Friday, July 5, 2013

Book Club Friday: Princess Series (Books One and Two)

If you've ever checked out the books in my library, and then also clicked on my Fantasy Fiction Recommendations, then you've possibly seen my brief mention of the Princess Series by Jim C. Hines. I read the first three books in the quartet two summers ago. Last fall, I finally had the opportunity to buy all four of them, but only recently have I had the time to reread the first three to prepare to read the fourth.

In a nutshell, Hines has taken the classic stories of Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty and completely turned them upside down and inside out. Instead of three passive princesses waiting for their princes to come, these three women routinely go on dangerous missions for the queen.

This week, I will review The Stepsister Scheme and The Mermaid's Madness. Later I will review Red Hood's Revenge and The Snow Queen's Shadow.

 The Stepsister Scheme (Princess, #1)  The Mermaid's Madness (Princess, #2)
Images via goodreads.

From the book/website:

Cinderella–whose real name is Danielle Whiteshore (nee Danielle de Glas)–does marry Prince Armand.  And if you can ignore the pigeon incident, their wedding is a dream come true.

But not long after the “happily ever after,” Danielle is attacked by her stepsister Charlotte, who suddenly has all sorts of magic to call upon.  And though Talia–otherwise known as Sleeping Beauty–comes to the rescue (she’s a martial arts master, and all those fairy blessings make her almost unbeatable), Charlotte gets away.

That’s when Danielle discovers a number of disturbing facts: Armand has been kidnapped and taken to the realm of the Fairies; Danielle is pregnant with his child; and the Queen has her own very secret service that consists of Talia and Snow (White, of course).  Snow is an expert at mirror magic and heavy duty flirting.

Obviously, I loved this book, and not just because kickass princesses are my favorite. It's an exciting story with moral shades of gray, AND Hines writes a surprising twist about Talia's character, revealed near the end. Any retold fairy tale will have its fair share of twists, but this particular one is extra-feminist... I love the different rules involved with magic and spells, the different kinds of fairies, the world-building, everything. 

From the book/website:

There is an old story — you might have heard it — about a young mermaid, the daughter of a king, who saved the life of a human prince and fell in love.

So innocent was her love, so pure her devotion, that she would pay any price for the chance to be with her prince. She gave up her voice, her family, and the sea, and became human. But the prince had fallen in love with another woman.

The tales say the little mermaid sacrificed her own life so that her beloved prince could find happiness with his bride.

The tales lie.

In this book, Hines adds another fairy tale to the mix, that of the Little Mermaid. We all know the Disney version is sanitized, but Hines's retelling is even darker than the original tale. The undine (mermaid) princess Lirea kills her human prince and then succumbs to madness.

Another brilliant book full of twists and turns, not to mention a lot of unresolved sexual tension. Also figuring out the real villain... Lirea is a murderer, but she's also crazy... What made her this way?

I highly recommend these books to anyone who loves fantasy fiction, retold fairy tales, or strong female characters. If you're like me, you love all three, and these books are pure perfection!

As usual, I'm linking up for Book Club Friday!


  1. I think I would really like these. I love fairy tales for grown-ups, and if they're feminist, so much the better.

    1. I tried replying to this from my iPad, and chrome ate my comment...

      The gist of my comment was reaffirming that his books are wonderful, and you should read them!

  2. That book sounds awesome, I'm glad they aren't just little wimps!

    Thanks for linking up!

    1. They're so good! Add them to your to-read list!

      Thanks for hosting. :)

  3. Having read all four, I can't wait to hear your thoughts on the conclusion of the series. I liked it, but it's not what I expected. Maybe that's why I liked it? ;)

    1. My reviews for the third and fourth are up! We need to talk about this sometime. I had to be really vague because of spoilers. Needless to say, I cried.

  4. Also, I'm gonna brag on Belle here: for all you readers who don't know, the author of these books, Jim C. Hines, has totally tweeted at her on more than one occasion...

    1. I still get all giddy when I think about it. Major SQUEE-moment in my life. :D


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