Princess Zara has one month. One month to save her life, one month to fall in love, one month to find a husband, and one month to walk through hell and back. One princess, two princes; one demon, nine rings of hell. Is one month long enough to bring three people together to save a kingdom? Whether it is or not, Zara, Kennit, and Bram — the princess and her two princes, one as dark as night, one as fair as day — will have to do the impossible and walk through hell for love.
Zara is a tough as nails princess who wears armor, wields a sword, and doesn’t want to marry for anything but love. But that’s now how life works for a princess. If she doesn’t marry, her father’s kingdom will pass to a cousin line, so Zara sucks it up, puts on a dress, and does her duty. Which is pretty much how she lives her life. Accepting what cannot be changed with understanding, and yet working to remain true to herself. It makes her a pleasant enough character, pragmatic and phlegmatic, with the understanding that life isn’t a fairy tale, even if you are a princess.
And then she’s poisoned with a poison so dastardly that the only cure — besides death — is found in the depths of hell itself. So, taking matters into her own hand, Zara decides to take a walk through hell, and with her are two princes, though only one is a viable candidate. Oh yes and the demon. Of her two companions, Zara has the most connection and the most interest in Prince Kennit, but alas, he wears glasses, which means he’s poor breeding stock and so can’t be considered as a husband.
For all that, Kennit is reliable, loyal, and deeply in love with Zara. He constantly thinks about her happiness, her comfort, and her safety. When the group of them are in the ring of lust where Zara cannot help but give in to the need to be fucked, Kennit is the one who thinks to bring protection, the one who thinks about giving her an orgasm rather than just getting off, while the demon and Prince Bram are only interested in their own release. If only the tall, dark, handsome, and clever man didn’t need glasses!
Prince Bram is blonde, built, and a gung-ho bully. Forward is the only direction he’ll go, and Bram is the only person he thinks about. He wants to be a powerful king, which means he needs a princess, and Zara is pretty and available, which makes her perfect. It’s also made very clear from the beginning of the story that Bram is not Zara’s choice and never shall be. He begins as a caricature and ends as one. Like their demon guide, Bram has no character arc. He’s feels just there to be pretty and petty.
The writing is serviceable and the pacing is good. The story reads fast and I managed to get through it relatively quickly and easily, but it’s a strange read. The set up and start had me expecting a traditional fantasy, but then it wanders away from the fantasy into an erotic romp through the ring of lust with a four-way gang bang, and then like a comedic romance novel. All in all, I was left a bit nonplussed. I found the pieces too separate from one another and the characters so light and paper thin that I couldn’t feel a connection to any one of them. Unfortunately, this is a pass from me.