Greetings, lords, ladies, peasants, and assorted jesters!
*sweeping bow whilst scattering fairy dust*
(Okay, okay, none of you are ACTUALLY peasants. That would be very rude of me. Of course I’m not suggesting anything of the sort. 😉 )
Today, I’m here as part of the blog tour for my dear friend Allison Tebo’s new book, A Royal Masquerade, the latest installment in her Tales of Ambia series. You can find Alli’s blog here, her author website here, and her Facebook author page here. Meanwhile, I’ll also give you a link to yesterday’s blog tour stop, as well as tomorrow’s.
Enough links for now, aye? Let’s get onto the BOOK REVIEW!!! *rubs hands*
[there will be an abundance of content from both “The Office” and John Mulaney in this post . . . I regret nothing.]
First off, I’ll give you Alli’s official synopsis, since she explains things far better than I could:
Burndee can barely tolerate the mischievous Prince Colin, but the two of them are invariably thrown together in a way that keeps them at one another’s throats. While attending a noblewoman’s wedding, Burndee and Colin’s private feud comes to a climax when Burndee loses his temper and does the unthinkable. With Prince Colin unable to attend to his royal duties and Burndee bound by an inconvenient spell, can the two of them work together long enough to unsnarl the mysterious goings-on around them?
A madcap and magical retelling of The Goose Girl from a unique perspective.
Burndee, you see, is a fairy godfather. Godfather, mind you, not godmother. (He’d be very insistent on that point.) We first met Burndee in Book 1, The Reluctant Godfather–and let me tell you, that title says it all. HE’S NOT VERY GOOD AT HIS JOB.
Poor fellow, he doesn’t even like it. Nobody asked him if he wanted to control the destinies of addlepated humans who can’t even tie their own shoes without getting the laces crossed!
“Lord, what fools these mortals be,” is Burndee’s motto. Given a choice, he’d spend his time and energy on a quieter, more refined pursuit. Like baking. (Which he excels at. Seriously, the food described in these books is to die for.)
But crotchety Burndee is learning . . . and growing. Ever so slowly, true, but growing! The Reluctant Godfather finds him making common cause with one of his charges, a sweet servant girl named Ella. Now, in A Royal Masquerade, he’s forming an uneasy alliance with another godchild: Colin, Crown Prince of Ambia.
The operative word here is ‘uneasy.’ Colin, let it be known, is a high spirited and handsome and charismatic young man a complete imbecile; and the combination of him and Burndee together at a royal wedding is simply too great a temptation for Fate. Tempers flare. Spells go awry. Grand sticky messes are created. It’s tremendous fun–for everyone except our dear protagonist.
Now, I know what you’re thinking:
What does this have to do with “The Goose Girl”?
That’s the genius of A Royal Masquerade: it doesn’t LOOK like a retelling of “The Goose Girl,” until all is revealed in the final act, leaving the audience to let out a collective “OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” at Alli’s cleverness. It’s beautifully plotted and beautifully disguised (‘masquerade’–get it?) I was most impressed.
And I really appreciated Alli’s reasons for crafting the story in this way: as she explained in her Author’s Note, the original “Goose Girl” is much too dark for a G-rated universe like The Tales of Ambia. I was very grateful that Ambia didn’t take a sudden grim turn in this installment, because, after all, my baby sister reads these books and she’s not up for a bloody, gruesome version! But that’s not AT ALL what we get here. It is light-hearted and perfectly clean, and I’d have no scruples about handing it off to a sensitive child. At the same time, though, the stakes are high and the drama is spicy all the way to the end. Winning combination. *thumbs-up*
I had so much fun with Burndee and Colin in this book. I loved watching them bumble around the palace grounds, periodically blowing up at each other, while the whole time, A PRINCESS IN DISGUISE NEEDS THEIR HELP AND THEY DON’T NOTICE TILL IT’S ALMOST TOO LATE.
It’s a frothy, giddy, merry-go-round of a story. A very Wodehousian flavor, I thought . . . Burndee reminds me of a much grumpier, crankier Bertie Wooster, you know? “Hapless fellow attempts to rescue even-more-hapless friend from unbelievably intricate scrape, in hopes that said friend will finally leave him in peace.”
It’s an unusual formula for a fairy tale retelling. Unusual, and most refreshing.
Oh–and I ADORED the “princess” character in this one. I can’t say much more about her, because #spoilers, but she’s a dear. Definitely a fan. ❤
To conclude my review?
One more item of the greatest importance: there is a GIVEAWAY connected with this blog tour! 😀 You can enter here. First prize is a paperback copy of A Royal Masquerade, a fairy-tale-themed candle, a glass goose, and Godiva chocolate. Second prize, meanwhile, is a paperback of A Royal Masquerade plus a $5 Amazon giftcard.
Make haste, lords and ladies! What are you waiting for? Get thee hence and enter the giveaway–and don’t forget to pick up your copy of A Royal Masquerade, either! 😀
*disappears in a puff of fairy dust*