The ever-prolific Miss D.E. Shipley has recently released the fifth novella in her Wilderhark Tales, a charming series of fairy-tale retellings and mash-ups.
The Sun’s Rival takes the Wilderhark world to a whole new level–and in a slightly different direction, being her magical realm’s take not on a fairy tale, but on the ancient story of Psyche and Cupid. As golden as anything Miss Shipley’s words have wrought before, as fraught with peril, as full of love and love’s hard choices, this story focuses on the truth of beauty, and the eyes that behold it.
As a reader, I most loved the way the Wilderhark world expanded, the new elements this book brought into play. Of course I also loved the chance to see my old favorites again, Edg and Rose, and like most fans, I delighted in see the children of beloved characters, and amused myself spotting elements of their parents within them.
Vivid individuals once again characterize Shipley’s story–characters loveable, hateable, obnoxious, confusing, admirable, frightening, and everything else that people can be.
As a writer, I wished there was a way for the mid-book reveal to pack a little punch–I was unfortunately unsurprised, but since some readers might be, I will refrain from spoiling it. While it didn’t surprise me, however, it did make me happy, and as there were some other, more emotional shocks to the system at the time, I’ll let it slide.
On the whole, the book was a beauty to match the heart of the princess inside.
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