Princess of Souls by Alexandra Christo – ARC Review!

For sixteen years, Selestra has been trapped in her tower on the Floating Mountain, preparing to take her mother’s place as the King’s Witch, who foretells deaths in the Festival of Predictions. Outrunning your fate earns a wish and the chance to steal the King’s immortality. But die and your soul is forfeit. And though thousands have tried, nobody has ever beaten death.

A soldier in the King’s army, Nox is an unlikely candidate for the Festival, but, driven by revenge, he is determined to steal the King’s immortality and kill the entirety of his court, starting with Selestra.

Yet when Selestra touches Nox in her very first prediction, their fates become entwined, and death seeks to take both their souls. Only by working together can they survive long enough to escape the dark fate and the immortal King that now hunts them.

Selestra feels trapped. Trapped in a life she never asked for as the next Somniatis Witch for the King, doomed to a life of seeing people’s deaths and stealing their soul to keep the King immortal. But when Nox, a soldier in the King’s army turns up asking to take part in the festival of predictions, Selestra see’s something strange. Nox’s fate and death seem linked to her own, and before long Selestra finds herself drawn to this boy until more than their fates are entwined. Alongside friends, they journey to search for a weapon capable of killing the King, taking his immortality once and for all. But everything comes with a price, and freeing the Kingdom from this tyrant may ask more of Selestra than she is willing to pay.

Princess of Souls is told from the POV’s of Selestra and Nox. Selestra is the next in line to become the King’s witch, something she would rather avoid, but thanks to a curse put on her ancestral line, she has no choice in the matter. She leads a lonely life, unable to touch anyone without being drawn into a vision of their death, and slowly but surely finds the walls of the tower closing in around her. She is headstrong and more than able to look after herself in a fight, but she lives under the shadow of her fate, and would do anything to try and escape it. Nox is after blood. He wants the King, as well as the Somniatis Witches dead, and see’s the festival as his one chance. But when he meets Selestra he see’s not evil, but sadness in her eyes. Someone who wants to change their fate, as well as the Kingdom, as much as he does. He’s resistant to trust her at first, but knows that she is the key to him getting his revenge.

Christo has a knack for writing incredibly fast paced stories that never manage to skimp on character exploration or world building. Her writing style and use of plot twists keep the story moving at an energetic pace and she inserts the perfect balance of high octane scenes as well as the slower style. The fight scenes were brilliantly brought to life and played like a little movie in my head whilst reading, and they certainly add to the energy of the story whilst also enamouring you to our characters. But I think the parts I loved reading the most were the scenes where Selestra used and explored her magic. She is so sure that it leads only to death, to pain and torture, but as the story unfolds she starts to see a different side to it, a side that stops her from being scared of using at, and a side that makes her infinitely more powerful.

As a Rapunzel retelling, it’s pretty on point. Girl trapped in tower, rescued by rakish boy and they then bring down the people who kept her locked. But thanks to the magic system, as well as how our characters are written, Christo manages to make it wholly her own. If you enjoy enemies to lovers romances, then this is definitely worth checking out. The snark, the sneaky looks, the fights and the eventual romance made for a fun and entertaining read. They bring out the best in each other, as well as help each other to get over past issues, and I thoroughly enjoyed following them on their journey.

If you’re in the mood for a high energy, entertaining and fast paced read filled with magic, romance and brilliantly written characters then you should definitely pick this book up. I thoroughly enjoyed following Selestra on her journey of revenge and exploration and can safely say that Christo is becoming a favourite author of mine.

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