Rating: 4/5 stars
We all know the Disney stories of happily ever after’s and the princesses getting their prince, but did you know Cinderella-I’m talking about the Brothers Grimm version-is actually quite gruesome! Like ugly stepsister cutting off her foot to try and squeeze into that glass slipper gruesome! Well, Ava Reid is certainly aware of these darker stories as Juniper & Thorn is based on once such tale- The Juniper Tree by the Brothers Grimm. After reading this author’s first book, The Wolf and the Woodsman, I knew I needed to get my hands on this and I was not disappointed!
Marlinchen and her two sisters, witches all, live with their wizard father in a home that has managed to stay steadfast to the old ways in an everchanging city. Her days are spent taking care of her father and sisters and the clients that seem to frequent their home less and less with the cities change from magic to industry. Seeking to appease their father, who has been cursed and is now a tyrant who keeps the girls locked away, Marlinchen and her sisters treat clients with charm and outdated spells all the while keeping their heads down. But one night the three daughters sneak out and attend a showing at the ballet where Marlinchen meets a captivating man-in fact the star of the ballet itself! With her sister’s turning away from her in anger and her desire to see the dancer growing, Marlinchen starts to come into her own and learn who she is independent of her family. However, with this new sense of self, the threat of her father’s anger and magic grows and resentment from her sibling’s mounts. All the while, a monster is hunting in her home city of Oblya and Marlinchen may need to look within to keep those she loves safe and find who she really is.
I found this to be such a haunting and captivating story. It was dark and had very uncomfortable descriptions at moments, but it was such a good read! If you are looking for a dark fantasy retelling, look no further! Ava Reid has done it again!
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