In this Snow White with a twist, Katiyana must overcome her fears to face the evil stepmother who is poisoning her kingdom. And, her main ally Lian, must overcome his past with the wicked queen to save Katiyana.
The plot: Set in the same world as The Cold King, Katiyana is a young princess neglected in her father’s grief. In am effort to overcome his grief, the father foolishly chooses a bride that was related to his late wife. In a single night of blood and grief, Katiyana must run into the woods to escape the evil queen’s machinations. In the woods she finds both strangers and family, a haven and a prison where she learns to survive.
Meanwhile King Lian of a neighboring kingdom, known as the Fire King behind his back, is suffering as the evil queen takes one by one all the people he loves.
Desperate to end the Queen’s reign, the two join in a futile endeavor to end the suffering imposed on both lands by her wicked ways.
The characters: Katiyana is a wild thing. Having grown up in the woods she is both honest and skittish. She doesn’t like being on the ground and abhors crowds. She often acts childish, which could be a result of her limited access to people, which can be very grating on the nerves. Still, when push comes to shove she backs her play with the knife up her sleeve and the harsh but true words others are too afraid to speak. I can understand her antics due to her limited contact with the outside world and appreciated her character’s growth throughout the novel.
Lian on the other hand…could not stand this childesh oaf of a King. He had temper tantrums like a two year old and manhandled people whose loyalty is above question. He constantly showed selfish endeavors and then tried to foist off his shame by endeavoring to shame those around him. I quiet often fought the urge to throw my Kindle whenever he went off on his rants and physical altercations with women. That is right, he never once manhandled Bennet, he loyal knight. Oh no, he saved it for his trusted personal servant and Katiyana. Then he wondered why the women ran from him. If I were Kat, I’d have put my sleeve dagger where it would have done the most good. Ultimately he got worse not better. He would have plunged the kingdoms into war if it weren’t for Kat outsmarting him. He learned nothing. Jerkwad. I hated him.
The dwarves were fantastic! I loved the idea (view spoiler) and I am confident in believing we will be having a book on each of them. I am intrigued how she gets them out of the forest and liked the previous retelling enough to riskthe reading.
Overall I found the story to be a step down from the previous in the retelling world this author has set forth. The Fire King was a weak follow for The Cold King. I felt that the characters were juvenile and the King got off easy haven’t had to work toward his own redemption. Each character in a fairy tale must work through their own problems and meet in the middle. This book did not deliver. The only saving grace was how intriguing the plotline was. The idea of the dwarves was great. The book was nothing fantastic. A good, shallow read when you don’t want anything deep or distracting; but as far as a retelling goes this was just a bust.