Author: Melanie Cellier
Narrator: Esther Wane
Audiobook Length: 9 hours 49 minutes
Princess Ava used to be a weapon – sharp, strong and beautiful. But when she fails at her most important task, she’s forced to flee from her own family.
Only her personal bodyguard, Hans, remains loyal. Hans claims to know the real Ava but she finds that hard to believe – after all, she’s been the villain so long that she can’t remember anything else.
But deep in exile, Ava learns her kingdom needs a hero and she might be the only one who can save it. The catch? She’ll have to ally herself with the very people she blames for her downfall.
But in a game of life and death where the stakes are an entire kingdom, winning over her enemies will only be the beginning. Can one fugitive save her people, her kingdom and, hardest of all, herself?
In this reimagining of the classic fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood, the girl in the red hood has been swallowed up by the wolf and must decide if she’s willing to fight for her freedom, no matter the cost.
The books in The Four Kingdoms series can be read as stand alone stories, however, for greatest enjoyment, they should be read in order.
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The Princess Fugitive is the second novel in The Four Kingdoms series, which are fairy tale retellings. This novel is a reimaging of Little Red Riding Hood. While it can be read as a standalone, the events and characters do link to the first novel, so it best to read them in order. This story takes place about a year after The Princess Companion and follows Princess Ava, a central character in that novel. She has been trained since birth to be a weapon, but after failing in Arcadia, she is returning home.
When Ava returns to Rangmeros where she ends up escaping an attack on her life. She ends up fleeing the palace with her bodyguard Hans. The two of them disguise themselves as Harry and Anna to join a caravan and escape. Among this band of characters are Sarah and Evelyn, who are the main characters in the next story. Through this journey, Ava learns more about her past and why she became the way she did. Another thing she discovers is how she must take back the kingdom from her evil brother, Prince Konrad To do this, Ava must participate in a series of trials.
Essentially, this story is divided between Ava’s transformation and the trials to attempt to defeat her brother. The first part of the story was interesting as Ava was the villain in the first novel, yet she becomes a sympathetic “hero” in this one. I enjoyed where the author was going with this part of her character and it was interesting how the mysterious High King was involved, but I wished that there was a little more exploration so I could better connect to this element of the story. Other characters around her, including Hans, also have influences over her change. As a character, Hans was very enjoyable as he had a nice balance of vulnerability and toughness.
The final part of the story goes through the trials, which do feel sudden as the transition made the story feel jumpy. I enjoyed their purpose, but they did feel a little underwhelming. The same can be said for the romance that develops between Ava and Hans. While I greatly enjoyed the two of them connecting and feel they do belong together, I just wanted more from their romance considering this is a main element of the book. While there were some negatives with this tale, there was a lot to enjoy. There were elements of Red Riding Hood, but they were more subtle than a straight-forward retelling. I liked this style as it gave a nice complexity to Ava and her journey. Overall, this series continues to be enjoyable, and I look forward to reading the next story!