Thank you to Hot Key Books for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
As soon as I saw the cover I fell in love and then I read the synopsis and I was sold. This book was such a wonderful read!
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future.
When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.
But Alyrra soon finds that Kestrin is not what she expected. The more Alyrra learns of this new kingdom, the pain and suffering its people endure, as well as the danger facing Kestrin from the sorceress herself, the more she knows she can’t remain the goose girl forever.
With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds and ultimately must decide who she is, and what she stands for.
This is such a wonderful about self love and learning to accept yourself for who you are, not who everyone expects you to be and I think that a lot of young people will relate to Alyrra. The story is a very character driven story and I really loved it because Alyrra was such a great character to read.
Alyrra is a wonderful character, she was really interesting an unique. She is who values speaking the truth no matter the consequences and during the story she is forced into a situation where she has no choice but to lie about who she is. It was interesting to see her battle through this and how it made her feel. She is forced to be a goose girl and it was surprising to see that she actually accepts this life and makes the best of the situation rather than try to claim back her royal title.
She is smart and caring and I really loved seeing her make friends with the people she worked with as she grew up in a palace full of people who were abusive and condescending towards her. It helped her to grow and become more confident within herself and learn to see that there isn’t actually anything wrong with her and she is capable and not a burden on anyone. Reading how she deals with the abuse she faced was so heartbreaking because of how much it affected her and made her afraid to trust anyone but I love how she worked through this and was able to get back her title by the end of the book.
As this story is very character driven the focus is on Alyrra and what she goes through throughout the story, we see her doing everyday jobs and doing simple things like having dinner with the others who work in the stables. Through her interactions we learn about the wider world and the problems that affect the people which gives her motivation to push herself and try to save the prince and his kingdom.
One of the things I absolutely loved was how her relationship with the prince was. He is of course the love interest yet he isn’t in the majority of the book and when she does speak to him she is wary of him and questions his motivations for speaking to a simple goose girl. Even by the end when everyone finds out who she really is there is no happily ever after ending. It ends with them discussing being friends and a mutual respect for each other. There is of course affection there but not a sweeping romance. The focus on the end is on them respecting each other and building their relationship slowly over time. I really loved seeing that especially as it isn’t something we see in YA.
This is a story of a young girl overcoming her own self doubts and growing as a person and I think it is a story that everyone should read as I am sure many of us can see ourselves in her.