Jen reviews The Wayward Tower, Nancy O’Toole’s third novel in her The Twin Kingdoms Fantasy fairy tale retelling series. Read Jen’s reviews of The Rose and the Claw and A Dance With Magic. As this is the third book of a series, mild spoilers might appear.
Thanks goes out to Nancy for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. We apologize for the delay in getting this review out.
|Series: The Twin Kingdoms #3||Genre: Fantasy, fairytale retelling|
|Date of Publishing: December 8, 2021||Trigger Warnings: imprisonment, violence|
|Page count: 141||Publisher: self-published|
Trapped in a tower
Aria knows how to escape imprisonment. All she needs to do is to lead Prince Victor to his death. But she has no desire to become a murderer or assist the man that holds her captive. Instead, Aria discovers a possible solution in unfamiliar magic. The Wayward Paths may lead her to freedom, but they will require her to come face to face with the shadows of her past.
The foolish prince
Victor’s life is in danger. After barely escaping a deadly masquerade, he finds himself a target of The Mage King, an ancient being who requires royal blood. Not that Victor takes that too seriously. He’d rather think about Aria, the beautiful and mysterious woman that visits him in his dreams. Aria’s past holds the key to the identity of The Mage King, but will their encounters provide him with answers or result in his demise?
What dangers lie on The Wayward Paths?
“I bet you’ve already located our handsome prince. Use the Paths to draw him here, one way or another. And when he arrives, kill him. I want to see his body broken at the base of the tower. I want to drain every drop of his blood to help free me from this ridiculous prison. You will do this for me, and you will do it without saying a word to anyone else about it.”
Fear by Blue October
All my life
Been running from a pain in me
A feeling I don’t understand
Holding me down
So rain on me
All I am, getting harder
A heavy weight
I carry around
I don’t have to fall apart
I don’t have to be afraid
I don’t have to let the damage
My shadow see through me
The Wayward Tower picks up quite awhile after the events of A Dance with Magic. We return to Victor, now laying low at one of their family’s estates where things around them, magic-wise, seem to have settled down. You know, in that calm-that-comes-before-the-storm, kind of settled down.
I have to admit I was so ready for Victor’s story. He caught my attention in the last book with his humour, and though he seemed like a laze-about kind of Prince, who didn’t have a notion in his brain about the world around him, it was obvious he cared about his sister and family.
Maybe I am the only who never reads the sneak peeks in to the next book but The Wayward Tower surprised me a bit by returning Aria to us, with whom we met during the Masquerade in the last book. She aided in their escape, catching Victor’s eye in the process.
Now imprisoned in the Tower, with the threat of falling back to sleep for years, or possibly even forever, to live in her nightmare of memories (which we see through a series of flashbacks that go a long way in explaining the present events with the mage king and his goal of curing the curse that affects his people) Aria’s only hope to escape her fate of endless sleep may be in sacrificing the prince she has grown to love.
Aria is an intriguing character just for the fact that she is one of the Fae who are doomed to sleep, and is in a sense, the enemy. I enjoyed her and getting a chance to see her early life, before the curse really hit the world around her hard.
Inspired by Rapunzel there are a few similarities in this story, though I really only know the tale from Tangled so I can’t say how much is included. I can say that The Wayward Tower continues to build the lore and magic – we get a lot more answers, and a deeper understanding this time around as to why the Elegy is trying to awaken the Mage Prince. And I really love how the premise to Cinderella has been the base of the Fae’s troubles and how the magic tied it all together, while letting each retelling and the tale its based from, shine on their own.
I’m really excited about the conclusion to this series and our final couple, involving Victor’s sister Viola.