The eldest daughter is often doomed in fairy tales. But Bella— Isabella Beauchamps, daughter of a wealthy merchant—vows to escape the usual pitfalls.
Anxious to avoid the Traditional path, Bella dons a red cloak and ventures into the forbidden forest to consult with "Granny," the local wisewoman.
But on the way home she's attacked by a wolf—who turns out to be a cursed nobleman! Secluded in his castle, Bella is torn between her family and this strange man who creates marvelous inventions and makes her laugh—when he isn't howling at the moon.
Breaking spells is never easy. But a determined beauty, a wizard (after all, he's only an occasional werewolf) and a little godmotherly interference might just be able to bring about a happy ending.…
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Everything goes as the stories say in the Five Hundred Kingdoms. There are set ways, and things must turn out the way they have always. Thus when Bella goes out in her red cloak to Granny’s home, she discovers that the big bad wolf that goes after her is actually a werewolf; she must face the Tradition of several fairy tales and make her own way. But will she make it?
This is not your average fairytale. Think a combination of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Little Red Riding Hood. With all that together, you would think that it would be a confusing book. Well, not quite, because Ms. Lackey does a good job of making sure anything can happen in the Five Hundred Kingdoms. Though, honestly, this isn’t one of my favorites of her works. I missed the wonder of The Godmother, her first in this series.
I love Bella as a character. She is a strong, intelligent, and capable woman who won’t sit back and let things just happen to her. Though she wouldn’t mind getting married, she realizes the man she is looking for might not exist, so she accepts her singleness. Of course then the romantic aspects of her life start to pick up after she is forced into captivity for three months at Redbuck Manor.
I didn’t much like either of the lead male characters. Sebastian was too weakling, though he did grow a backbone in the end, and Eric was too much of an ass. Plus to top it off, the person I thought was the villain at the very beginning was the villain… I don’t like things that I can guess within the first 2 chapters so much. It leaves little to surprise me.
I think the best thing of this whole book was the Spirit Elemental Servants. I loved the idea of seeing nothing but a bobbing ribbon or candle and such.
On a whole, this is an okay book. I do recommend this book for a good easy, light read.