The Evil Queen
by Gena Showalter
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Book #1 in The Forest of Good and Evil series
Number of pages: 544
Source: Net Galley ARC
Read 5/31/19 to 6/7/19
Far, far away, in the realm of Enchantia, creatures of legend still exist, magic is the norm and fairy tales are real. Except, fairy tales aren’t based on myths and legends of the past—they are prophecies of the future.
Raised in the mortal realm, Everly Morrow has no idea she’s a real-life fairy-tale princess—until she manifests an ability to commune with mirrors.
Look. See… What will one peek hurt?
Soon, a horrifying truth is revealed. She is fated to be Snow White’s greatest enemy, the Evil Queen.
With powers beyond her imagination or control, Everly returns to the land of her birth. There, she meets Roth Charmaine, the supposed Prince Charming. Their attraction is undeniable, but their relationship is doomed. As the prophecy unfolds, Everly faces one betrayal after another, and giving in to her dark side proves more tempting every day. Can she resist, or will she become the queen—and villain—she was born to be?
The battle between good and evil is on.
First, I’d like to get the genre of this book out of the way. It is a YA book, but I’m listing it for older YA and also giving it a rating of NC-17. Not for violence or sex, although the characters get themselves into both situations. Not enough to tip it out of the R rating though. No, there are some VERY serious themes in this story. While I cannot get into it all without spoiling the story too much, I want to say that if you are buying this for a teen under the age of 17ish, read the story yourself first. I’m sure there are plenty of younger teens that would be fine reading this book, and there are plenty of 20 years old people who would be disturbed…we’re all different. I’m just saying to judge for yourself before gifting this one to a younger YA reader.
On to my review…
I love this author’s writing and I’m a huge fan of her Lords of the Underworld series. (Definitely NOT in the YA genre.) When I saw she had a YA story coming out I jumped at the chance to read and review an ARC. While I’m not huge into the princesses, I’ve always love Snow White. This seemed perfect for me. And when it comes to Gena Showalter’s writing talent, I have to say she came through big time on this one.
Here’s where I’m not going to do the thing so many people do. I’m not going to give this story a bad review or rating just because it ended up not being my cup of tea. Like I said, the writing is spot on. The storyline is intriguing and the main characters are fleshed out and sympathetic. This book made me realize that I have issues with “retelling” stories. Quite a few years ago I read Wicked by Gregory Maguire and couldn’t figure out what my problem was with that book. Again, I gave it a pretty good rating since I could see how it was a great book. Now that I’ve read another retelling type of story, I realize that my brain has a hard time staying on track with these books. I’m constantly looking for clues to who is who and what it all can mean. To the point that it’s distracting me from the story. Throw in the fact that there is a prologue in this book (which I don’t generally have a problem with) and my brain was being torn in too many directions. All the while I’m thinking to myself, “this is an amazing story and I think so many people will love this book.”
Everly is, by turns, easy to love and hard to love. But even when she was being difficult, I found myself rooting for her. Then there’s her connection to Roth. Everly and Roth have phenomenal chemistry and I was immediately rooting for them to become a couple. As with Everly, Roth is often hard to love. Probably harder to love than Everly at some points. But you just know his heart is in the right place, just as hers is. You can’t help but hope he gets his head out of his rump!
There are so many things happening in this story, and the author does a great job of keeping the story linear and cohesive. At the same time, with all of the characters, there’s anticipation of what other stories are going to be told in this series. Some I’d love to see get a HEA, some I’d love to see get their comeuppance, and maybe some will even be atoned.
While this is not the type of story I, personally, am able to read quickly and easily, I’m still curious as to what will happen next. When the next book comes out, I’ll just have to remember that I’ll need more than a day or two to read the whole thing. In the meantime, I’ll be recommending this story to a lot of people I think will enjoy the fairy tale retelling.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**