Jun 17, 2019

ARC Review--The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter

Classic fairy tales are turned on their heads as strong heroines take charge and save the princes and the world in this magical action and romance-filled trilogy from the New York Times bestselling author of the Everlife novels and the White Rabbit Chronicles, beginning with a teen prophesied to become the Evil Queen from Snow White who refuses to be pigenonholed into her destiny.

Far, far away, in the magical realm of Enchantia, creatures of legend still exist, magic is the norm, and fairytales are real. Except, fairytales aren’t based on myths and legends of the past—they are prophecies of the future. Though Princess Everly Morrow was brought to the mortal realm as an infant, she knows she’s destined to rule a kingdom in Enchantia, thus fulfilling a beloved fairytale. But which one?

At seventeen, when an ability to commune with mirrors manifests, she begins to suspect the truth, and it’s more sinister than anyone ever realized…

She is destined to be Snow White’s greatest enemy, the Evil Queen.

With powers beyond her imagination or control—and determined to prove herself good—Everly returns to the land of her birth, smack dab in the middle of the creepiest forest of all time. There, Everly meets Roth Charmaine, the supposed Prince Charming. Their attraction is undeniable, but their relationship is doomed. As bits and pieces of the prophecy unfold, Everly faces one betrayal after the other, and giving in to her dark side proves more tempting every day. Soon, she will have to choose. Be a hero and walk away, or become the queen—and villain—of her dreams.

The battle between good and evil is on!

From the bestselling author of the Intertwined series and The White Rabbit Chronicles, Gena Showalter brings us a new series that’s rich in fairy tale lore and will set us on a new course of the stories we only thought we knew! The Evil Queen is the start of a new series called The Forest of Good and Evil. This was a remarkable start to the series and I cannot wait to see what will happen next.

The story starts off like any other, once upon a time in a land far, far away live two girls and their parents—except we soon learn that Everly and Harley are average girls living average lives…until all that changes. Naturally, the girls aren’t so average after all. They learn that their family heritage isn’t like normal kids’, they are tied to a magical world that has living incarnations of fairy tale characters. Fate says that Everly will the evil queen from Snow White while Harley’s role isn’t clear. Everly is more than willing to journey to this new world, anything to escape the world she lives in.

Everly makes some startling revelations about herself and family upon coming into this new world known as Enchantia. She soon finds herself among new friends, one of which is named Roth Charmaine, who she soon realizes must be Prince Charming with that kind of name. As Everly searches for someone who is connected to her true identity she must learn to navigate a world where magic exists and not everyone can be trusted and there’s danger at every turn.

I’ll admit that this book had a rough start for me. There are books I always seem to struggle with when on a Kindle and I think it’s due to formatting issues. Who would’ve thought formatting was such a godsend for understanding the story in the beginning chapters? Things weren’t quite clear in those early chapters that seemed more like a predecessor for what was to come. One chapter I did catch onto like that, but the one before that seemed more like a prologue that wasn’t so aptly named, but I digress. These are just little me issues based on how I was reading this one.

Since I pretty much love fairy tales of all kinds, including retellings and reimaginings, I was super excited to get into this one! One that seemed to be more like an Evil Queen origin story. While it is that in some ways, it’s also so much more. This book will make you look at fairy tales different from here on out. What makes a villain and what makes a hero? Who gets to give these titles out anyway? Perhaps the Evil Queen was always the heroine of the story and Snow White was there to ruin everything…in a way, the TV series Once Upon a Time did this too and you find yourself rooting for Everly whatever her role in this world may be. She questions it endlessly as well as the other people who are in her new life.

This book felt rather long while reading on a Kindle, which is partly why I don’t like reading on my Kindle as often. Lol. Though the hardcover says it’s 384 pages, it felt longer when reading with no actual pages to turn. That being said, I do feel like the pacing is a bit rough. There were a lot of ups and downs, let’s say that. But I never found myself wanting to thrown in the towel, the story was compelling in that way.

There was a bit of romance too! I loved how bold and brash Everly was. She was an unexpected surprise to Roth who was used to girls fawning over him and while Everly was attracted to the prince, I wouldn’t say she swooned. She told him like it is and was just filled with so much sass. I’d definitely be besties with this girl.

And like most fairy tales of old, this story got pretty dark. Everly was falling more and more into the role that fate chose for her and at times, you just kind of wanted her to go all at it! Like with many twisted villain stories, you see that Everly didn’t have it easy from the moment she came into Enchantia and everyone was pretty much against her because of her destined role to come. I felt for the girl, let’s say that.

By the end, when you expect for the magical fairy tale ending to come, it does, but it doesn’t end with “and they lived happily ever after,” in fact, there seems like there is still a lot that needs to be done. I am puzzled by this as I initially thought I heard that this series of undetermined length would focus on other fairy tale characters as well. That’s not to say that it still can’t turn out that way. I could see there be more of a gathering when the grand finale comes into play. I guess we will have to wait and see what time will tell us.

The Evil Queen is the book meant for fairy tale fans! This was one of the most intriguing and compelling retellings I’ve read in a while. It wasn’t without its flaws, but I think that adds to its charm as well. I cannot wait to see what Showalter will do next with this sure to be a hit series!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

The Evil Queen releases June 25, 2019

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