YA Book Review: The Forgotten Sister

The Forgotten Sister, by Dalila Caryn, a YA fantasy, is a fairy tale retelling with strong characters and a story that will immerse readers from start to finish. A retelling of the classic tale Sleeping Beauty; in this version she is Roisin, the younger half-sister of Rowan. Cursed by her grandmother, the Fairy Queen, princess Roisin is sent away from the palace to live with her fairy Aunts in a hidden, magical wood. Though she is only a child herself, Rowan vows to become a knight and protect Roisin, pledging her love, loyalty, and even a gift of eternal life (given from her own half-fairy blood) to her.

The bulk of this story focuses on not Roisin, who grows in beauty and grace but remains hidden – but on Rowan and her life as she endures years of separation from her sister at the castle. The kingdom awaits Roisin’s 16th birthday and her return. But they and the kingdoms around them are plagued by the dark magic of Sorcha, the Fairy Queen – and Rowan believes the only way to stop Sorcha is to fight her herself. But her training with the Knights of the Rose doesn’t stop her nightly dreams that it is she – not Sorcha – that will be the one to bring death upon her sister.

As the day of her sister’s return draws nearer, Rowan knows she must make decisions that will help not only her sister but also her kingdom (as its future Queen) and others. She befriends a prince of a distant kingdom, Gavin, through letters, and their correspondence quickly becomes one of the strongest friendships of the novel. Undoubtedly the most poignant relationship in the novel is between Rowan and Roisin; the love they feel as sisters when they are young, and the friendship they feel each year when they meet secretly in the Fairy Circle is beautifully written. But it is the intriguing connection between Rowan and her Fairy Queen grandmother Sorcha that is the greatest mystery and powerful undercurrent of the novel. Readers will be drawn to Rowan as a strong female heroine and her fierce love and loyalty for her family and friends.

The Forgotten Sister may be a fairy tale retelling, but it is also a rich fantasy with unique plot twists that allow it to stand on its own. The Sleeping Beauty has been my favorite fairy tale since I was a child, and as such I have been hesitant to read retellings of it. But this tale did not disappoint me, instead captured and held me from the moment I began reading. Caryn has crafted a beautiful coming-of-age fantasy that will reach into the hearts of many young readers, reminding them of the strength of knowing one’s self and the powerful, healing magic love can bring.

*I received a copy from @KidlitExchange in exchange for an honest review.

Review Links:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2147153557

https://www.amazon.com/review/R1THQGOLFDIH7B/

#partner @kidlitexchange ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ“š๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ—ก๐Ÿƒ๐ŸทMy current read pairs wonderfully with a glass of Cabernet! Thanks to #kidlitexchange & author Dalila Caryn for The Forgotten Sister! A fairytale retelling, Iโ€™m already halfway through and itโ€™s the perfect pick for me. Review coming soon! ๐Ÿ“š๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ—ก Update: Hereโ€™s part of my ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸreview! Go to this Goodreads link for the full text: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2147153557 ๐Ÿ“š๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ—ก The Forgotten Sister, a YA fantasy, is a fairy tale retelling with strong characters and a story that will immerse readers from start to finish. A retelling of the classic tale Sleeping Beauty; in this version she is Roisin, the younger half-sister of Rowan. Cursed by her grandmother, the Fairy Queen, princess Roisin is sent away from the palace to live with her fairy Aunts in a hidden, magical wood. Though she is only a child herself, Rowan vows to become a knight and protect Roisin, pledging her love, loyalty, and even a gift of eternal life (given from her own half-fairy blood) to her. The bulk of this story focuses on not Roisin, who grows in beauty and grace but remains hidden – but on Rowan and her life as she endures years of separation from her sister at the castle. The kingdom awaits Roisin's 16th birthday and her return. But they and the kingdoms around them are plagued by the dark magic of Sorcha, the Fairy Queen – and Rowan believes the only way to stop Sorcha is to fight her herself. But her training with the Knights of the Rose doesn't stop her nightly dreams that it is she – not Sorcha – that will be the one to bring death upon her sister. #bookmail #bookreview #yafantasybooks #fairytaleretelling #amreading #readingandwine #fridayfeeling #happyweekend #theforgottensister #kidlitexchange #kidlit #lovetoread #tigerkingdom

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Stacie Eirich is a writer as well as an avid reader & book reviewer. She holds a Masters Degree in English Studies from Illinois State University. She has published four books of poetry and a children’s novel: Tiger Kingdom & The Book of Destiny. She lives north of New Orleans, and is currently writing her second children’s novel.

Stacie’s Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Stacie-Eirich/e/B01D1QV79W/

https://www.facebook.com/writerstacieeirich

https://www.instagram.com/stacieeirich

https://www.soundcloud.com/stacie-eirich

 

 

YA Book Review: Shimmer and Burnย 

Shimmer and Burn, by Mary Taranta, is a YA fantasy novel that dazzles readers with dark magic, hidden kingdoms and intriguing characters. The first of a duology, it is the kind of book that pulls you in to its world and holds you breathless as you learn its dangers and secrets. The prose is rich and detailed while also full of action that at times will stun readers with the depth of its darkness. Yet within it there is also a bright streak of hope that seems to follow its protagonist, Faris, through even the most dangerous adventures.

Faris is a teenage girl living in the hidden kingdom of Brindaigel, where magic and lives are strictly controlled. Living as a servant and caring for her sister, she dreams of seeing what lies beyond the mountains that separate Brindaigel from the wider world. But the people of Brindaigel are not free; they’ve been told they are kept inside the kingdom in order to remain safe from a plague that wiped out another kingdom beyond the mountains: Avinea. But is the King telling the truth? What really lies in Avinea? Faris risks her life to find out, journeying to a land that, unlike the beautiful Avinea of her dreams – is a frightening place where people and magic are bought and sold at high stakes. There, Faris finds herself tied to a beautiful yet dangerous princess, Bryn, and a mysterious magician, North, as she seeks freedom for both her sister and herself.

The strength of this story lies in both the detailed fantasy world and its kingdoms that Taranta has built, as well as the complex relationships between its characters. Faris is a strong female protagonist willing to fight for herself and the ones she loves, yet princess Bryn and magician North are written equally as strong and have enough mystery to keep readers wanting more of them. Perhaps the most beautiful moments in Shimmer and Burn are the quiet ones, when we find that at the heart of this magic filled fantasy is a girl who wants the thing that seems so easily given, yet remains most elusive: the freedom to dream.

This is a magical fantasy that, like its title, both shimmers and burns with a story that will no doubt make many readers fall in love with a young girl seeking the freedom to dream, and to live life on her own terms.

*I received an ARC from KidlitExchange in exchange for an honest review.

Review Links:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2127167595

https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R17Z7NKYCEQ7A1/

Stacie Eirich is a writer as well as an avid reader & book reviewer. She holds a Masters Degree in English Studies from Illinois State University. Sheย has published four books of poetry and a children’s novel: Tiger Kingdom & The Book of Destiny. She lives north of New Orleans, and is currently writing her second children’s novel.

Stacie’s Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Stacie-Eirich/e/B01D1QV79W/

https://www.facebook.com/writerstacieeirich

https://www.instagram.com/stacieeirich

https://www.soundcloud.com/stacie-eirich