I’ve been obsessed with T. Kingfisher’s horror since I read The Hollow Places, and I requested this one thinking it was a horror – it isn’t but it is a great introduction to T. Kingfisher’s fantasy and I’m already adding more to my wishlist for my birthday. This dark fairytale was a lot more heart-warming than I expected and I’m utterly in love with these characters.
Thanks to Titan Books for the eARC of this book. It has not affected my honest review.
About the book:
After years of seeing her sisters suffer at the hands of an abusive prince, Marra―the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter―has finally realized that no one is coming to their rescue. No one, except for Marra herself.
Seeking help from a powerful gravewitch, Marra is offered the tools to kill a prince―if she can complete three impossible tasks. But, as is the way in tales of princes, witches, and daughters, the impossible is only the beginning.
On her quest, Marra is joined by the gravewitch, a reluctant fairy godmother, a strapping former knight, and a chicken possessed by a demon. Together, the five of them intend to be the hand that closes around the throat of the prince and frees Marra’s family and their kingdom from its tyrannous ruler at last.
What did I think?
I was looking forward to this one, but I’ll be honest, it wasn’t top of my anticipated reads list. Which made me love it even more when it surprised me by being incredible. I read this on the last day of March and it snuck in as my favourite book of the month – beating out 76 other books for the title which is no small feat. I highlighted so many lines in the eARC for this one, and nearly broke my own pre-birthday book ban immediately to buy a copy.
T. Kingfisher’s writing is as funny and easy to read as ever, with gorgeous description melded in with charming dialogue. This felt exactly like reading a fairytale, and I was suckered in from the first line, reading the majority of it in one day. The start of the book had split timelines, cutting in scenes from the past with Marra’s attempts at her impossible quests, and it worked really well. It had me invested very quickly in Marra’s story while showing me how she reached the point of wanting to kill a prince. I was also absolutely dreading what I knew must be coming as the prince’s actions were revealed.
This is hard to review because I loved so many aspects of it. The characters gave me huge found family vibes (and for clearursht participants, Agnes and Lady Fox have huuuge Narrator and Ariadne energy) and I was absolutely in love with them all by the end. Marra’s relationship with her family, distant but loving, warmed my heart and her friendships with the dust-witch, Agnes and Fenris (god bless Fenris) were so sweet that I just want to read epics about them all living their lives peacefully.
The plot was interesting and mysterious enough that I didn’t want to put the book down for a minute, and I loved the way it felt like a classic quest – impossible tasks, expanding the party, finding unexpected allies – the whole thing just gave me this desire to read more and more fantasy like this. Which is a little annoying, because I don’t know any other fantasy quite like this. I’m going to be making everyone I know read this book when it releases, and I’m not remotely embarrassed about that. It’s just that good.
Release Date: 26th April 2022