A betrayal, a prophecy, a kingdom in the balance.
Sixteen years ago the evil Dahlia overthrew the kingdom of Roshall Grove, the heart of the Fairy World. A prophecy foreseen by Edwina, a powerful enchantress, remains the only hope to topple her iron-fisted rule. Now, Lina, a simple peasant girl, learns her future is linked to this prophecy. Edwina brings Lina to the Fairy World to fulfill her destiny—conquering Queen Dahlia.
Separated from the enchantress by agents of the dark queen, Lina begins a perilous journey to join the Resistors, who await her return to mount their attack. Thrust into this strange world, Lina must navigate relations with a host of different fairies and animals, never knowing who seeks to help or to thwart her. Finally reunited with the Resistors, Lina must find the strength to lead her people and fulfill the prophecy.
Meanwhile, Dahlia prepares for the battle, which will ultimately decide the survival of her reign, while reflecting on the path that brought her and her foe to this moment of reckoning.
A fairy tale with an ending twist, A Prophecy of Wings is loosely based on Thumbelina by Hans Christian Andersen and examines the ideas of predestined fates and the subsequent, sometimes unforeseen, consequences.
Lina’s life on her parents’ farm is simple and uneventful. Until Lina discovers that she is in truth a fairy princess, hidden in the mortal world after her evil aunt Dahlia overthrew Lina’s real parents and took over their kingdom. Guided by the powerful enchantress Edwina and accompanied by her dear swallow friend Knox, Lina embarks on a perilous journey across the Fairy World to reclaim what is hers, free the world from Queen Dahlia’s dark rule and fulfil an age-old prophecy in the process.
I love a good fairytale retelling, and A Prophecy of Wings delivered fairly well in this respect. Elements from the original tale (such as the wide range of creatures that Thumbelina meets) were seamlessly incorporated into a new and original storyline. Lina’s efforts to navigate relations with a number of fairies and animals were good in showcasing the diversity of the Fairy World and helped keep the story fresh and entertaining. Sadly, the advance reader copy presented several errors, which were extremely distracting, but will likely be addressed in the final copy.
I enjoyed following a double point of view. The insight into Dahlia’s past and motives was particularly welcome, and a refreshing change from the typical villain, even though she still felt stereotypical in several respects. By contrast, I was not particularly impressed with Lina herself. Even though she has a good character arc and grows well by the end of the book, she felt rather passive for the majority of it. I did enjoy her inner monologue, her raw honesty in doubting herself and her strong desire not to let down all those who were counting on her, but there wasn’t much more to her. The ensemble cast could also have been developed further to present characters that were more fully rounded but, as they were, it felt like a missed opportunity.
Starting from the common “chosen teenager has to save the world because of a prophecy” trope, this book has a lot of fun playing with readers’ expectations whilst engaging them in reflection on themes like destiny and true love. The ending twist referenced in the blurb was definitely unexpected but felt slightly forced and a tad silly to me. It might still work well for its target audience but fell flat for this adult reader.
Overall, A Prophecy of Wings is a well-written, engaging and fresh take on a beloved old tale. It is likely to be particularly appealing for younger readers (14-16) who enjoy fairytale retellings and fantasy books with a strong focus on characters over plot.
This review was originally published on Reedsy Discovery on 27th May 2021.