she was the daughter of the warrior king and the runaway queen, and she had made her choice.sarah henning
Series: Kingdoms of Sand and Sky #1
Release Date: July 7th 2020
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction | Fantasy | Retelling | Romance
Page Count: 368
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in collaboration with Terminal Tours. Thank you!
Goodreads Summary: The Princess Will Save You is a YA fantasy adventure inspired by The Princess Bride, in which a princess must rescue her stable boy true love, from the acclaimed author of Sea Witch, Sarah Henning.
When a princess’s commoner true love is kidnapped to coerce her into a political marriage, she doesn’t give in—she goes to rescue him.
When her warrior father, King Sendoa, mysteriously dies, Princess Amarande of Ardenia is given what would hardly be considered a choice: Marry a stranger at sixteen or lose control of her family’s crown. But Amarande was raised to be a warrior—not a sacrifice. In an attempt to force her choice, a neighboring kingdom kidnaps her true love, stable boy Luca. With her kingdom on the brink of civil war and no one to trust, she’ll need all her skill to save him, her future, and her kingdom.
I’m a little conflicted about what to rate this book but it is between 3 and 3.5 stars for me. Firstly, going into this book I actually didn’t know it was a retelling. The cover and title is what drew me in along with the promise of a strong female main character in its summary. I’ve seen The Princess Bride a single time years ago as a teenager and…I didn’t like it. I also don’t remember much of it so this review is truly based solely on the book’s own merit without any kind of bias attached to it.
I wasn’t disappointed in the delivery of a strong female main character. Amarande, while not as complex as you typically see in the YA fantasy genre, has a sweetness to her simplicity. She is determined to save the love of her life and absolutely nothing is going to stop her from achieving it. I liked that she refused to let others dictate what she was going to do and that she wasn’t afraid to journey on her own without any support. I liked that the book slowly built up her relationship with her father with the way it would show flashbacks to words of wisdom he told her but I do wish it would’ve touched more on Amarande’s grief. With her father being the only parent she’s ever known and them having such a close relationship, I would’ve expected to see more emotionality out of her over his death than was shown. I found Luca to be so incredibly sweet. He was the perfect counterpart to Amarande’s fierceness with his more understanding nature and his easy way of connecting to people and animals, even to the pirates who kidnapped him. His love of Amarande was so pure and put a smile on my face multiple times while reading. I also really enjoyed the pirates as side characters, especially Ula. They are surprisingly complex for side characters and it’s easy to see that their relationships with each other are complicated and full of unspoken things. I hope to see them featured in the sequel!
The plot ran a bit slowly for me, especially in the beginning. There’s a lot of build-up in the first 10 chapters without much happening which made it a struggle for me to get into, but by the middle of the book I flew through the pages. However, I do think there are parts of the book that could’ve been cut without losing any of the enjoyment of the story such as Renard’s point of view. I would’ve rather had the surprise of his character appearing at different times than knowing exactly what he’s doing as he’s doing it. The names of the characters and places were also difficult for me to pronounce and keep straight while reading. I mixed up Dunixi and Urtzi countless times. I also wish there was a bit more passion and realness to the romance between Amarande and Luca. Their affection almost comes off as polite rather than having any desperate edge to it which you would expect from a character who crosses a treacherous desert all alone to save her love.
Lastly, this is surprisingly a book I would recommend checking out the content warnings for. I’m usually pretty unbothered by everything in novels but this book contains a scene of torture that literally turned my stomach. I had to skip pages which I’ve never done in a book before so please just be aware. It truly is a disturbing scene.
I am on to the next book for which I have high hopes for after that huge twist at the ending. The entire time while I read this book, I kept wondering who “The Queen” was that owns the title of the second book The Queen Will Betray You. I hope my heart isn’t broken by the promise of that title!