Ever read a book a few times, just to understand it? That’s my relationship with Red Hood’s Revenge, the third book in Jim C. Hines’ Princess Series. Fortunately, every time I read it, I understand a bit more.
Now, Red Hood introduces The Lady of the Red Hood, Roudette, who is an assassin. Years ago, she attacked Beatrice and Talia managed to fend her off. Now, she’s come back, but not for the royal family of Lorindar. Little Red Riding Hood has come for Sleeping Beauty.
Red Hood takes the reader back to Talia’s home country and what has become of it since the princess ran away, fearing her safety. In a way, it’s similar to Mermaid’s Madness; Mermaid delved into the mermaid culture, while Red Hood explores Arathea and its traditions, particularly the fairy church, which is different from the fairy interactions in Lorindar.
In Arathea, human magic is forbidden and fairies are worshipped as gods. The human rulers have less power than the fairies and humans are seen as second class. And everyone wants to use Sleeping Beauty in order to control her homeland.
But Talia is still a princess at heart and she sees how the fairies are manipulating her homeland. She has spent a great deal of time nursing a hatred for fairies and fairy magic. Their curse ruined her life and took away her family once and she isn’t going to allow them to do it again.
Roudette also nurses a hatred against the fairies and the Wild Hunt; her family and town also followed the fairy church, but it hadn’t protected them from the Wild Hunt. Hiding in the shadows, she watched fairies slaughter her family and her village and she has hunted them ever since. Now, she will use Sleeping Beauty’s curse to get her revenge. She plans to deliver Talia to the fairy-in-charge and then activate the curse again. Sleeping Beauty will send everyone around her into a deep sleep and Roudette prays that the humans will enter the palace and slaughter the fairies, just as fairies slaughtered her home.
And of course, Danielle and Snow White are along for the ride. But it isn’t easy; Snow White’s head injury from Mermaid’s Madness has been affecting her and her ability to do magic. Every time she uses her magic, she is a little more tired and she needs more time to recover from spells than she used to.
But what I like best about this book is Talia’s interactions with the people who helped her after her escape from her curse. She goes to the Temple of the Hedge and the Mother helps her there. She also finds one of her friends, Faziya, whom Talia has a history with. It’s interesting to see Talia and Faziya together and how caring they are. Talia is willing to do anything to save Faziya when she is captured by fairies and Faziya won’t let Talia go into battle alone. This is more than the hints that Talia has a crush on Snow White, this is a real relationship between a fairy tale princess and her female lover.
However, Faziya is staying in Arathea while Talia, Snow White and Danielle return to Lorindar. And there are still unresolved issues such as Beatrice’s failing health, Snow’s injury and headaches and Snow and Talia’s relationships. Fortunately, there’s one more book: The Snow Queen’s Shadow.