Every Fairy-Tale Ending Has a Price. . . .
Orphaned as a child in the crumbling village of Tulan, Elara is determined to learn her true identity, even if it means wielding a dagger. Meanwhile, in Galandria's royal capital, Princess Wilha stands out as someone to either worship or fear. Though no one knows why the king has always made her conceal her face--including Wilha herself.
When an assassination attempt threatens the peace of neighboring kingdoms, Elara and Wilha are brought face to face . . . with a chance at claiming new identities. However, with dark revelations now surfacing, both girls will need to decide if brighter futures are worth the binding risks.
I bought this book because of Clare’s review! Go read Clare’s review because it is very well-written.
Unfortunately, I had an almost completely different experience from her! First, the good:
1. the cover.
3. court intrigue kinda?
4. sisters! Sisters who don’t automatically love each other, too!
5. damaged people who need help and who get that help but in such a way that they start to fix themselves and it’s great because it shows character depth and growth and other amazing things!
6. love-related misunderstandings that actually felt fresh and new.
7. fast-paced plot movements. Never a dull moment!
8. the ending! Yay!
And now, the bad:
1. super ridiculous plot point that I will hide behind a spoiler tag: View Spoiler »The twins’ parents apparently had a plan to hide one of the twins until she was of age and then switch her out with the other twin. It is ridiculous. Is this a serious plan? They REALLY were going to switch one person (who had been raised as royalty her whole life and knew all the right stuff) with another (who had been raised as a servant and didn’t know shit)? And everything was supposed to be okay? « Hide Spoiler It’s such an insane plot point I completely disbelieved any part of it and it actually ruined the book for me. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to treat it seriously, or if I was supposed to treat it as suspicious because of its source. The twins believed it, but considering who told them the story (the baddies)…idk, it was just a very strange development.
2. the villains were okay, but most of their villainy came from the reader/the twins not knowing wtf they were plotting. I love court intrigue/betrayal, but only when it’s done better than it was in this book.
2b. another thing that drove me insane was the twins’ insistence on believing the baddies WHEN BAD GUYS ARE KNOWN LIARS. And then when the twins learn the truth behind a lie, it’s supposed to be this amazing plot twist. But it’s NOT.
2c. it FELT like I was being emotionally manipulated for bad reasons. Like I was supposed to go “omg, the bad guy said something mean to one of the twins! Aw, poor twin.” and then five chapters later “omg that bad guy was lying! I am now emotionally vindicated because of reasons!”
2d. I don’t appreciate that kind of emotional manipulation! And it’s not actually that shocking when it turns out a bad guy has been lying, okay.
3. the romantic interest did a complete 180 in the last act, seemingly out of nowhere. He hates her. Now he loves her! Boom!(?)
4. the masks were a ridiculous plot device, lets be real. Another wonky View Spoiler »parental plot that made NO SENSE. How can these people rule a country?! Who lets them make such stupid decisions?? « Hide Spoiler
5. That plan was so stupid can I just emphasize it once more!!!
Conclusion: I loved it because of princesses and gaining agency but I also really disliked some aspects of the plot/writing style. The lovely parts were very lovely, but the more ridiculous plot points ruined my enjoyment of the book as a whole.
That said, I DID get the sequel at ALA annual and I’m definitely going to read it and see what happens to the twins. I ended up really liking their characters, so despite my issues with the rest of the book I’m still totally looking forward to reading the next one.
Read: June 10, 2014