Review: The Princess Vow

The Princess Vow is the third book in the Kingdoms of Fable series by Erika Everest. It continues the story of the League of Princesses that began with Sienna in The Scarred Prince. Each book combines two seemingly unrelated fairy tales in a unique way. This one covers "Sleeping Beauty" and "Puss in Boots." It is the second novel adaptation I have read of "Puss in Boots," but of course, I have read many adaptations of "Sleeping Beauty," which gives this one some big shoes to fill. I don't think I would have enjoyed this book as much if I hadn't read the first two books in Erika Everest's series. It does a good job of further developing the other princesses from the dream world and their relationships with each other but doesn't work well as a standalone due to a lack of conflict within the story.

The Princess Vow by Erika Everest

The Princess Vow continues the theme of sisterhood from the Kingdoms of Fable series. It focuses on two princesses, who happen to be sisters. Aurora is the fabled "Sleeping Beauty" character, and her sister, Rosebud, is determined to find a way to save her from the sleeping curse. My biggest issue with this book is that we don't truly feel Aurora's loss after she falls asleep. The Scarred Prince, the first book in the series, established a magical dream world where the princesses are linked by blood and visit each other in their sleep. Because of that, we know that Aurora isn't in any real danger when she enters another dream world that looks and feels no different from the real world. Not only is she still and conscious on some level, but she is also treated as a welcome guest in the castle of a man named O, who becomes a love interest for her. To me, living in a magical dream castle with a handsome prince figure doesn't feel like a curse at all.

Most of the action revolves around Aurora's sister, Rosebud, who takes on the responsibility of finding her and waking her up. Rosebud's journey is where the story overlaps with "Puss in Boots." She disguises herself as a boy for reasons which I cannot recall and encounters a talking cat who agrees to help her defeat the sorceress that cursed Aurora. Rosebud's story does not have very high stakes either as the sorceress she seeks out meets a quick end and barely poses a threat. I also wasn't particularly invested in her relationship with Puss, since they both meet each other under false pretenses. However, Rosebud's commitment to saving Aurora is one of the highlights of the book. It isn't the first version of "Sleeping Beauty" I've seen where a different type of love besides romantic love was needed to wake her, but it's still a refreshing contemporary twist on the tale.

Most of my enjoyment of The Princess Vow came from the references to its two prequels, The Scarred Prince and The Golden Ball. I grew fond of both Princess Sienna and Princess Natashya after reading these books, so it was nice to check in and see how they were doing. Several events from the earlier books overlap with this story, so it was also nice to see how everything came together. I was a little disappointed that this book did not cover the initial journey to the dream world where the princesses first met in its "Twelve Dancing Princesses" reference, especially since the timeline is already all over the place. Their backstory is one of the most intriguing aspects of the series even though it has only been referenced in hindsight. I would thoroughly enjoy a prequel that covers the entirety of this experience and how they worked together to free themselves from their captor.

I think The Princess Vow is the weakest book so far in Tales from the Enchanted Kingdom, but it is still worth reading if you have completed the other two books. It is a unique take on "Sleeping Beauty," with several contemporary twists that continues to emphasize the sisterly themes of the series. Its biggest flaw is that none of the characters are ever in any real danger, which is why I would love to read a sequel about how they overcame their first foe who trapped them in the dream world. I would not recommend this book as a standalone because I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if I hadn't read The Scarred Prince and The Golden Ball first.

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