bonds driving the main character even more so than any romance. Family connections continue to be an important plot point through out the entire book and made for some of the more emotional elements of the story.

An inventive twist on a classic tale that sets up a much larger world filled with other tales. I may not have entirely loved this one but there is enough there to be enjoyed. I think fans of Gena Showalter's other books will love this one but I think those who are not a fan of her particular writing style will find more of the same here.

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