SPOILER FREE REVIEW
RATING: 5/5 ☆
AUTHOR: Francesca Burke
SYNOPSIS: “Princess Amelia’s home, the Kingdom of Mirrors, is on its knees, ravaged by the cantankerous Sapphire Dragon. She must find a way to rid her country of its unwelcome guest and work out how to restore its fortunes before her parents marry her off to clear the kingdom’s debts. Prince Richard of the Valley of Dreams knows he’s not very heroic… he’d rather read about quests than actually go on one. But when he finds himself travelling to a haunted tower, he discovers a treacherous conspiracy that could rip the Three Kingdoms apart… and learns there might be some heroism tucked up his sleeve after all. Esme Delacroix is a psychic living in Stormhaven, the only part of the Three Kingdoms where magic is taboo. A terrifying vision sends Esme and her friend Violet on a perilous quest that shakes Stormhaven and the Three Kingdoms to its core.”
BUY THE BOOK HERE: Authors Links / Amazon / Kobo
Thank you to Francesca Burke for reaching out to me! She’s been so lovely about this entire tour and provided all the information and content necessary, do check her out! Her blog is francescaswords. Welcome to my stop for The Pricess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes book blog tour!
I loved this book! There’s really no other way to say it! From the beginning it was entertaining, whimsical and funny. I often believed that fantasy novels had to be serious in order to tell their stories successfully, but Burke proved me wrong. Her humour throughout was what made this collection enjoyable to read, there were moments where I found myself grinning at the screen whilst reading because I was loving it so much.
Her world building is impressive, given that this is a collection of short stories I was worried things would feel incomplete or untold. But it was rather the opposite, I felt as if I was apart of this vivid kingdom she was describing, down to the windows in the buildings and the vendors at the market. It feels very much like coming home, the world is her own but it reminded me of fairy tales I used to read when I was younger. The way she eventually weaves these stories together was a joy, although this world and these characters are only with us for around 200 pages, there’s something welcoming about them that makes us feel safe. As a reader, I felt entirely transported and for the time I was reading this book, I was truly in another world entirely.
Despite being a lighthearted fantasy, Burke does not shy away from current political themes and issues. As the stories progress we learn more about the issues prevalent in this novel: immigration, homophobia, xenophobia and the persecution of groups different than the ruling families. These themes are taken seriously and approached with respect and the necessary attitude needed. I feel that this book would have done wonders if I read it when I was younger, knowing that things like this are not tolerated in a fantasy book reminds us the greater importance of acceptance. I appreciated the representation within this story as well, gender, sexuality and race are not determiners for the characters. While they are sometimes brought up to reminds us of the inequality that is still present, they don’t hold anyone back within the story.
I hope Burke continues to write because she has a knack for it, I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of short stories and can’t wait for what else she releases. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend this short story collection! It’ll make you smile if nothing else, which I think everyone could use right now.