Author: Melanie Cellier
Narrator: Esther Wane
Audiobook Length: 7 hours 5 minutes
Spinning straw into gold was only the beginning of the story…
Marie, the dutiful princess of Northhelm, chafes under the rigid protocol that governs her life. Then a growing darkness threatens the kingdom and uncovers the lie at the centre of her whole life – a single pact that changes everything.
Throwing off convention, she joins Rafe, a handsome, charming newcomer, on a quest to save her kingdom. Except he doesn’t know she has a mission of her own – to discover the truth about her identity. Increasingly drawn to Rafe’s strength and good humour, Marie is torn by her double purpose. With time running out and death and destruction looming, Marie will have to unravel the bargains that surround her and choose where her true allegiance lies.
In this twist on the classic fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin, a hidden identity is just one of the things Marie will have to unravel.
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The Princess Pact is the third full-length novel in The Four Kingdoms series and the fourth installment I have read. While this is not my first take on a Rumpelstiltskin retelling, it was an interesting yet simple one. Throughout this series it is fairly apparent that the worldbuilding has been inspired by Christianity, so it could potentially fall under the Christian Fiction category; however, if this is not your type of genre, it is not too apparent, so it does not overtake the novel and can be read entirely separate from the genre. It seemed to be a fine line that the author went along, but it does come across as writing that could appeal to both those that like and dislike that genre. Instead, the focus remains on the fairy tale side with new takes on classic tales.
Princess Marie of the kingdom of Northhelm first made her appearance in the first novel, The Princess Companion, so I liked that it was finally time to focus on her as a main character. The way Marie fits into the Rumpelstiltskin aspect of the story were well-done as it was a nice unique take on the source material. There is also some bits of the tale of the Pied Piper mixed in and it weaved together well with the other elements. Through events of trying to discover a truth from her past, Marie ends up meeting an adventurer named Rafe. There was a lot of insta-love happening between the two, which I semi-expected, but what set this potential couple from the previous is that there were slightly different obstacles between them. While I do prefer a slow build, I do enjoy that there is some relationship building to cement the connection between the two characters rather than leaving it only at the initial joining.
The pacing of this story is a roller coaster where it begins quickly with the disappearance of Marie’s brother William, but it does slow a lot in the rebel camp before it finally picks up again to wrap-up the story. While I do not mind some slow-down to build up the characters and plot, I do wish this part was shortened or altered in some way to where it did not read as slow. Rafe was enjoyable with secrets of his own and I enjoyed his interactions with Marie. The actual story is fairly predictable, and I feel some parts were wrapped up too quickly and easily, but it was still an interesting read. I look forward to reading the final two in the series with one more novella and one more full-length novel!