Book Review: The Wayward Tower (The Twin Kingdoms #3) (ARC)

Expected publication: December 8th 2021

Author: Nancy O’Toole

Trapped in a tower

Aria knows how to escape imprisonment. All she needs to do is to lead Prince Victor to his death. But she has no desire to become a murderer or assist the man that holds her captive. Instead, Aria discovers a possible solution in unfamiliar magic. The Wayward Paths may lead her to freedom, but they will require her to come face to face with the shadows of her past.

The foolish prince

Victor’s life is in danger. After barely escaping a deadly masquerade, he finds himself a target of The Mage King, an ancient being who requires royal blood. Not that Victor takes that too seriously. He’d rather think about Aria, the beautiful and mysterious woman that visits him in his dreams. Aria’s past holds the key to the identity of The Mage King, but will their encounters provide him with answers or result in his demise?

What dangers lie on The Wayward Paths?

[The Rose and the Claw (#1) / A Dance with Magic (#2) Reviews]

The Wayward Tower is the third novella in The Twin Kingdoms series. While each story could be read as a standalone, it is ideal to read all of them in order as events and characters from the previous books are referenced. The story also builds on itself from the very first novella to this one as more of the big picture is revealed. I love how each story in the series is a retelling of a classic tale and this one was no different as it was a unique twist on Rapunzel. After visiting Rebecca, Queen of Kelvia, in the last novel, Prince Victor and his twin sister, Princess Viola Verdis have returned to their home in the Kingdom of Verdia.

After the events of the Masquerade in the previous novel, the threat of the Mage King, a member of an ancient race known as the fair folk and is waking up from a cursed sleep, draws near. Not only is Victor figuring out this danger, he also has a difficult time forgetting Aria, a member of the fair folk, who he met while at the Masquerade. Victor is unaware that Aria is in Verdia, but she is trapped in a tower with no way out under the control of the Mage King. The story follows Aria who is tasked by the Mage King to get Prince Victor although she does not wish to harm him. The way to accomplish this is through travel to the Wayward Paths, which are a series of roads that link together the walkers’ subconscious minds.

While I loved Victor’s character in the previous novel, it was great to see him have his own story. As third in line, he is more carefree than his siblings and goes through life without purpose. Throughout the story, the reader sees a lot of growth from him as he learns that he can still have purpose even though he may not be the next direct ruler. Aria’s character was very interesting as she was more mysterious in the previous installment. This story gave her some great background and insight into her character and development. Through Aria, the reader learns about the rise of the Mage King and his ties to the other characters. The elements from Rapunzel were integrated well as the two stories paralleled each other in places, but were not direct copies.

Overall, this is a very immersive series. Even though each book is shorter, there is a lot of information packed in without feeling overloaded. I love how this story not only tied together with the previous novella, but also brought back some characters/information from the first one. Given that the next book is the final installment in the series, I love how everything from the first three has come together to set up for the finale. I cannot wait to read The Starlight Blade, which will be a retelling of “Allerleirauh (All Furs).” As Viola will be the main character and is the warrior/fighter between her and her brother, I cannot wait to see her shine as the main in her own story!

**I give a special thank you to Book Sirens and the author, Nancy O’Toole, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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