Two sisters. One enchanted forest. And a hidden destiny that could doom them both…
Swept away to the castle beside the Darkwood, Rose Valrois finds herself in a world full of secrets and forbidden magic. There she meets her new stepsister, the enigmatic Princess Neeve, who will either become her best friend - or her worst enemy.
When Rose follows her stepsister into the enchanted shadows beneath the trees, she is beset by dangerous creatures and rescued by Thorne, the Dark Elf guardian of the forest, who binds her to the Darkwood and forbids her to speak of its mysteries.
Yet despite the danger surrounding her, Rose continues to risk everything in her quest for answers, until the day she steals into the depths of the forest and discovers the most perilous secret of all...
From USA Today bestselling author Anthea Sharp, a fantasy fairy-tale weaving elements of Snow White & Rose Red with romance, magic, and dangerous secrets that will destroy a kingdom. Will appeal to fans of Sylvia Mercedes, Naomi Novik, Holly Black, and anyone who loves a fairytale beautifully retold~
After her mother weds the king of Raine, Rosaline, 13, who has "sun-bronzed skin and kinky red-gold hair," relocates from the "grand capital of Parnese" on the Continent to the island kingdom. Waiting there is a sullen, pale, red-lipped stepsister, Neeve, also 13; a mysterious forest; and a castle full of secrets. Rose's love of adventure tales spills over into her inquisitive nature, and it isn't long before she's spying on Neeve as Neeve slips from the castle walls and into the Darkwood outside them. Home to magical and dangerous creatures, the Darkwood is protected by Thorne, a pale-skinned Dark Elf from Elfhame, but the woods seem to distrust Rose and attempt harm until Thorne takes her under his protection; with Neeve, they begin exploring Rose's possible powers. The sisters' friendship grows slowly, however, and when Kian, a blond, blue-eyed Fiordland prince arrives, tensions mount. Characterizations feel frustratingly vague, and plot points lack resolution by the cliffhanger ending. Still, Sharp interweaves welcome allusions to "Snow-White and Red-Rose" and adapts other fairy elements creatively; the world of the Darkwood and its denizens is distinctly drawn in this fantastical series starter. Ages 13–up. (Self-published)
Overall great world building
As a new to me author, I greatly enjoyed the book overall. As the first book in the series, the author did a wonderful job setting up the world. But it did kind of lag and didn’t seem like much happened over the passing of time. Nothing significant at least. Rose and Neeve did bond over that time but that’s pretty much it. Hints of danger were made but nothing came of it until basically the end.
With that being said, the main character Rose was incessantly annoying. She whined and complained about EVERYTHING. If she wasn’t complaining, she was throwing hissy fits because her stepsister was better adept at things than her or got more attention than she did. Her petulant attitude got very tiresome.
I liked Neeve, Thorne, and even Kian. I loved the journey through the Darkwood with all its mystical creatures even the hobnies. I wish more time was spent within the trees learning it’s dark secrets. I’ve heard the series gets better as it goes on so I’m hopeful for the next one.