When a book starts with “What had happened was…”, you know it’s going to be good. I didn’t even realize I needed this book until it literally *dropped* into my lap by (almost) pure happenstance. <and targeted marketing> Don’t let the innocent exterior fool you. Princess Floralinda and the Forty-flight Tower is more than a perfect spin on an old trope; it’s a powerhouse of a novella with real depth to it, amidst the rampant parody.
Whimsical and hilarious, I cried legit tears of enjoyment at Tamsyn Muir’s satiric wit and quick turns of phrase in this comedic retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale.
An evil witch builds a forty-flight tower and entraps Floralinda at the top, ensuring her demise by carefully positioning monsters designed to poison, kill, or destroy at every level. Any prince destined to win the reward of the golden sword, along with Floralinda, will have to battle the monsters, not least of which is a jewel-encrusted dragon whose roars shake the tower walls at night. So far, the princes have all been reduced to dragon kibble, crunched to oblivion between its massive diamond teeth.
The princess has a real problem on her hands, that is until Cobweb enters the scene – a wily fairy with a mouth twice the size of her diminutive stature, and a razor-sharp intellect to boot.
In the end, Floralinda’s predicament is not so different from our own. We may or may not have a quick-witted fairy guiding us through a perilous journey. Yet truth lies not in treasure, but who we discover ourselves to be along the way, a confirmation of inner strength that, at the outset, we aren’t sure we possess.
Don’t worry, I won’t spoil the ending. Suffice it to say, this story is packed with as much heart as humor. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
If you decide to kick off the New Year with this gem of a tale, let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts.