Hello there! I just read the newest book in The Stolen Kingdom series, and it was wonderful. This novella was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020, so I’m excited to share my thoughts. Thank you, Merie, for sending it to me! ❤
The Cursed Hunter is the third book, a novella, in Bethany Atazadeh’s The Stolen Kingdom series. Each book in the series retells a fairy tale. The first book follows Aladdin, the second follows The Little Mermaid, and The Cursed Hunteris a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The first two are about the same characters, but The Cursed Hunter features an almost completely new set of characters. I would recommend reading the whole series, but you can read this installment as a standalone if you desire. The fourth and final book, The Enchanted Crown, will have all the characters come together and the overarching plot wrap up.
The characters in this story were almost as endearing as in the other books. Nesrin was a protagonist with loads of determination and courage. When her family was drowning in debt, she stepped up and took action. She had a great attitude and didn’t give up, even when her village mocked her for her efforts in searching for a dragon’s egg. She pushed herself to climb the mountains and cliffs again and again, putting her life on the line for the sake of her family. Her adventurous spirit was a lot of fun.
The other main character, the dragon she finds… I can’t say much due to spoilers. But his point of view was super interesting! As you may have guessed, this was “The Beast” character. I wished he could’ve communicated in some way, maybe telepathically. I think that would’ve strengthened his character and bond with Nesrin. Alas, he was really sweet and I hope to see a lot of him in the finale!
The world was amazing! The dragon cliffs were fun, but my favorite setting had to be the land of Jinn. It was so vivid and imaginative–definitely somewhere I wish I could visit. There’s still more room for exploration in this place. I cannot wait to see what The Enchanted Crown will have to offer.
This was a looser retelling than I expected, but I still enjoyed the original story Bethany told. It might be important to mention, though, that falling in love is not what is needed to break the curse. That’s not to say that there’s no hints of romance, but it certainly wasn’t the focus of the book. I wasn’t super satisfied with the way the curse had to be broken because it seemed too easy/anticlimactic. However, the origin of the curse was tied to the overarching plot of the series, so I was happy with that.
Overall, this was a fast read that entertained me to the end. I wished it had been longer! The story was a splendid addition to the series and made me even more excited for the finale. 🙂
What’s your favorite beauty and the beast retelling?
Blue de la Cour has her life planned: hide the magic in her blood and continue trying to turn metal into gold so she can help her city’s homeless. But when her father is murdered and a cruel but powerful woman claims custody of Blue and her property, one wrong move could expose her—and doom her once and for all. The only one who can help? The boy she’s loathed since childhood: Prince Kellan. Kellan Renard, crown prince of Balavata, is walking a thin line between political success and devastating violence. Newly returned from boarding school, he must find a bride among the kingdom’s head families and announce his betrothal—but escalating violence among the families makes the search nearly impossible. He’s surprised to discover that the one person who makes him feel like he can breathe is Blue, the girl who once ruined all his best adventures. When mysterious forces lead to disappearances throughout Balavata, Blue and Kellan must work together to find the truth. What they discover will lead them to the darkest reaches of the kingdom, and to the most painful moments of their pasts. When romance is forbidden and evil is rising, can Blue save those she loves, even if it costs her everything?
Hello dear readers! I haven’t done a book review in a while, but I recently read The Blood Spell by CJ Redwine. I fell in love with the characters, the plot, the world-building, and the uniqueness of it. It’s unlike any Cinderella retelling I’ve read.
The Blood Spell is the fourth book in The Ravenspire Series, a series of standalone fairytale retellings, which means they aren’t necessary to read in order. Each book takes place in a different kingdom in the same world. Even though each book has a new set of characters, there are fun cameos throughout the series, so the past main characters are not forgotten. This does mean that if you read them out of order, you may not recognize the cameos when they happen. The books are still understandable on their own, but it can be fun to read them in order just to smile when the old characters show up again.
The first book, The Shadow Queen, is a Snow White retelling. The second, The Wish Granter, Is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling. The third, The Traitor Prince, is a retelling of The Prince and the Pauper. Finally, as I mentioned above, The Blood Spell is a Cinderella retelling.
Looking back on the series, it is my opinion that The Blood Spell is by far the best book. The Shadow Queen is good, but does have cliche elements. The Wish Granter is better, probably my second favorite of the series, I love the characters in it. The Traitor Prince is also good, the world-building was really interesting. They are all worth reading, but when the first three books are compared to The Blood Spell… there isn’t much competition for me.
The Blood Spell is a truly beautiful novel. Main characters Blue and Kellan are both unique and have a lot of depth. Blue is passionate, yet compassionate, which is a welcome change from some popular YA protagonists. She is also really relatable, both because of her personality and the fact that she loves food and hates mornings. Prince Kellan seems like a charming prince that doesn’t let anything get to him, because that’s a necessary facade to keep up in the nobility. However, he has really sweet and caring personality and will do anything for those he loves. He’s reckless at the beginning of the story, but seeing him develop as a character and a person was one of my favorite parts of reading this book.
The romance between Blue and Kellan is wonderfully done, and CJ Redwine, as a Christian, keeps it clean and enjoyable. Its one of the best romances I’ve read in a long time, and it incorporated so wonderfully into their character arcs and the plot. Blue and Kellan have known each other since they were kids, but do not get along at the beginning of the book. Their teasing banter had me laughing out loud on several occasions. I loved watching them get rid of the assumptions they made about each other and then falling in love. It was so, so fun and left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Honestly, the whole book left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.
The side characters were interesting as well, the most prominent two being Nessa (Kellan’s little sister) and Blue’s Grandmother. I loved both of these characters and what they added to the story. Especially Nessa, who is fierce in her own way, has an adorable relationship with her older brother, and made up her own sign language? Yes, that’s right, she’s that cool.
Another thing I loved about this book is how the plot was so developed and intriguing that the Cinderella aspects felt like they added a new layer to the plot. Rather than making up the entire plot, and therefore making it predictable, they felt necessary and unique. From the “evil stepmother” to the “fairy godmother” to the slippers Blue wears to the ball, everything has a true purpose and brings new aspects to the story.
The world-building was also intriguing, and I loved how we got to see two vastly different sides of the kingdom from Blue and Kellan’s different point of views. Blue is a commoner that is aware of the problem that Balavata (the kingdom) is having with the people, often orphans, that are living on the street. Her heart for the homeless not only reveals her character but also details of daily life in Balavata. Kellan, on the other hand, is the crown prince. He is aware of the problems the country has at large, especially with the nine “head families”, who make Kellan’s life pretty difficult. The best part of having both of these point of veiws, is that Blue and Kellan share these views with each other, which makes each of them more understanding of the kingdom as a whole, and more understanding of each other.
I could honestly go on forever about all the amazing qualities of this book. In fact, the other day Merie asked me if I had anything negative to say about it, and I was surprised to say that I didn’t. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it to absolutely everyone.
Quick reminder that if you are participating in the short story contest, stories are due by March 12. Its coming up quickly! I can’t wait to read everyone’s entries as they come in!