Title: Lava Red Feather Blue
Author: Molly Ringle
Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing
Page Count: 350
What is this book about?
Awakening the handsome prince is supposed to end the fairy tale, not begin it. But the Highvalley witches have rarely done things the way they're supposed to. On the north Pacific island of Eidolonia, hidden from the world by enchantments, Prince Larkin has lain in a magical sleep since 1799 as one side of a truce between humans and fae. That is, until Merrick Highvalley, a modern-day witch, discovers an old box of magic charms and cryptic notes hidden inside a garden statue.
Experimenting with the charms, Merrick finds himself inside the bower where Larkin lies, and accidentally awakens him. Worse still, releasing Larkin from the spell also releases Ula Kana, a faery bent on eradicating humans from the island. With the truce collapsing and hostilities escalating throughout the country, Merrick and Larkin form an unlikely alliance and become even unlikelier heroes as they flee into the perilous fae realm on a quest to stop Ula Kana and restore harmony to their island.
Who wrote this?
Molly Ringle was one of the quiet, weird kids in school, and is now one of the quiet, weird writers of the world. She likes thinking up innovative romantic obstacles and mixing them with topics like Greek mythology, ghost stories, fairy tales, or regular-world scandalous gossip. She's into mild rainy climates, gardens, androgyny, chocolate, tea, and perfume (or really anything that smells good). She has lived in the Pacific Northwest most of her life, aside from grad school in California and one work-abroad season in Edinburgh in the 1990s. (She's also really into the U.K., though has a love/stress relationship with travel.) She currently lives in Seattle with her husband, kids, dog, guinea pigs, and a lot of moss.
Sleeping Beauty continued...
Lava Red Feather Blue was not the type of book I was expecting. I'm not one for standalones but I really enjoyed reading of a Sleeping Beauty retelling featuring Merrick and Larkin's adventures after the beauty wakes up.
Merrick wakes Larkin up from a 220 year long sleep that he was forced into. When Larkin awakes, so does Ula Kana, a fae hell bent on destoying the humans of Eidolonia. Now they must find a way to trap her again, before the government forces Larkin back into his restless slumber.
Wizards and WiFi
The integration of technology into a fantasy world/realm was interesting. I'm not a huge fan of tech in my fantasy books, but the author addresses that through her characters, which I thought was an interesting twist that modernized the story. The fact that Ringle did is so well impresses me, which is what kept me reading.
I found the story a bit juvenile but the writing and sexy scenes is what made it more of an adult fantasy. Those more intimate scenes were written tastefully with enough suggestion to know exactly what was going on, which I thought made the book that much better. Ringle keeps the language relatively clean while still delivering content that readers might have been looking for.
Young and the Restless
I don't find that Merrick acted his age. At a certain point in the novel, we learn that he is close to 30. I swear I thought he was 14-18 up until that point. Maybe it was his dialogue or the way he presented himself, or maybe compared to Larkin he seemed really young to me.
Once I understood that we were waking up Prince Larkin, I got really excited. The connection between a centuries-old character and one from today is always a fun experience. I was worried that since this was written as a modern day fantasy with tech, the book would focus on Larkin learning how to use a phone and getting mad at the TV. There were glimpses of incomprehension here and there, but it was never the focus which made the book for me.
Love is love, and people are people
A lot of LGBTQ+ books tend to present characters who deal with homophobia or coming out issues, which are prevalent in the community and are important to talk about. However, I think it's just as important to present characters as living normal, happy lives.
This is exactly what Ringle does. We have M/M romance, F/F romance, and a non binary character, and not once are these mentioned outwardly or present an issue. I think it's great to present these characteristics as normal to society, because they are normal.
Great standalone book
We get a nice finale at the end of the book that gives us closure and solidifies the standalone-ness of the book. I thought this was a perfect ending to a great story, and I'm happy to leave it as a standalone to keep the characters just the way they are.
I give Lava Red Feather Blue 4 out of 5 stars.
What do you think of retellings? Is Sleeping Beauty one that you enjoy? Let me know!
~ Busy Book Nook