A lost princess. A dark puppet master. And a race against time—before all is lost.– GoodReads
I am trash for retellings, especially ones where I particularly like the Barbie film versions (please see my obsession with 12 Dancing Princesses & House of Salt and Sorrows for reference). I’m also a big fan of the Princess and the Pauper Barbie movie. And thus began my pre-publication obsession with this. I was incredibly lucky to have gotten an ARC of it and I only wish I hadn’t been in such a slump and then of course the whole finger thing, it did delay me A LOT in reading this but I eventually settled down and got to it and I’m so glad I did.
This is a fantastically fun novel. When a book is fun I tend to just really appreciate it so much more. There were cheesy times and maybe a little focus on romance when it should have been on magic given the plot but that just made me enjoy it more! The pacing is pretty good, and I love that this is switching chapters between our Princess and Pauper and so we’re always caught up on them both, no too long cliffhangers where you’re dying and waiting six chapters to find out what happens.
The girls are great but I’m definitely a bigger fan of Ria than I am of Rani, but, again, they’re both great. Is it okay that I’m a total fan over the fact they were born on Diwali? They’ve got lots of side characters to help them each in their adventures and I have to tip my hat, the authors did an incredible job hashing out these side characters when it would have been so easy to just use them as plot fillers.
Magic system was super intriguing and Shima was by far the superior character of this whole book. I ADORED her and now want a Shima of my own. Snake with sarcasm, sass, and a heart of gold? Puh-lease like I was gonna even care about anyone else, jk jk. There’s also this curious ‘absence’ of magic in the land that gets addressed through the plot and I was all there for that I thought that was great, especially given the snakespeakers in comparison to the rest of the perceived world.
I wish we would have gotten to see more of the world while Rani was traveling and learned more of the lore/magic system because there are some true hidden gems there but I’m crossing my fingers for that in the next book! Also the other reason for 4 (3.75 but at that point that’s being nit picky so we’re saying 4) instead of 5 cups of coffee was that I was a little disappointed just how tidy and happy the ending was (BUT THEN AGAIN THAT EPILOGUE). But I actually think that’s a me problem, the cynic in me needs help.
So if you want a super fun novel that is adorable and a South Asian retelling….I’ll shove this book your way. Thank you SO much to HarperTeen for an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion, and I am so sorry in the delay of my review. 4/5 cups of coffee from me, and I’ve already added -the untitled- book 2 to my tbr.