This is the story of Lady Red Sparkle Stone, or just Red, split between the past that led up to her freedom from slavery in the original Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, and her current story, nearly a decade after the war from that same trilogy.
I don’t want to say more about how this ties in, purely to avoid spoilers for the original series. However, I’ll say that this can be read as standalone. Some of the characters are recognizable, though for the most part, this is purely Red’s story. So for a general book synopsis: When Red’s petition to become a legal daughter of the queen is denied by the court, she responds by becoming the first woman to enter Guard tryouts. There, she has to prove herself and uncover a possible coop that’s gaining ground within the court.
It’s no secret that I loved the original trilogy. The world-building is amazing, the characters are fun, and the story is 100% satisfying. I first read the series in 2014, and later a collection of related short stories in 2015. But it’s been awhile! I didn’t remember nearly as much as I should have. And while the book can easily be read standalone, I found myself trying to remember details from the original – I didn’t actually remember Red at all, and that bothered me! – and that made the beginning of the book go slower than it should have. Once I finally said forget it and just read, I sped through the book, loving every second. Again, the story, characters, and world are just so perfect. If I was at home right now and had access to my copies of the first three books, I definitely would have gone back to reread them immediately.
I guess I know one book that’s going on my wishlist for Christmas this year!
PS – I have no idea if there will be further volumes of Red’s story. This wrapped up in a way that could be finished, or could have more adventures to follow. Personally, I’m hoping for the latter, just because I love this world so much! If you’ve never heard of this series, I highly recommend starting out with The Girl of Fire and Thorns.