*I was given a copy of Princess of Souls in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Bonnier Books UK and Alexandra Christo*
For sixteen years, Selestra Somniatis has been trapped in a castle on the Floating Mountain, preparing to take her mother’s place as King Seryth’s right hand. Tied by blood to steal souls for the immortal King of the Six Isles, the Somniatis Witch foretells the deaths of participants in the Festival of Predictions. To outrun your fate is to save your soul and steal the King’s immortality. But if you die, your soul is forfeit. And though thousands have tried, nobody has ever beaten death.
As a soldier in King Seryth’s army, Nox Laederic is an unlikely candidate for the Festival, but he has no plans to die at the hands of the King or his witches. His plan is more akin to violent revenge: steal the King’s immortality and kill the entirety of his court, starting with Selestra herself.
But when Selestra touches Nox in her very first prediction, she sees her own death alongside his–their fates are unmistakably intertwined, and Selestra is no longer safe in the only home she’s ever known. Nox and Selestra will have to enter a turbulent alliance in order to survive long enough to free the Six Isles from King Seryth’s clutches and escape the new fate that hunts them.
Princess of Souls was my second read from Alexandra Christo and I loved it. Fairytale retellings are one of my favourite genres of books and this one was done very well. For those who don’t know Princess of Souls is a Rapunzel retelling, which is one of my favourite stories. The beauty of this book is how subtle the references are, bar a few which were obvious for comedic reasons. The essence of Rapunzel was always present, but Princess of Souls was very much its own story.
The world building was incredibly rich but at no point did I find myself lost and confused. The pacing at the beginning of the story was set out carefully and it really allowed the Six Isles to grow before your very eyes. After learning about each isle I would love to see a book set in each one, especially as a few of them have different types of witches.
Selestra, one of our main characters, was wonderful. She is a witch from the Somniatis line and is therefore sworn to serve the king once she turns eighteen. She is taught that her powers will not allow her to touch anyone without her seeing their death. Leading to her living a lonely life. Until the age of sixteen Selestra is sheltered within a tower with only one friend. Throughout the course of the book you see her go through a lot. From this she grows immensely as a character and I really liked her.
Nox, our second main character, is a soldier in the kings army. His fate is tied to Selestra in their first meeting and it only goes downhill from there. He is very headstrong, but has a goofy side. I really liked his character, even when he was planning his revenge to kill the king and Selestra.
When it comes to Alexandra Christo’s work I have come to expect an epic adventure and Princess of Souls did not let me down. I won’t say too much as I don’t like posting spoilers but I’ll give you three words: hot air balloon.
If you were a fan of To Kill A Kingdom then you absolutely need to read Princess of Souls. I’m not sure which is my favourite of the two just yet, To Kill A Kingdom just about has the edge as it’s about sirens, but Princess of Souls was just as amazing.
Princess of Souls is available October 11th!
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