I absolutely adored this novella. It’s fast-paced, kind of sassy and full of action. Not to mention the woman in the couple is the one more likely to kick your ass. That, and all of this fast-paced, sassy action takes place in Shanghai, with the backdrop of the Chinese New Year. The setting gives an extra layer of character and beauty to the storyline that I don’t often experience in novellas.
I knew from the very beginning that this would be a great story about a strong woman. After all, it starts with Medb being asked to marry a man by her father. Set in medieval times. And when she is only fourteen. There is even the comment that no one would push her into anything. So, mostly I was wondering how a romance was going to happen when you start with a character that just isn’t interested in marriage and has that kind of independence straight away. Most of the romance stories in The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance have far more submissive women. And I loved this change.
There’s nothing better than discovering that a loved series has a short story collection that goes along with it. And the fact that I realised this before getting too far into the series meant that I actually got to read most of this series in chronological order. Which, let me tell you, made an already amazing series amazing-er (it’s a word now…)
I’m so glad that everyone got a happy ending. And that, although the ending of Winter tied up the main plot points, there was Something Old, Something New to completely finish it off. After all, the series just had to end with a wedding, and this story did that perfectly.
Following on from The Eternal Warrior, I wasn’t sure where this story would go. I know that the main series focuses on Cin Craven. And, as with the other two short stories that I have read in this series (I have yet to actually read one of the novels), I absolutely loved this!
You know when you finish a really amazing series, and you just… ?? After finishing Winter, I strolled around, looked at all my books and wondered how anything else could live up to that standard. Yes, I had a short story left to finish in Stars Above, and that helped for a little while, but the main storyline, that big, epic battle that had been building up? It was done, finished, and I honestly wasn’t sure I would ever be able to read anything so amazing again (it’s okay, I got over this, but seriously… how many books punch you in the gut like that?)
I had no idea what to expect from this short story – I just know that I bought The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance because this tale was in it. It is a prequel to the Cin Craven series, and I’ve been hanging out to read the rest of the tales in the series. And I really wasn’t disappointed. This was thoroughly enjoyable, kind of cute and had just the right amount of sass.
Winter is a creepy, but cool character that we first meet towards the end of Cress. And more of her horrible history is then introduced in Fairest. Yet, it is when you read The Princess and the Guard that she shines through beautifully. And you start to understand that she is actually crazy – although for a very good reason.
This book was supposed to give an alternative point of view to Levana’s choices and life. And it did, it made me feel a little sorry for her and the history that she has been forced to face up to throughout the beginning of her life. Although it is all kind of horrible, and I felt a lot of sympathy for her throughout the tale, she’s still kind of an awful person.
Carswell’s activities and past are mentioned throughout Cress quite a bit. And it’s a little hard to figure the guy out. But, there is one moment that stands out specifically for Cress, and there are a number of reasons that he gives for his actions. And that moment with Kate Fallow is covered in Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky.