When I heard that Alexandra Christo was publishing a new book that is a Rapunzel retelling, I was so excited! I absolutely loved To Kill a Kingdom and jumped at the opportunity to read an early copy of Princess of Souls!
On the outside, everyone thinks Selestra is a princess, the next in line to take her mother’s place as the royal witch, but Selestra knows she is really a prisoner to the immortal and cruel king. When her ancestor tied her family’s magic to the king, she doomed generations of women to blindly serve him. However, every year the king offers citizens a chance to cheat death and earn a wish if they make it a couple weeks, or steal his immortality if they survive the month of the blood moon. Nox, a solider in the king’s army is determined to steal his immortality, but when his fate is tied to Selestra’s, things become much more difficult for the two of them.
While I found the first half of the novel kind of slow, I thought the action really picked up in the second half, and truly captured my attention. Towards the end of the novel, things were moving so quickly that I literally could not put the book down. I also loved the adventurous elements of the novel, and the way the characters traveled to different lands.
Furthermore, despite being a Rapunzel retelling, I thought the novel would have benefitted from more focus on the romance between Selestra and Nox. Although it was certainly part of the story, it felt like it took a backseat for most of the book. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but being a Rapunzel retelling, it was a bit unexpected.
In addition, I really enjoyed Selestra and Nox’s points of view throughout the novel. Having the dual POVs highlighted the ways the two main characters interpreted events differently throughout the book. I also appreciated the way Selestra’s doubts and hesitations were apparent from her POV, but not as obvious from Nox’s POV. It definitely emphasized her growth throughout the novel, and the way the two characters’ feelings developed.
The supporting characters in the book were interesting, but I would have like to see more of them throughout the book. Especially, Selestra’s mother, since she plays a vital role in Selestra’s story. Pretty much all of the supporting characters were compelling, I just think some of them could have taken on a more significant role in the novel.
Overall, Princess of Souls was pretty good, but unfortunately didn’t quite live up to my high expectations after reading To Kill a Kingdom.