Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that I think you absolutely must read. The books will vary across genre and age category to include new releases, backlist titles, and classics. If you’re ready to explode your TBR, buckle up!
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This week’s pick is a lesser-known title from a beloved author that I simply adored! Fair warning: It’s hard to track down in print, but it’s available at a reasonable price on audio and as an ebook, and I was able to inter-library loan a copy without much trouble. Sorry, but trust me — it’s worth it!
Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir
When the witch puts Floralinda at the top of the forty-flight tower, it’s not personal. She’s just interested in testing out her towers and filling each floor with a prince-slaying horror. Floralinda is assured that if she just waits for a prince to rescue her, she won’t be there too long, and she’s even given a few magical food items to last the wait. After watching one too many princes perish on the bottom floor, delicate Floralinda becomes convinced she’s stuck there for life — however long that may be. But when an unexpected ally turns up, Floralinda discovers she just might have a chance at rescuing herself, one floor at a time.
This is a novella that I desperately wished was a novel, that’s how much I enjoyed it. And it was on the longer side for a novella, thank goodness. This contains a lot of humor, which I’ve come to expect of Muir, although it’s a slightly different flavor of humor than what you’ll find in her Locked Tomb trilogy. Floralinda goes through quite the satisfying character transformation in this book, from a helpless and guileless princess who conforms to all the stereotypes of a soft, delicate lady and is quite clueless about the severity of her situation, to a hapless victim, to a reluctant fighter, and finally, a determined woman who relishes taking on the monsters on each level. There’s a lot of great stuff here about agency and autonomy, and facing hard things even when the odds are stacked against you. I was also incredibly amused by Muir’s ability to come up with 40 very different and compelling challenges for each floor, and it was honestly so fun reading about how Floralinda approaches each one. I finished this novella and wanted to immediately start it again, which is about the highest compliment I can pay a book!
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