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The Princess series wraps up with a friend gone bad and a lot of bloodshed.

The Snow Queen"s Shadow

DAW, 2011, 333 pages

When a spell gone wrong shatters Snow White's enchanted mirror, a demon escapes into the world. The demon's magic distorts the vision of all it touches, showing them only ugliness and hate. It is a power that turns even friends and lovers into mortal foes; one that will threaten humans and fairies alike.

Snow pulls a Willow, and lesbian angst. (Oh yeah, that"s also Snow pulling a Willow.)Collapse )

Verdict: The Princess books certainly wouldn't make my Best Fantasy list, but they're fine, enjoyable adventures with a surprisingly detailed amount of worldbuilding and character development. The Snow Queen's Shadow brings it to a bittersweet conclusion; I would definitely recommend reading the previous books first.

Also by Jim C. Hines: My reviews of The Stepsister Scheme, The Mermaid's Madness, and Red Hood's Revenge.

My complete list of book reviews.
They've taken on the Evil Queen and Ariel; now it's time to beat the crap out of Little Red Riding Hood.

Red Hood"s Revenge

Penguin Books, 2010, 352 pages

Wars may end. But vengeance is forever.

Roudette's story was a simple one. A red cape. A wolf. A hunter. Her mother told her she would be safe, so long as she kept to the path. But sometimes the path leads to dark places. Roudette is the hunter now, an assassin known throughout the world as the Lady of the Red Hood. Her mission will take her to the country of Arathea and an ancient fairy threat.

At the heart of the conflict between humans and fairies stands the woman Roudette has been hired to kill, the only human ever to have fought the Lady of the Red Hood and survived - the princess known as Sleeping Beauty.

Everyone level up now: Red Riding Hood is a 12th-level Assassin!Collapse )

Verdict: Red Hood's Revenge is an enjoyable continuation of the Princess series. This is the third book, and while in a lot of ways it's more polished and mature than the first two, it's probably not my favorite, which is not to say it's not good. If you like light fantasy with a variety of interesting characters good and bad, most of them women, examining a lot of issues that often get glossed over in genre fantasy but without using them as sledgehammers, I really recommend these books.

Also by Jim C. Hines: My reviews of The Stepsister Scheme and The Mermaid's Madness.

My complete list of book reviews.
Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty vs. the Little Mermaid — still not as dumb as it sounds.

The Mermaid"s Madness

Daw Books, 2009, 339 pages

There is an old story — you might have heard it — about a young mermaid, the daughter of a king, who saved the life of a human prince and fell in love.

So innocent was her love, so pure her devotion, that she would pay any price for the chance to be with her prince. She gave up her voice, her family, and the sea, and became human. But the prince had fallen in love with another woman.

The tales say the little mermaid sacrificed her own life so that her beloved prince could find happiness with his bride.

The tales lie.

Better than Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley, or anything else Disney.Collapse )

Verdict: An equally entertaining sequel, good enough to keep me reading the series. The Princess books are well-executed traditional fantasy with a few clever fairy tale twists, and notably full of female characters — not just one or two "strong women" but a whole cast of women, good and bad. In fact, if you think about it, the men are, while decent characters also, entirely supporting cast with minor roles, who do little to further the plot.... I SEE WHAT UR DOING THAR JIM C HINES.

Also by Jim C. Hines: My review of The Stepsister Scheme.

My complete list of book reviews.
Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty as Charlie's Angels — it's actually not as dumb as it sounds.

The Stepsister Scheme

Daw, 2009, 344 pages

You know how all those old fairy tales take you through lots of scary adventures till you finally reach that inevitable line: "And they lived happily ever after..." Guess what? It's not true. Life in never-never land isn't all sweetness and light. Cinderella - whose real name is Danielle Whiteshore (nee Danielle de Glas) - does marry Prince Armand. And (if you can ignore the pigeon incident) their wedding is a dream-come-true.

But not long after the "happily ever after," Danielle is attacked by her stepsister Charlotte, who suddenly has all sorts of magic to call upon. And though Talia - otherwise known as Sleeping Beauty - comes to the rescue (she's a martial arts master, and all those fairy blessings make her almost unbeatable), Charlotte gets away.

That's when Danielle discovers a number of disturbing facts: Armand has been kidnapped and taken to the realm of the Fairies; Danielle is pregnant with his child; and the Queen has her very own Secret Service that consists of Talia and Snow (White, of course). Snow is an expert at mirror magic and heavy-duty flirting.

Can three princesses track down Armand and extract both the prince and themselves from the clutches of some of fantasyland's most nefarious villains?

So imagine a trio of Disney Princesses if Disney didn"t suck.Collapse )

Verdict: Think of The Stepsister Scheme as a slightly feminist Fables, with traces of Terry Pratchett and Piers Anthony (the non-skeevy traces). It's not doing anything original, but what it does, it does well. A good read if you're in the mood for fun, light fantasy.

My complete list of book reviews.

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