Jessica Day George’s final Westfalin book does not drop the idea of being a fairy tale retelling—except as a practical matter. Technically, this is a Little Red Riding Hood retelling, and there’s enough elements that you can see the relationship, but that’s it.

It is a very nice continuation of the themes of the first two books in the series, however. Specifically, it is in many ways a direct sequel to the first book, Princess of the Midnight Ball (though it’s been several years), and deals with the King Under Stone again.

Because of the ties to previous books, I wouldn’t recommend starting here, though it should make sense on its own. On the other hand, if you enjoyed the previous ones, you’ll certainly enjoy this. The cast is a bit large for the size of book in this one; some people are important early, and hardly get a mention later. And then you get entirely too many people in the action at once for it to be handled well, except by keeping some solidly in the background. I also missed Prince Christian from the second book, who was entirely off-screen this time. But other than that, the pacing flows well, and while it is obvious that something is up, and certain people should be treated with a lot more suspicion, exactly who is the cause of problems is not obvious.

At any rate, while this series isn’t my favorite by her (that’s still Dragon Slippers), it’s still an enjoyable early-YA read.