Review by Booklist Review
Selah, the Seneschal-Elect of Potomac, believes her best quality is her ""faith that a larger story is being told all around us, even when it's beyond our view."" It's a quality she'll need. When her proposal is publicly rejected, Selah's stepmother has a solution ready: Selah will set sail across the Atlantic to court the sons of strong royal families. For shy Selah, devoted to her father and her gentle, down-to-earth colony, the prospect is beyond intimidating. More frightening still, the journey will bring her to the Imperiya, the domain of the infamous witch-queen tsarytsya whose reputation alone fills Selah with fear. Selah's journey, which follows classic fairy-tale conventions and features high adventure, political intrigue, and swoon-worthy romance, takes her to alternate historical versions of England and Scandinavia, where she meets legendary storytellers and mythical heroes as she comes into her own. Bright's debut, the first half of a duology, is enhanced by a large cast of well-developed secondary characters and gracefully handled interwoven plotlines. A glittering paean to storytelling with wide appeal.--Maggie Reagan Copyright 2019 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A nave young noblewoman sails from the New World into several European fairy tales.Selah has spent her sheltered life as the heiress to Potomac, a small territory in an alternate-timeline America, reading fairy tales and chastely longing for Peter, a childhood friend, oblivious to the political intrigues that surround her. But when Peter refuses her proposal, her conniving stepmother sends her on a sudden mission to Europe to court more politically useful romantic connections. Selah boards the Beholder armed with a book of fairy tales and the blessings of her godmother, a nunand soon encounters Arthurian legend, Nordic mythology, Baba Yaga, and other fairy-tale motifs aplenty. An array of charming princes provide swooningly romantic moments, and Selah's attraction to multiple boys is written as normal, not shameful. Selah is white, and Peter and many secondary characters are racially diverse, but the book's idealized multiculturalism is severely undercut by erasure of the Indigenous population in Potomac, an oversight that makes Selah's criticism of other land-hungry empires ring hollow. Winking nods to various tales and their tellersSelah's entourage includes Homer, Perrault, Yasumaro, and Lang, to name a feware sometimes twee but always entertaining. Selah is at first tiresomely nave and sugar-sweet but begins to rise into maturity and complexity that, the cliffhanger ending suggests, will be explored more thoroughly in a sequel.A selection box of candy-sweet fairy-tale tropes. (Fantasy. 12-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.