The Fairy Tale Enchantress series, as I’ve mentioned before in my posts about Curse of Magic and KM Shea, is the third series set in Shea’s fairytale world. The third book, Reign of Magic, is set for release next month and it’s safe to say I’m excited!
I fully plan to do a full review of the series when it’s complete but for now, let me try and convince my fellow YA Fantasy lovers, and lovers of fairy tales, to pick up the series now. Shea is a prolific writer, so you don’t have to worry about being stuck waiting for the next one if you find yourself like me, craving more and more of her writing. I hate waiting too long for books, even if they’re sure to be worth it, so I wouldn’t be trying to hook as many people on Shea as I can if that were the case!
Though to a certain degree reading Timeless Fairy Tales will give you a lot of background to this series, I don’t think it’s necessary to read all of those books first (though you definitely should read them at some point). The Fairy Tale Enchantress series follows Enchantress-in-Training Angelique in her studies of magic under the prodigy, Enchanter Evariste.
The Best Parts
Angelique is a well rounded protagonist, which is very important considering the series is based around her and her character growth. Angelique, the daughter of a former soldier, begins her training at Luxi-Domus excited about the prospect of using magic but soon loses this love of her powers. Core magic, important to all mages but especially to those with the depth of power needed to be Enchanters and Enchantresses, comes in different categories. Angelique’s is war magic, and she is the first war mage to be brought forward with the potential for being an Enchantress.
The Veneno Conclave is a politically neutral organization that all mages are required to be a part of. The Conclave oversees the training of new mages, the sealing of black mages, and determines when and how magic can be used to solve problems in the rest of the continent. They have strict rules and standards, all of which are threatened by a powerful war mage enchantress.
Angelique’s struggle to toe the line between the fragile mask she wears, hoping that eventually the Conclave will cease to see her as a threat, and her real self is compelling and well told. Everything from the way she dresses to how she speaks and uses magic to alter her appearance is thought out and well balanced. However, as Angelique grows stronger and shakes off the oppression she’s felt from the Conclave she starts to become more confident and more powerful as a result.
The Good Parts
Having read Shea’s other series, Timeless Fairy Tales, I do enjoy the references and appearances of characters and stories that I’m familiar with from there. Some of these characters receive a little more fleshing out now that they have another chance to appear, and Angelique’s observations about them also give some additional perspective on their personalities. This part is perhaps subjective, as it will depend on whether or not you’ve read the other series and whether you’ve enjoyed those characters as well.
The descriptions of magic are far more extensive in this series, since it focuses on magic users. In the previous series, Angelique often made appearances to perform powerful magic, but we rarely got the insight into the work that went into these acts. Now, Angelique and Evariste demonstrate magical theory and technique, explaining how certain parts of magic work in this world.
What could be better
I didn’t really feel that there could be a “the bad” section for this series, as I have no serious bones to pick with it. There are, however, things that won’t necessarily score high in the enjoyability category (or at least didn’t for me).
I can’t necessarily say I’m surprised by the romance plot line in the series, since Shea’s books have universally revolved around a romantic plot. The fairy tales have all ended with happy ever afters and her other trilogy set in this world The Snow Queen series, also included a romantic subplot. With the Timeless Fairy Tales I was expecting the majority of the romance, considering the tales they were based off of. With The Snow Queen I wasn’t expecting the romance, but it was well done and crept up on the story in a fashion that struck me as well developed and thought out. The romantic subplot of the Fairy Tale Enchantress series is…not as good. It’s a little rushed, heavily relies on one character’s obvious feelings, and does not appear to be reciprocated, though I’m sure there will be some huge revelation that feelings are in fact shared on both sides.
Perhaps it’s the pressure to publish quickly, which considering in the time I’ve known Shea’s works she’s published at least three full length novels, a novella, and additional content I can understand, but the pacing of these novels is a little less well developed than I would have expected. The Snow Queen was clearly thought out, deliberate, and showed signs of prior planning for the way things developed. The Timeless Fairy Tales function as stand alone novels, and thus are each easily well paced for the appropriate tale. The Fairy Tale Enchantress story feels rushed at times.
Regardless of its flaws, I think the Fairy Tale Enchantress series is an appropriate follow up in the world that Shea has built. The last book in the Timeless Fairy Tale series left us on a bit of a cliffhanger regarding Angelique, Evariste, and the growing threats of black magic that we saw in both series. Changing course to focus on Angelique and how she came to be such an important character for the continent was a good idea in building the suspense for when we finally find out what exactly is going on. It also is appropriate considering hers is the perspective that would best handle that discovery.
In typical Shea style, the books thus far have been easy to read, engaging, and full of a pleasant cast of characters with appropriate antagonists here and there. Seeing more of how the Veneno Conclave and magic works has also been fun for world building. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the first two books, and I hope that the series continues to deliver!