Monday, September 2, 2019

Audiobook Review: A Dance of Silver and Shadow by Melanie Cellier

Title: A Dance of Silver and Shadow (Beyond the Four Kingdoms #1)
Author: Melanie Cellier
Publication Date: September 4, 2017
Publisher: Luminant Publications
Pages: 346
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When Princess Liliana and her twin sister set sail for new lands, Lily hopes to find adventure and romance. But the people of Marin live under the shadow of a curse—one powerful enough to destroy entire kingdoms. To protect them all, Lily and eleven other princesses are forced to participate in a mysterious and secret tournament.

Lily spends her nights competing in a magical underground realm and her days unraveling the dangers of this new court. Although she needs the help of the Marinese prince, Lily knows she can't let herself grow too close to him. There's no time for romance when the duchy is about to fall to the encroaching darkness and the winner of the tournament faces a terrible fate.

But Lily and her twin have a secret advantage. And Lily grows increasingly determined to use their magical bond to defeat the tournament, save the princesses, and free Marin. Except she might have to sacrifice true love to do it.

In this reimagining of the classic fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, there's a lot more at stake than worn out dancing slippers. 

I find it amusing that I had never read a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses prior to this year and now I have read two. Thankfully, both were very different and A Dance of Silver and Shadow was wholly unique and I enjoyed it so much!

Princess Lily and her twin have sailed to Marin in hopes of forging alliances with other kingdoms and just happen to arrive on the day that a magical tournament is set to begin - a tournament that will end with the winner being married to a prince of a cursed kingdom. There's no way around competing, but they do have an advantage over the other girls. While no talking is allowed during their tasks, Lily and her sister Sophie are able to communicate telepathically. They make it their mission to protect the other girls from the horrors of the tournament as well as the prize.

I loved the bond between Lily and Sophie and the way they were both so determined to protect the other. Aside from the sisters, there was also a lot of emphasis put on the relationships between all the other girls. Obviously they didn't all get along wonderfully, but I always enjoy women empowering and looking out for each other and this book definitely had that.

Of course, this wouldn't be a proper fairy tale without romance and the romance in this book is adorable. While the tournament is going on, Lily continually fights her growing feelings for the prince of Marin. I loved their relationship! It was so cute and, in a shocking twist, I even liked the drama brought on by their miscommunications.

But the real MVP of this story is the setting and the twist on the tournament. The challenges take place in a magical underground world that was absolutely breathtaking. I adore underground settings and this one was both beautiful and chilling. I enjoyed the entire book, but I was living for any scene in which the girls would go back to the magical world under the castle. The tasks the girls had to complete were also fascinating and definitely not what I expected.

A Dance of Silver and Shadow is a very unique take on this classic tale with a lot going for it! I loved the relationships between the girls as well as the romance, and the world the author created was incredible! Keep in mind, this is a new series but set in a universe established in a previous series. I didn't read that one and don't feel like I missed out on much, but you may want to start with The Four Kingdoms series. Either way, if you're a lover of retellings, you can't go wrong with this book!