4 out of 5 stars.
I received an ARC of this work.
This is a rewrite of the fairytale Rumplestilstkin, but it took most of the book for that to be apparent. Could have just been me though.
Princess Ari, up until a couple of days ago, was the bastard daughter of the king. This worked for her, since it meant running wild with her best friend, baking, and not being called on her un-princess like behaviour. Then the entire proper royal family is murdered, her twin is King and she is now the heir apparent. She and her brother are only alive because her brother has made a deal with the devil. The Wish Granter appears to the desperate and offers them their hearts’ desire, in return for their souls, to be collected at a later date. The now King Thad traded his soul for the kingship, praying that will be enough to keep his twin safe. Thad has his soul for the next ten years, as long as he does not interfere with the Wish Granter’s shady business dealings and drug manufacturing. Ari has to watch the powerful Fae gain a toehold, then foothold in her brother and her kingdom and decides to fight back.
I love Ari as a heroine. She is a little plump, loves baking, hates being a proper princess and can talk her way out of anything. She is vibrant, friendly and completely someone I would want as a best friend. Her character was well constructed and real, and a spunky, interesting heroine. Sebastian, the love interest, is also a great character. He comes from a broken home, with a drug addicted mother and and abusive father, but he is working to rise above it. He is strong and loyal to his friends.
This is an amazing interpretation of this fairy tale. The Wish Granter is vicious and conniving in a way that forces the protagonists to be clever and on their toes. They are trying to figure out how to legally wrangle themselves out of a contract, as well as possibly assassinate a Fae, so it is a two-pronged attack, which is something a lot of books don’t have at this level. They tend to be “kill the bad guy”, not “maybe litigate your way out of trouble?”. We get some back story on Rumplestiltskin but the fairy tale is twisted around in a complex and amazing new way.