Taylor Hatfield has a few things going for him that other princesses don’t. Well, first off, he’s a guy, so the whole finding his prince thing and living happily ever after is slightly skewed since in the eyes of his parents, he needs to marry a female prince—an even rarer being that a male princess. And second, Princess Taylor Hatfield, meant to marry a female prince and have babies and live happily ever after, is gay. As the older curseless brother, Taylor has lived his life in the shadow of his perfect brother Atticus, the reincarnation of Snow White. His life is not perfect and it’s not always fair, but it’s his, and regardless of how hard his life gets sometimes, Taylor love his brother.
When Taylor’s hand is forced into marriage, he does what any logical-minded princess would do. He runs away and leaves his prince at the altar. In his absence, Atticus is left to clean up his mess and inadvertently stumbles into the plot of the Witchking Idi, who has planned for centuries to get his hands on Snow White once again. In order to do so, Idi needs to get rid of Taylor first, so he sends a huntsman after the fuckup princess.
Corentin Devereaux was enslaved to Idi centuries ago and wants nothing more than to be free. The job to find and kill Princess Taylor was supposed to free him, but he knows better. When he discovers that the princess is not only harmless, in the practical sense, but also cureless, Corentin decides to use Taylor to his own advantage and gain his freedom the only way he knows how.
When Taylor discovers exactly who and what Corentin is–huntsmen are deadly to princesses like Taylor–distrust is the least of their problems. As Corentin has decided to help Taylor instead of harm him, Idi has cast a spell and sent them on a quest turning the roads of America against them–one moment they are in Talladega, the next New Mexico. In order to find their way out and back to save Taylor’s brother, they’ll have to work together. But as the attraction between them grows, a spell cast on Corentin threatens to tear everything apart, if the insanity of the road trip doesn’t get to them first.
This book is all of fairy tale land on speed. In a good way. I’m so very in love with these characters and the world in general. I’m having a hard time not gushing all over the page and ruining this whole book for you. It’s that good. I read this book because, first and foremost, I love fairy tales. Who doesn’t? We’re raised on them. But geez, I love a good (and sexy) twist on them too. Americana Fairy Tale is all kinds of twisted. Second is the fact that I have come to adore this author’s work. This is a lesser reason for me to pick up the work, but still a good reason for the simple fact that I never know what to expect from Chase. I’m happy to say I was pleasantly surprised at all turns.
Chase has taken fairy tales remade to a new level with this book. There are so many twists, quirks, happenings–whatever you want to call them–that kept me off balance enough to keep me guessing and wondering throughout the entire story. First, the author created a fairy tale world inside a world–which, yes, has been done before. The world of magic and wonder inside of our reality, America. Here, in Chase’s world, there are male princesses. Several characteristics define a male princess, the greatest being their fairy godmother or fairy godfather. In Taylor’s case, he’s Ringo. Geez, I love Ringo. Princesses in general have rules in this world–they can’t have sex or feel pleasure outside of being with their one true love, at the age of twenty-five the oldest is married off, they have to continue the line. There are more, but really, do you want me to give everything away?
I’m fascinated with how this author takes pieces of children’s lore and twists it until it’s just barely recognizable. Like Corentin, the Huntsman. I mean, yes, we know about the huntsman in Snow White, but Corentin is not your kid’s fairy tale huntsman. He’s a bad guy/sort of good guy. But his twist is that he’s dark magic. He’s part of the dark side of the fairy tale world. Yet, the human spin the author puts on Corentin makes him relatable and likable when he should be anything but. There are spins within the princesses as well that I can’t really go into, but the way this author uses the fairy tale princesses of old and their evil queens/witches to create one male princess, it’s fascinating and quite ingenious.
The story is long–it’s an epic quest, after all–but surprisingly it’s a smooth read. There is so much to this book, to the story, that I didn’t even realize so much time (and story length) had passed. Taylor’s and Corentin’s story is huge. A race to save Atticus, to save Taylor’s virtue, to rescue Corentin’s… well, I’m not giving that away for free. Read the book. On top of everything else, the author goes big in all she does with this story. Hansel and Gretel, metal elephants, crazy witches, shark people, flighty pixies, and the Pied Piper–this book has a little bit of everything on steroids.
I fell in love with Taylor immediately. It’s not hard to do. Taylor is the screwup, and who doesn’t love a screwup? The thing is, Taylor just wants what we all want. He wants to find love and live his life the way he wants to. I freakin’ love Taylor so much. He’s such a big, bright part of this story. And as much of a screwup as he thinks he is, he’s really just a guy doing the best with what he has. Then there’s Corentin. The huntsman is dark with a good heart. You know in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? when Jessica Rabbit says, “I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way?” Well, that’s sort of Corentin. He’s not bad, but it’s in his making, his DNA to be bad, so his battle is as much inward as it is outward. He doesn’t believe in the myth that a huntsman can change, yet daily he falls for Taylor. Their story is a definite slow burner but damn, it’s good.
Atticus as a supporting character has a huge role in this storyline, and I am still reeling from it. He is the reincarnation of the Snow White. I was blown away by the turn that Atticus’ journey took in this plot. I did not expect it. I am still not sure how it will end. But wow. What a trip Lex Chase took me on.
This book ends with several unanswered questions, leaving Taylor and Corentin set up for another story. I, for one, am waiting not very patiently for that book. Americana Fairy Tale is so damn good, guys. I almost want to just pick it back up and start reading again just to be back in that world. I can’t wait to see what comes next. I highly, highly recommend Americana Fairy Tale by Lex Chase.
Cover: How wonderful is this cover? Paul Richmond did such an amazing job piecing together the fantasy as well as the American road trip vibe of this book. I just adore this cover so much.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.