The Wish Granter is the second offering in C.J. Redwine’s Ravenspire series, which began with The New York Times-bestselling The Shadow Queen, a retelling of Snow White featuring shape-shifting dragons, among other embellishments. This time the Nashville author reimagines Rumpelstiltskin as a ruthless, power-hungry fairy who goes by the name of Alistair Teague. Betrayed by a human and exiled from the fae island of Llorenyae, Teague settles in the kingdom of Súndraille, where his hatred and fear of people fuels a mad scheme to conquer and destroy human civilization. Also known as the Wish Granter, Teague is eager to give unsuspecting and desperate humans their hearts’ desires—though always with a devastating catch.
Seventeen-year-old Prince Thaddeus and Princess Arianna are illegitimate twins born to the King of Súndraille and one of his servants. Kept in the shadows for most of their lives, they are finally forced to leave the palace following the birth of the King’s legitimate heir. Unbeknownst to the King, the Queen sends one of her hunters to attack the twins and their mother once they are clear of the palace. Thad and Ari survive the assassination attempt, but their mother does not.
Desperate to protect his sister, the kind-hearted Thad unwisely makes a wish, which gives Alistair Teague the opening he needs to set in motion a chain of events that threatens to destroy their kingdom and all the people they love. When the Princess finds out what her brother has done, she vows to protect him and her people from the schemes of the monstrous Teague. But Ari soon finds she is going to need a lot more than bravery to take down such a powerful magical being.
Redwine takes great liberties with the Rumpelstiltskin tale but has great fun, as well. A highlight is the appearance of a badass version of Hansel and Gretel as bounty hunters who transport two pairs of blood-thirsty, shape-shifting panthers to the palace for protection. Ari looks on in dread and awe, especially of Gretel:
Beside the crate closest to Ari stood a girl about her age with the lithe, muscular frame of someone whose body was a sharply honed weapon. Her dark red hair was worn long, and a brilliant strip of shocking white that started at her left temple was braided and tied with tiny silver chains. She wore all black, and several of the runes that were embroidered on the cloths [covering the cages] were inked into her forearms. In her hands, she slowly twirled a black whip studded with iron spikes.
In this version of their origin story, the brother and sister kill the witch who kidnapped them and then proceed to track down and kill anyone who purchased orphans from her. They become bounty hunters in the process because, as Hansel says, “Turns out, we had a knack for it.” Here’s hoping at least one of the future books in the Ravenspire series will focus on the further adventures of Hansel and Gretel, Bounty Hunters.
Although it features magical spells, exotic creatures, and even a fairy house that comes to life and curiously inspects its human inhabitants, The Wish Granter is ultimately a straightforward story of murder, mayhem, and lust for power challenged by unlikely allies. It is also a tale of female empowerment couched as a princess story. As Ari vows, “By the time she was finished with him, Teague was going to regret ever setting foot in her kingdom.” Sounds like she and Gretel just might get along.
A graduate of Auburn University, Tina Chambers has worked as a technical editor at an engineering firm and as an editorial assistant at Peachtree Publishers, where she worked on books by Erskine Caldwell, Will Campbell, and Ferrol Sams, to name a few. She lives in Chattanooga.