Title: The Wish Granter
Author: C.J. Redwine
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins imprint)
The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of Súndraille's king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence that he can't stop. Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother's ascension to the throne wasn't fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague, who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown. So Ari recruits the help of Thad's enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague's criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair's weaknesses, saving Ari's brother—and herself. But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can't outwit him, she'll lose Sebastian, her brother...and her soul.
The Wish Granter is dark and devious, filled with plots, secrets, and a search for power.
Ari is stubborn and unexpected. Raised in the palace but not with a sense of honour or importance, her sudden rise to princessdom and her brother's equally sudden crowning have left her slightly lost. Especially when she discovers a rather sinister character is behind their sudden rise in power. But once she knows who Teague is, what her brother signed away in order to keep them safe, she falls headfirst into planning and plotting. The problem is that only so much is known, only so much is willing to be talked about, and Teague is more ruthless than she could imagine.
Sebastian can't wait to be on his own. Away from his abusive father, his drug addict mother. He wants out, needs to get out, and this chance to work at the palace could be the start of something. Of saving up enough coin in order to leave, to find a safe place of his own. Until the new princess walks in wanting iron weapons and knowledge of Teague, a man Sebastian knows too well for his liking. He's a broken, battered young man, bruised and scarred. He swore he never become his father, never hurt people for money or power, but who knows how far he'll be pushed in order to save Ari.
There are moments of lightness, of Ari struggling to be a proper princess, but many more serious moments. Assaults and kidnappings. Organized crime, smuggling and drug addiction. Parental abuse. The serious tone carries through the book, weighing it down. This is a rather sinister retelling, the heroine and hero are up against a far more ruthless and dangerous Rumpelstiltskin than I'd expected. The stakes are high and the consequences are brutal. It felt like the serious tone dragged the story along near the middle and towards the ending. This is only loosely connected to the previous book, the previous kingdom mentioned a couple of times, but I imagine that if you enjoyed The Shadow Queen you'll also enjoy this.
(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)