If you remember back a few weeks ago, I reviewed the first two books of the Princess Series, The Stepsister Scheme and The Mermaid's Madness, by Jim C. Hines. Today I will conclude the all-too-short series by reviewing the last two books, Red Hood's Revenge and The Snow Queen's Shadow.
From the book/website:
Roudette’s story was a simple one. A red cape. A wolf. A hunter.
Her mother told her she would be safe, so long as she kept to the path. But sometimes the path leads to dark places.
Roudette is the hunter now, an assassin known throughout the world as the Lady of the Red Hood. Her mission will take her to Arathea and an ancient fairy threat. At the heart of the conflict between humans and fairies stands the woman Roudette has been hired to kill, the only human ever to have fought the Lady of the Red Hood and survived:
The princess known as Sleeping Beauty.
Although Hines reveals details about all three princesses throughout the series, the first two books are more about Danielle than Talia or Snow. In this book, the princesses end up in Talia's homeland, a desert kingdom called Arathea. Hines also introduces a new--and slightly terrifying--character, Roudette, the Lady of the Red Hood. Oh, and religion is a side plot, and human magic is apparently sinful while fairy magic is good...
Yeah, there's definitely a lot going on in this book, but it's still as kickass as its predecessors.
From the book/website:
A broken mirror. A stolen child. A final mission to try to stop an enemy they never dreamed they would face.
When a spell gone wrong shatters Snow White’s enchanted mirror, a demon escapes into the world. The demon’s magic distorts the vision of all it touches, showing them only ugliness and hate. It is a power which turns even friends and lovers into mortal foes, one which will threaten humans and fairies alike.
And the first to fall under the demon’s power is the princess Snow White.
This is the bittersweet conclusion to the series.
It did not end the way I expected.
I might have definitely cried. And then I might have felt like hitting something, but I didn't go that far.
Just like the first two books focused on Danielle, and the third on Talia, this one focuses on Snow. Hines tells us more about her childhood and her wintery homeland, Allesandria.
We also learn more about Jakob, Danielle's son, which was one of the most interesting revelations in the book. (And also why I hope Hines returns to this series one day).
Without trying to give away much of the plot, what really struck me with this book were the ethical questions I asked myself. The demon affects anyone it touches, and those people all turn on the princesses, fighting them, trying to kill them. So much bloodshed occurs in this book, but unlike in the previous novels, when the enemies "had it coming," I felt very unsettled by the "enemies" injured and killed. And it made me think about soldiers who fight for their country, even if they don't always agree with what they're doing. I've become more and more of a pacifist in my old age, and this book partly reaffirmed that.
Anyway, the four books are all brilliant, and as happy as I am to have read them, I'm sad the series is over. The ending is certainly fitting, and I understood why Hines ended it on this note, but I was still very sad about it. I just really like happy endings, with everyone alive, and paired off in love. But that only happens in Disney movies, not in brilliant adaptations of fairy tales.
Once again, I'm linking up for Book Club Friday!