Roudette is a very tough customer, and her red cloak is lined with a wolf skin that enables her to control wolves and change her shape. Her motivations are also a lot more complicated than you would expect from a “revamped fairytale” setting. The Wild Hunt destroyed her entire town and she has been trying to get revenge on them in specific and all fairies in general. (It’s interesting that in this revamp, the “wolf” actually was Little Red Riding Hood’s Grandma, and the hunter was the bad guy.) It seems that a fairy in Arathea is apparently using the Wild Hunt to harass the nomadic Kha’iida, a people who are sworn to be champions of the “good” peri against the evil deev. (Both deev and peri are the “original” fairies. Hines is following the belief that fairies are angels that fell from heaven, but weren’t quite bad enough to sink all the way to hell with Lucifer and his minions.)
Our princesses end up teaming up with Roudette, and Talia must confront more of her past than she really wants to deal with. This is a very “Arabian Nights” setting that brings to mind in some ways Elizabeth Scarborough’s early “fairy tale” style fantasies, only a lot darker than Scarborough ever got in her early writing.
There is also a continuation of the Talia and Snow romantic arc. Talia still hasn’t resolved her feelings toward Snow White. Snow on the other hand is coping with a little bit of jealousy because Talia renews a romantic relationship with another woman. In true romantic trope fashion, this resulted in Talia believing that Snow was uncomfortable with Talia’s preferences in romantic partner.
I enjoyed the book over all but had a few unhappy moments toward the resolution of the novel. While Talia does point out Lakhim’s actions toward her family, she never confronts Lakhim about the reason why she killed Lakhim’s son. I can see how it would make sense that she’d avoid it, given the needs of diplomacy (Talia not wanting to ruin Danielle’s efforts at diplomacy to bring up a personal issue) I found that the resolution of the situation wasn’t very satisfying on an emotional level. I did like Talia’s interaction with her (slightly homicidal) twin sons.