I LOVED Gideon the Ninth, and I have Harrow waiting for when my brain is up to the task of reading it, so obviously I jumped when this gem appeared on NetGalley. It had been on my list for a while, and I was anxiously waiting to be able to read it. Tamsyn Muir has a masterfully sarcastic subversive writing style and I can’t get enough.
On to the story. I wasn’t as convinced at first, as Floralinda was rather dull (typical princess, you know, of the fainting at every difficulty variety). Then Cobweb showed up – a bottom-0f-the-garden fairy / chemist who is annoyed at all required fairy tasks and generally unapologetically awful. Floralinda was puzzled at Cobweb’s disdain of gender, and so just assigned her a gender (girl) instead of trying to wrap her head around it. Like I said, very steroetypically princessy. Cobweb pretty much just rolled her eyes and said whatever I don’t care.
The tower they were in was 40 flights tall and had a new monster at each successive level for the princes to fight.
Then, as winter approached and it became clear no princes were coming (that hadn’t already been eaten by the diamond encrusted dragon on the first level, because of courses), she started thinking about how she might get out by going down.
Thanks to Cobweb’s ingenuity and exasperation, and rather a lot of dumb luck, at least at first, they begin to make their way down the tower. As I’ve come to expect from Tamsyn Muir, it was rather bloody and gory, and the monsters were intriguing and the fight scenes well-written.
Floralinda grows as she makes her way down, and I actually rather loved the ending twist. Cobweb grew on me, and I heartily enjoyed Floralinda & Cobweb’s changing relationship as the story progressed.
Highly recommend, especially if you’re a fan of the princess tales from a few decades ago where the princesses aren’t golden and empty-headed and actually want to do things for themselves, thanks.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Subterranean Press for providing an e-arc to review