p1b5wogRed Hood’s Revenge by Jim C Hines

You can’t see me, but I’m shaking my head at how good this series is. It’s so much fun and while reading, I can’t help speculating, hoping, shipping, and getting emotional over the characters and events that occur. I’ve thrown myself into each book of the series so far because I just can’t resist them! I think about them all the time. I’ve literally fallen asleep daydreaming about the characters more than once. They’ve pulled me away from video games and comic books with how deeply immersive and emotionally investing they are.

The story has a strong part to play in that. It’s always a grand adventure worthy of fantasy epics, and the ladies struggle against odds that make you worry about them, and rightfully so as they do get hurt. From the first page to the last page, strong writing keeps you drawn in. But on top of having a great story, the characters really are the stars of the show.

I’ve always been a “characters first” kind of media consumer. In anything, I look for strong characters who will keep me interested. If little happens in a plot, but the characters are good enough to hold my attention, I’m going to give the book a good rating because I enjoyed reading it. Characters are the lifeblood of any narrative, for me personally. And wow. The characters in the Princess series really do pull their weight. Each characters feels distinct, with their own personality and motives. And when they interact, it’s a delight. They bicker and banter the way only people who are comfortable with each other and know each other well would, without fear of an argument causing irreparable damage to their relationships. They support and complement each other, with implicit loyalty that comes not only from how much they’ve been through together, but also from their genuine love for each other as people. It shows in the little exchanges as well as the broader, more impactful exchanges. For example, Snow sees a baby dragon and wants to buy it, but Talia tries to stop her, asking who’ll take care of it, and you can just tell the answer is Talia will. There’s so much life and chemistry between the leading ladies that I fall even more deeply in love with every chapter.

Okay, okay. So what’s this book, specifically, about?

The assassin, Red Hood (as in Little Red Riding Hood) comes to Lorindar to kill Talia, but obviously our heroes stop her. They get dragged through a portal into Talia’s homeland, Arathea, where they find the kingdom in a sore state, being run by corrupt fairies, and try to stop it. Meanwhile, the queen of the country is using the Wild Hunt to search for Talia (she wants her dead for killing her son; it’s a long story). Meanwhile, there’s some tension within the trio that’s carried over from stuff that happened in the last book.

Compared to The Stepsister Scheme and The Mermaid’s Madness (books #1 and #2 respectively), I didn’t enjoy this read quite as much. But considering what the group is going through in context, it’s understandably a more serious tone. And I mean, who can compete with pirates? But this is still awesome.

I don’t want to go into too much detail because it’ll spoil the previous books if you haven’t read them yet, but trust me, you’ll have a great time.

Right! That’s it! So, onto the fourth and final book then? …Well… You know when something is so good you don’t want it to end? That’s me right now. The Snow Queen’s Shadow concludes the series and I don’t want to say goodbye to these ladies! Who can say when I’ll meet new characters I’ll grow so attached to? But even if I do find other books, they can’t replace these ones. They won’t have their dynamics. I’m going to miss them. So. Badly. And that’s why I’m reluctant to start…

RARRRGH.

4.5/5 stars

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