Review: The Abandoned Princess

I have a special place in my heart for Melanie Cellier's Four Kingdoms books. Her first novel, The Princess Companion, pulled me down an endless rabbit hole of independently published fairy tale adaptations and author collaborations that resulted in the past seven years of book reviews for my blog. The Abandoned Princess is the final book in the Return to the Four Kingdoms series, concluding an impressively long and successful run of interconnected fairy tale retellings about princesses. Though there is one more tie-in duology on the way, this book felt very much like a homecoming from an extended vacation full of adventure, romance, and magic. The Abandoned Princess is also a wonderful and creative reimagining of "Rapunzel" on its own merits. This book is a heartfelt and emotional journey that is an absolute must-read for anyone familiar with Melanie Cellier's fairy tale retellings.

With Easter eggs galore from the other Four Kingdoms books, The Abandoned Princess begins with a familiar carriage raid that turns the lives of several traveling princesses upside-down. The youngest royal of the group is Princess Daisy, who goes missing for the longest length of time. There is a good reason no one can find her for five years. Eulalie, the wicked sorceress who finds her, casts a spell on her that renders her invisible and inaudible to everyone except herself. In this inspired retelling of "Rapunzel," not only is the lost princess isolated due to being trapped in a tower, but also because she cannot contact her family or anyone from the outside world due to these magical limitations. Fortunately, the spell has an unexpected flaw that makes children immune to it, allowing Daisy to befriend the local kids. Yet, no matter how many people they tell about her, the adults rule out the story as childish play because they cannot the tower nor the maiden living within it.

Five years pass in this manner, and Daisy is now an adult. Prince Xander from the newly discovered kingdom across the desert is determined to find the missing princess and does something romantically daring in an attempt to break the spells. Thanks to his efforts, he becomes trapped under it alongside Daisy and her lady-in-waiting, Lori, who has a very similar personality to Cassandra from Tangled. Now that Daisy is no longer alone in her struggle, the threesome must work together to stop Eulalie from her malicious plans to take over the kingdom of Northelm, first introduced in the original Four Kingdoms series. But how can three people who are all but invisible to the general public warn them about a threat to the crown right in the middle of a high-profile coronation ceremony? Thus, Daisy and Xander begin their greatest adventure yet.

If you aren't already hooked on this book by now, you should be. The Abandoned Princess is only the best of what Melanie Cellier has to offer from her long-running experience of adapting fairy tales. All of the characters are full of personality and growth, the romance is as sweet as it is spicy, and the direction that she chooses to take the fairy tale is just as original as it is familiar. As someone who has read every book in the Four Kingdoms series, I felt overjoyed each time an Easter egg came up, referencing another character or adventure that I had read about over the years. The story ends with a tearful reunion that got me all choked up as I remembered how much fun I had reading about the other characters in these series and their rich and fulfilling adventures. This is more than just another fairy tale book. It is a reward for everyone who has taken the time to join these characters on their journeys over the last eight years.

The Abandoned Princess marks the heartfelt and triumphant culmination of Melanie Cellier's epic Return to the Four Kingdoms series, infusing vibrant reimaginings of classic fairy tales with a sentimental reunion. As the final installment in this remarkable saga, the book masterfully intertwines elements of adventure, romance, and magic while delivering a poignant and creative retelling of "Rapunzel." Through the spellbinding narrative, Cellier weaves a tale of emotional resonance, compelling growth of characters, and a love story that is both tender and intense. With a wealth of references to previous Four Kingdoms adventures, the story serves as a delightful tribute to loyal readers, offering a deeply satisfying conclusion that reverberates with the joys and sorrows of the series' cherished characters. Melanie is providing her readers with one more gift this May with a duology featuring Daisy's best friend, Charli that is inspired by the fairy tale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon."


Fadima Mooneira said…
This is the first time I heard of The Return To The Four Kingdoms series. I feel so left behind. If heard of this series before I would definitely read them long time ago. These books are just so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Btw, looks like i’ll be visiting your blog frequently from now on. I like everything Princess and fairytales too. Hehehe ^-^
Lisa Dawn said…
Thanks for stopping by! Return to the Four Kingdoms was actually the third Four Kingdoms series, which spans multiple generations of princesses. I would recommend starting with The Princess Companion, the first book in The Four Kingdoms series. That series, which contains four novels and two novellas, is followed by the Beyond the Four Kingdoms series and concludes with Return to the Four Kingdoms. There are a lot of books!

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