Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir is a fantastic, clever, new take on a witch locking a princess in the tower story. Tamsyn Muir is the best selling author of Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth both books in The Locked Tomb trilogy those books are dark, and clever about a lesbian necromancer, I was really excited to read something lighter by her, and Princess Floralinda was a little lighter with some truly brutal scenes. The one thing that is clear is Tamsyn Muir is a clever writer and thinks out side of the box. Her writing so far is all about female empowerment with this novel taking it to another level, Princess Floralinda does not need a man to save her, she’ll do it herself. I have liked both the Ninth book but my biggest complaint was both books had point where I could not visualize, and this one did not have that problem. I have spoken of the brutality but this book also adds just the right amount of humor as well with many funny passages. Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower is my favorite of the three books that Tamsyn Muir has written. A special thanks to Netgalley and Subterranean Press for the advanced reader copy Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir will be published on November 30th 2020.
The Plot: A witch has put Princess Floralinda in a forty flight tower, with a monster or monsters on each flight. Floralinda tries to talk the witch out of this saying, wouldn’t you want to ransom me, so you can gain financially, the witch explains it is not about that the tower is more of an artistic expression. So Floralinda is stuck at the top as she sees a stream of princes fight for her honor and all die on the first flight to the dragon guarding it. Weeks go by with nothing happening she has books to read and magical bread, oranges and water. she waits and waits while reading, then she finds a diary of a girl who waited and waited, until she could wait no more and jumped out the window. She vowed that was not going to be her and she decides maybe the lower floors aren’t so bad, she opens the door and goes down bringing the magical bread to find gremlins below, she tries to offer bread and is brutally attacked, she fights back and trows one through the window before shutting her door, she wishes she had help, and a big storm brings a fairy, Cobweb, with a broken wing. Cobweb who is wise agrees to help the princess go down the tower in exchange that Floralinda give her tears which heal fairies.
What I Liked: How clever the writing is, it’s a simple idea that I have never seen done before, and it works. I liked how funny and particular the witch was with her artistry. The Princess Floralinda and Cobweb relationship is the heart of the story, it is so rocky but as the story goes on you really care about it. The brutality of the fights make it real, the princess gets her butt kicked but her and Cobweb’s cleverness keep them alive. I like the monster’s and the creativity behind some of them. I really enjoyed the story it went in directions I didn’t think it was going to go. The ending is perfect, not really a twist but a progression I did not see coming that is perfect.
What I Disliked: The library having Reader’s Digest really through me off that felt like some inside joke the reader wasn’t in on. The book skipped over one battle just showing the aftermath and not the fight, but it was the one I was looking forward to the most which felt a little cheapened by.
Recommendations: Read this short 200 page novella, it feels like a longer book in terms of how much story it covers. If you have read and enjoyed Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth then you will love this book who keeps the cleverness and good story telling. I hope she will visit other fairy tale tropes. I rated Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir 5 out of 5 stars.