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Friday, March 17, 2017

"The Wish Granter: Book Two of the Ravenspire Novel Series" by C.J. Redwine (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Read FBC's Review of The Shadow Queen Here 
Visit C.J. Redwine's Website Here 

OVERVIEW: The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of SĂșndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop.

Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague, who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.

So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.

But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul.

FORMAT: The Wish Granter is the second novel in the Ravenspire series. The Ravenspire series is made up of standalone novels that are all fairytale retellings. It is not necessary to have read the previous book.

The Wish Granter is told in third person POV. Most of the story is told from Ari and Sebastian's POVs, but there are occasional chapters that are told from The Wish Granter's POV. The Wish Granter stands at 423 pages and was published February 14, 2017 by Balzer + Bray.

ANLYSIS: The Wish Granter comes hot off the heels of C.J. Redwine's first Ravenspire novel, The Shadow Queen. This time instead of retelling a fairytale that is super familiar to everyone, Redwine takes on the challenge of giving a lesser-known fairytale a new twist – Rumpelstiltskin. Of course, Rumpelstiltskin isn't unknown, but it isn't as commonly told in fairytale retellings as Snow White, Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast.

Looking back on The Shadow Queen, one of my biggest issues was the simple fact that while it had some plot twists, it just didn't feel like it had that 'it' factor to make it stand out from the other Snow White fairytale retelling. The Shadow Queen wasn't bad enough to make me stop reading the Ravenspire series, but it definitely lowered my expectations for future books which is why I was so surprised at The Wish Granter. It was a lot better than I expected.

It should be noted that while all the books in the Ravenspire series take part in the same world, they are standalone novels. It isn't necessary to read them all and you don't have to read them in order. There was a brief mention in The Wish Granter of the main character from The Shadow Queen, but it wasn't enough that it ruined anything or even confused the reader. I think the standalone factor really helped as it made it easier to judge each book individually.

The Wish Granter follows the story of Ari, who is a newly crowned princess. Her twin brother was just named king even though he wasn't the next in line to the throne, but he didn't get the title in the traditional way. He did so by making a deal with The Wish Granter, an old fae who holds the ability to help give people their hearts desire but at a huge cost. Ari sets out to find a way to break the deal between her brother and The Wish Granter. With the help of a very broken young weapons master named Sebastian, Ari will stop at nothing to discover The Wish Granter's secrets and find a way to beat him at his own game before he destroys the whole kingdom.

What really stands out in The Wish Granter is the character development. Ari, Sebastian, and even Alistair Teague (The Wish Granter) were all extremely detailed. Ari was a head-strong character. She was confident, knew where she stood in life, and when she made her mind up on something there was no stopping her. She wasn't your average tiny little princess. She loved to eat (sometimes a little too much) and she spent most of her time in the kitchen with the servants she grew up with as opposed to the royal elite.

Sebastian was a broken individual who came from a very dark background filled with neglect, abuse, and poverty. He wasn't handed anything in life and he worked his hardest to remain under the radar of Alistair Teague. His abusive background has made him stone-cold to emotion and reluctant to trust anyone. He doesn't want friends, he just wants to work and earn enough money to eventually gain his freedom. That is until he meets Ari who doesn't take no for an answer and wants to build a friendship.

Alistair Teague is an old fae who is manipulative, evil and just horrible. He preys on the weak and uses their desperation to his advantage. He is a bit of a fantasy drug lord. He manufacturers and distributes a heavy drug that many of the poorer people in the village have become addicted to.

While reading the story, you definitely grew to like Ari and Sebastian. You felt their emotions, their trials and tribulations, and really went on the journey with them. Alistair Teague, on the other hand, you learned to despise because he was evil, manipulative, and just out for only himself. Pretty much everything you come to expect in a villain.

I spend a lot of time talking about the characters in the story because The Wish Granter is very character center. The plot, action, and everything centers around the characters building relationships, changing, and fighting for the good of the kingdom. If the characters hadn't been as detailed or as captivating, I don't think the story would have been as good as it turned out to be.

There is some romance in this novel, but it develops in a way that is realistic. It also isn't 'forever and ever' love and more of what I would call a puppy love romance. Given the age of the characters, I think it is believable and helps add some depth to the novel.

C.J. Redwine does a really good job of taking the story of Rumpelstiltskin and giving it a new take. There were familiar elements, but for the most part this is an original retelling. I would definitely tell people who like fairytale retellings but didn't like The Shadow Queen to give The Wish Granter a try.

Overall, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed The Wish Granter. I really liked the characters and was immediately captivated by the story.  


Steph said...

This series sounds like something I'd enjoy. I do like reimagined fairy tales. :-) Thanks for bringing it to my attention.


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