It’s no secret to anyone who has known me very long how much I love the work of T. Kingfisher. I will wax poetic about the world of the White Rat at any small (or sometimes nonexistent) opportunity, and so it is hardly surprising that I requested this book as soon as I saw it.
So thanks to the author, as well as Tor via NetGalley for the review copy!
After years of seeing her sisters suffer at the hands of an abusive prince, Marra—the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter—has finally realized that no one is coming to their rescue. No one, except for Marra herself.
Seeking help from a powerful gravewitch, Marra is offered the tools to kill a prince—if she can complete three impossible tasks. But, as is the way in tales of princes, witches, and daughters, the impossible is only the beginning.
On her quest, Marra is joined by the gravewitch, a reluctant fairy godmother, a strapping former knight, and a chicken possessed by a demon. Together, the five of them intend to be the hand that closes around the throat of the prince and frees Marra’s family and their kingdom from its tyrannous ruler at last.
This is the story of Marra, who is the third-born princess of a small nation which sits in between two larger nations. The only thing keeping those nations from conquering the small country is a marriage between their princess and the prince of the northern kingdom. The prince, however, is abusive, and after one sister dies and the other suffers, Marra takes it upon herself to rescue them no matter what it takes. So, Marra visits the dust-wife, who gives her three impossible tasks in exchange for her help. Marra goes off on her quest with the dust-wife, her demon chicken, a bone-dog, a fairy godmother, and a former knight and many shenanigans are had.
I really liked Marra as a character. She was incredibly easy for me to cheer for, this youngest, shyest princess who seems a rather unlikely heroine but really steps up when her sister needs her help. She really grew as a character over the course of the story and the Marra we see at the end isn’t the small, shy, convent-raised girl anymore. The characters she meets and befriends on the way are also fantastic in their own ways. The dust-wife and her demon chicken were often hilarious, Fenris was super sweet, and Bonedog was absolutely adorable (for a bone-dog).
The writing flowed well and made this a book that was incredibly easy to read and hard to put down, as is typical of my experience with T. Kingfisher. The world was well built, with all sorts of interesting and unique creatures and people in it. It was just a wonderful unique sort of fairy tale.
All told, I loved it. I was expecting to like it, given the author, but I definitely loved this one just as I love the White Rat novels (and interestingly, I found at least one nod to the White Rat in this one, which was fantastic). I can’t wait to read her next book. 5/5 stars!~