Review: The Midnight Prince

The Midnight Prince by Angie Grigaliunas has been on my list of #fairytalesummer readings for a while. It is part of the Once Upon a Prince series, which is currently on sale for either $.99 or free, so I plan to read and review the rest of the books soon. I have now completed two-thirds of the series with only four books left. The Once Upon a Prince books are retellings of well-known fairy tales by different authors told from the perspective of the prince. Some of them are gender-bent retellings, but not all. The Midnight Prince is a retelling of "Cinderella" that takes place in a fae world and just might be one of my favorites from this series so far. It uses the Andrew Lloyd Webber technique of making the two lovers childhood friends who fell in love long before the ball. The book presents an intriguing mystery for readers to solve throughout the book. It's a real page-turner that leads up to a satisfying ending filled with magic and romance.

Kirran is a troubled fae prince with a lot on his plate. Not only did his brothers die in a war, making him the next heir to the throne, but he still hasn't gotten over the heartbreak of being abandoned by his childhood sweetheart, Alia. When his father pressures him into finding a bride to sire an heir, he is shocked to find Alia in disguise at the ball. After seven years, he decides to confront her only to learn that she has completely different memories of what happened the night that both their hearts were broken. Fueled by anger over the time that was lost to them, the two lovers go into full detective mode to determine who had the power to change their memories and which person's recollections were correct. They also take the opportunity to rekindle their old passion, despite the king's protests due to Alia being half-human and a servant.

This is such an easy book to dive into. The love story is presented with care and sincerity, and the magic system is easy to follow. Although it takes place in a fae world, the emotions in the book are very human, making the characters easy to relate to. As soon as I learned that Alia and Kirran's relationship was manipulated, I became just as determined as them to solve the mystery. The book moves at just the right pace for a detective story, patiently unveiling clues leading up to a thrilling climax. The magical manipulation of memories is a unique and original twist on the "Cinderella" trope that cleverly incorporates the theme of searching for a lost princess in a new and creative way. I like that the book focuses more on emotion than magic because it makes the story easy to relate to and doesn't require the reader to learn about a complex new world to understand what's going on.

Some "Cinderella" retellings lack a good conflict, but this is not one of them. Kirran and Alia have enemies hidden in plain sight who are determined to tear them apart, and they must find them before it's too late. The book's thrilling climax does not disappoint with a daring rescue and a race against time. The book doesn't swerve too far from the antagonists of the original fairy tale, but it incorporates them in a new way that I have never seen before in a "Cinderella" retelling. Alia's stepmother is surprisingly cooperative and doesn't come off as a heartless abuser, though is still far from perfect. I particularly enjoyed how Kirran was able to use his status as crown prince against his father by referring to anyone who wanted to harm Alia as treasonous due to her being his chosen bride.

The Midnight Prince by Angie Grigaliunas is an intriguing retelling of "Cinderella" that shines with its unique twist on memory manipulation, relatable characters, and a thrilling mystery to solve. Kirran and Alia's love story is expertly woven with fae magic, making this book a must-read for fans of fairy tale retellings. With its perfect pace, lovable characters, and creative conflict, The Midnight Prince is a standout in the Once Upon a Prince series. I can't wait to dive into the rest of the series and see what other enchanting retellings these authors have in store for us. If you'd like to join me, make sure to take advantage of the sale on this series before it's too late!


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