Author: Michelle Diener.
Published: March 24th 2014 by Michelle Diener.
Sort: Unnamed series #1.
Source: Netgalley & Michelle.
Kayla's world has been turned upside-down .. Her father has made her the prize in a deadly, impossible tournament, and Kayla has retaliated in the only way she knows how; by choosing her champion beforehand. But taking control of the outcome changes the game completely, and when the real reason behind the strange test becomes apparent, Kayla realizes not just her life, but her entire kingdom is at stake. Rane's honor is torn in two... In order to save his brother, Rane will do whatever he has to--including deceive and betray a princess. He knew nothing about this tournament would be easy, but when it turns into a deeper, far more sinister game, Rane is forced to see it through to the end, or leave his brother at the mercy of their enemy. Now their fates are entwined, and they must venture into the deep, dark forest together.. Kayla and Rane are bound to one another by an enchantment and Kayla's actions. But the sorcerer forcing them to do his will may have miscalculated, because no-one comes out of the Great Forest unchanged. No-one.
Let me first give you an introduction about the original story, The princess on the Glass Hill. Right after finishing this story I did some research and I like what Diener did with her retelling. So, the tale tells of a king who has a beautiful daughter. The one who would be able to climb the glass mountain to take the three golden apples out of her lap, would be the one to marry her. On the day of the trial, Boot isn’t allowed to come with his brother. But, the unknown knight is able to get the three apples and in the end, it’s Boots.
"Yes, I have," said Boots; "here is the first, and here is the second, and here is the third too;" and with that he pulled all three golden apples out of his pocket, and at the same time threw off his sooty rags, and stood before them in his gleaming golden mail.
This tale is a little different, because Rane doesn’t want to get the golden apple to win Kayla’s hand. He needs to magical apple to save his brother. But after both touching the apple, they are bound together by an enchantment which will drive them mad. Sorcerer Eric sends them on a mission to the Great Forest where they need to collect a ring for him. It’s the only way, but it seems that Eric isn’t really truthful to them.
I loved Kayla and her feisty character. She might be a princess, but that doesn’t stop her from using her new found magic and intelligence to save the day. Rane is definitely strong and he knows how to defend her from dangerous creatures in the forest, but Kayla can handle the situation herself. I think they completed each other and it was fun to follow them on their quest.
Their romance is pretty cute. I think it’s interesting to realize what their first meeting was – and it gives a special dynamic to this duo. I was surprised by the focus on magic (in a good way). I didn't expect it, but I thought it was a nice addition to the story and I can’t wait to see what is going to happen in the next book.