Review: Princess of Mirrors

One of my favorite series that I have had the pleasure to review is the Fairy Tale Adventures series by AG Marshall. Throughout these books, the author builds a unique fantasy world that breathes new life into many old stories, tying them together in unexpected ways. Princess of Shadows introduced a new version of "The Princess and the Pea" featuring a legendary shadow warrior who is anything but delicate. Princess of Secrets gave a fresh take on "The Frog Prince" in which the princess was a spy who used her selfishness and extravagance as a cover to hide her true intentions. It has been a long wait, but the fifth book in the series, Princess of Mirrors, AG Marchall's take on "Cinderella," is finally here. Like the others, the heroine in this book is not a typical Cinderella and has many secrets of her own, ones that a certain prince is dying to uncover.


When her father was on his deathbed, he told Gabriella two things: to guard the magic mirrors that fill their home and to beware of the Society of Evangelina. With so little information to work with, Bri spends most of her days living in fear and paranoia. It doesn't help when the family's finances mysteriously start to deplete, leaving her with no choice but to become a servant in her own household. Bri knows a few things about how the magic mirrors work, but not many. With the help of a mischievous donkey, she obtains her father's journal, which allows her to put the rest of the pieces together to determine what she is responsible for. She needs gems to power the mirrors, a difficult thing to obtain for a family going into poverty. To the best of her ability, she tries to guard the mirrors from the wicked goblins living in the shadow world on the other side and whatever nefarious forces her father tried to warn her about from the Society of Evangelina.

Anyone who has read the other books in this series is aware that the Society of Evangelina is a group of ancient royals with the same goal as Bri--to protect the realm from the monsters that live in the shadows. Evangelina, or Lina, was the protagonist from the first book in this series who is now married to Prince Alaric and is next in line to be queen. When Bri learns this, she is terrified of the unknown, fearing that Lina intends to use her power to attack the innocent citizens of the kingdom. She is afraid to trust anyone until she meets Henry while running errands one day. Henry presents himself as a goat herder and shares his lunch with her. In truth, he is a member of the Society of Evangelina who became a prince after his mother married the king, but Bri doesn't know that. Likewise, Henry believes her to be a mistreated servant as opposed to the troubled heir to a prestigious estate who was entrusted with a magical secret.

The "Cinderella" elements that come into play later in the book are only minor elements of the story. It follows the Grimm version in which there are three balls, but the balls are not held to find a bride for the prince. Instead, they are used as a way to demonstrate Lina's powers as a shadow warrior and her intent to protect the kingdom. As someone who is horribly paranoid about Lina's abilities, this is the worst possible situation for Bri, causing her to run away like her fairy tale counterpart. The book does a good job of incorporating the most common criticism of "Cinderella" that the prince hardly knew her. Henry is constantly reminded that he knows very little about Bri after his encounter with her in the mountains, but he has such strong feelings toward her after that chance meeting that he becomes determined to protect her at all costs. This desire is heightened when he witnesses her paranoia about Lina and her Society, creating a challenge to earn her trust so the two can be honest with each other and use their unique magical abilities for the good of the kingdom.

Princess of Mirrors, ingeniously reinterprets the classic "Cinderella" narrative, introducing a heroine with powerful secrets and a daunting quest to guard her family's magic mirrors. As the intricate plot unfolds, themes of trust, power, and destiny interweave, compelling the characters to navigate a world filled with mystery, peril, and the captivating allure of magic. Princess of Mirrors not only offers a compelling twist on a timeless story but also delves into the complexities of trust, empathy, and the strength found in unlikely alliances. Each installment of AG Marshall's Fairy Tale Adventure series breathes new life into familiar stories, weaving them together in unexpected and thrilling ways. This book is no exception, offering lots of callbacks and surprises for patient and loyal readers. The final epilog gives a scintillating teaser of the sixth and final book in the series, which will be inspired by the classic ballet, "Swan Lake."

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