My Thoughts on Heart of the Raven Prince: A Cinderella Retelling (Entangled With Fae, Book 2) by Tessonja Odette

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While Cinderella isn’t my favorite fairy tale of all time, it’s a classic that I still enjoy. And considering I enjoyed the other books I’ve read so far by Tessonja Odette, I was looking forward to reading Heart of the Raven Prince. Especially since it involves two characters from previous books in the Fair Isle world, those being Ember and Prince Franco. While you can read the Entangled With Fae series in any order, I would recommend reading them in order as this book takes place one year after the events of Curse of the Wolf King and refers to characters from there, as in there could be some spoilers for the first book.

Synposis

A playboy prince in want of a decoy bride.

A servant girl desperate for a disguise…

Raven shifter Prince Franco is every social climbing debutante’s dream. He’s handsome, heir to the Lunar Court throne, and deliciously single. Every young woman wants to bed him, wed him, or steal a moment of his time. Except, of course, for Ember Montgomery.

Half-fae Ember craves freedom from her conniving stepfamily. As if they weren’t enough to deal with, a chance encounter with the arrogant Prince Franco leaves her humiliated and in a fiery rage. Nothing could convince her the prince is anything but a rake. But when the opportunity to evade her scheming stepmother falls into her lap, she’ll pay the price—even if it means impersonating the prince’s newest flame…

To prove himself a worthy heir, Prince Franco must marry a princess. But after far too many unsatisfying trysts, he’s given up on love. With the social season in full swing, and bringing with it a horde of husband-hungry socialites, he’ll do anything to delay the pressures of both marriage and the crown. And what better solution than an alliance with a desperate servant girl glamoured as his false future bride?

Locked in a bargain, Ember must pose as a princess until midnight at the full moon ball. Until then, all she has to do is wear the glamour, pretend to court the prince, and above all else, not fall in love. But when feelings emerge on both sides, she starts to wonder if there’s more to their contrived courtship than either of them planned…

Can Ember and Franco find love when the masks come off? Or will illusions and lies prove stronger than their hearts?

ACOTAR meets Bridgerton in this standalone fairytale retelling of Cinderella. If you like slow burn romance, fake engagements, and snarky fae royals, then you’ll love this swoon-worthy story in the Entangled with Fae series.

*NOTE this book is upper YA/NA featuring mature situations and some adult language. The romance is slow burn but leads to moderate steam.

Heart of the Raven Prince is a complete stand-alone novel set in the same world as The Fair Isle Trilogy. Journey back to Faerwyvae or begin your adventure for the first time with this enchanting tale. Each book in the Entangled with Fae series can be read on its own and in any order. Happily ever after guaranteed!

Book Details

  • Published: August 13, 2021
  • Page Count: 506 pages
  • Genre: YA Fantasy and Folklore

Thoughts on Heart of the Raven Prince

Unlike all the previous books in the series including the Fair Isle trilogy, the Heart of the Raven Prince has two POVs. One being Ember and the other being Prince Franco. We also get to see other characters from the previous books like Lorelei, who is now Queen Nyxia’s mate and still serving as an ambassador for Queen Evelyn. However, Lorelei is ready to retire from politics and Nyxia is considering passing her throne off to Franco. This is why she wants him to find a mate (she suggests Princess Maisie, a selkie from the Sea Court, and who will be the little mermaid in the next book). We also learn that Marie Coleman lives near Evelyn and Aspen in the Fire Court, and has kept to living the fae lifestyle as opposed to a human one. And that Gemma has been trying to keep in contact with Ember even a year or so after the events of Curse of the Wolf King. Though Ember has not responded once to her.

We learn the only reason Ember is still with her stepfamily is due to a bargain that Maddie Coleman manipulated Ember into following her father’s death. She has to remain under the roof of her stepmother and obey her every command. If she doesn’t, she risks death and physical ailment. She’ll only be released from the bargain the moment she becomes nineteen and can claim her inheritance. Something that the Colemans have no access to after being cut out of her father’s will, following the time when Ember’s father saw Maddie strike Ember following one of her performances where she got more attention than Clara or Imogen. Ember plans on running away to the Star Court to become a musician as she always dreamed of the moment she turns nineteen, which is in two weeks’ time from the start of the book.

However, Maddie Coleman is not happy over discovering that Ember will not willingly give the Colemans her inheritance so she schemes how to get it. Not only that but she tries to set up her daughters, specifically Imogen with Prince Franco who is hosting the Lunar Court’s social session for the next month starting with a ball. She sends a letter on Ember’s behalf to Gemma to get invitations to the ball, but Gemma sees through the invite and ensures that Ember must attend the ball in a gown she sent or the invitations will be rendered void. It’s at this ball that Maddie remembers a loophole in the inheritance that if Ember were to marry before her nineteenth birthday her husband could claim the funds on her behalf. So, she forces Ember into an engagement with the ceremony that’s supposed to occur the following day, which also gives her stepsisters jobs in the palace as Lady’s Maids to Princess Maisie. Due to the obey order and not being able to leave wherever Maddie Coleman takes residence, Ember cannot escape. Though she does try as her new fiance is part of the same group that killed her mother a little over a decade ago, which leads her to run into Princess Maisie. The two come to an agreement, Ember will impersonate Princess Maisie and court Prince Franco on her behalf until the bargain with Maddie is over. In order to pull this off, Ember is given glass shoes that hold the glamour, which gives her the appearance of Princess Maisie but she cannot talk about their bargain nor allow anyone to see her without the glamour. However, Prince Franco is able to tell right away Ember is not who she says she is due to his psy vampire abilities, but he agrees to allow her to continue since he needs to get Nyxia to realize he is trying to take his role seriously.

For the most part, Ember pulls off being Princess Maisie just fine. Though Imogen can’t let her jealously go and searches through the Princess’s room and discovers multiple things. The first being the locket that Ember wore all the time with the pictures of her parents inside. Ember lies that it’s a treasure she found and somehow manages not to react to Imogen attempting to force Ember to obey a command. Though it makes her feel like her insides are being torn apart. Ember dismisses Imogen from her position following this, but you just know Imogen isn’t going to let it go. Especially considering she knows there’s a locked chest in that room, one that has Ember’s personal items including her train ticket to leave the day of her birthday and the dress from Gemma.

There are a lot of moments between Franco and Ember, who goes by Em since Franco cannot lie to call her Princess Maisie. He thought it was the letter M, while she took it as a nickname her father used to call her. The rake reputation Prince Franco has is not entirely true. While yes, he has had many lovers in the past the reputation the humans associate with him is due to a misunderstanding of human society dancing rules. One where you couldn’t dance more than twice or thrice with the same partner in a night. You could only give gifts and call on one individual at a time. You had to dress a certain way. Basically, the opposite of what fae do, as they just do whatever they feel is right, but don’t care about being chaste or strict courting rules. He literally just thought he was getting to know possible love interests, but none of them he knew well enough to propose to. However, once he learned the error as the girls and guys flipped out on him, he took off in embarrassment and didn’t correct the misunderstanding. As while he may use humor and flirt, he is a nervous mess underneath. Something that comes out frequently with Ember. I loved all the moments where he was rambling and you could just tell it was his true self, not a persona he uses. Not only that but we learn the tattoo he has changes over time in what he describes as his energetic signature. As Ember and Franco get closer, additional marks appear for her especially after learning that her singing involves magic that amplifies emotions.

While I won’t spoil the ending of the book entirely, I loved how it was handled. Franco stood up to Nyxia and got her to back off trying to tell him what type of heir and future king he needed to be for the Lunar Court. And the Colemans were dealt with by Ember initially then by the court system. Or at least Maddie was, which she seriously needed to pay for what she did. I won’t say the specifics but it’s along the lines most Cinderella retellings take in regards to what really happened to the father. Ember also learns to accept her fae side now that she doesn’t have to suppress it, and Franco starts doing more charity in the northern cities of the Lunar Court. Even though that normally is something the Seelie royalty is supposed to do. But Franco keeps an element that is Unseelie about their festivities and eventually decides it’s time to take his sister’s throne so she can retire.

Overall, I think Heart of the Raven Prince might be one of my favorites in the Fair Isle world. I liked that we got to see both perspectives, though the majority were from Ember’s POV. And both of their character development didn’t feel rush even though the timeline technically only was two weeks. I would rate this book 3.75 out of 5 stars.

Love ya,

Mae Polzine

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