The Princess Knight is filled with the sort of crass humor that’s amusing and novel when unexpectedly discovered. I had requested this book without realizing it was the second in a series, yet the worldbuilding is so impeccable that I quickly caught on to what was happening. If you have not yet read The Blacksmith Queen, be assured that this installment can be thoroughly enjoyed on its own.
Main character Gemma is blunt, not afraid to die for her cause, and steadfastly loyal to those who are deserving of her allegiance. As a war monk, she has been trained to not only fight, but to fight well and without hesitation (surprisingly, some of the most laugh out loud moments occur during fighting scenes as the characters expertly toss barbed comments back and forth). She is joined by many others, including her sisters and a centaur, Quinn, who can choose to appear with either two legs or four.
Although this is labelled as a paranormal romance, the love story is a blink and you’ll miss it moment. The story is more action oriented and focused on the age-old plotline of good versus evil, with Gemma’s sister Beatrix serving as the villain. Amidst the flurry of combat and plotting, the importance of friends and allies is emphasized. The characters regard each other with a straightforward honesty, recognizing what the others are capable of and pushing them to complete their appropriately assigned tasks, even when they are experiencing some self-doubt.
Unlike any fantasy I’ve ever read, this felt like a dirtier version of Monty Python-esque absurdity in a medieval style setting typical to the genre. Rich with royal intrigue and murderous family dynamics, there are elements that any fantasy reader will immediately recognize. The over the top and delightful banter, though, even among the mythical creatures, truly sets this one apart.
Four stars for this ridiculous yet fun romp through gory battlefields, royal conflicts, and magic. Thank you to the publisher for a complimentary copy. This did not impact my review.