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TBR Spotlight: The Trouble With Kings by Sherwood Smith

Back to the regularly scheduled TBR Spotlight this week, and I’ve rolled book #49, The Trouble With Kings by Sherwood Smith.

Princess Flian finds herself the unwilling object of desire of three royals. Is the one she wants a villain–or a hero?

Waking up in a strange place, Flian Elandersi at first doesn’t know who she is. One wicked prince tells her she is secretly engaged to an even more wicked king who wants to marry her right away. But before that happens, yet another wicked prince crashes through a window on horseback to sweep her off her feet.

Memory returns, and Flian realizes that all any of them seem to want is her considerable wealth, not her pleasant-but-ordinary self. She longs to escape the barracks-like, military atmosphere and return to civilization and her musical studies.

Flian endures another abduction, this time in the middle of a poetry reading. Who is the villain? Prince Garian Herlester–languid, elegant, sarcastic? Prince Jaim–he of the dashing horsemanship? Or King Jason Szinzar, whose ambiguous warning might be a threat?

Flian decides it’s time to throw off civilization and take action. The problem with action is that duels of wit turn into duels of steel–and love can’t be grabbed and galloped away.

Sherwood Smith is one of my favourite fantasy authors, but I think she’s very underrated as I rarely see anyone else talking about her. She writes exactly the kind of romantic, adventurous, slightly humorous court fantasy I adore, full of practical princesses, dashing-but-bookish heroes, and a smidgen of magic to liven it all up. They’re just the perfect antidote to the grimdark kick the fantasy genre’s been on recently, and though they aren’t necessarily low stakes or fluffy, they’re always kind of comforting to me. I think they hit the Tamora Pierce button in my brain very nicely. This particular book, The Trouble with Kings, has been sitting on my Kindle for absolutely ages – in fact, it’s the oldest Kindle book on my TBR. Flian sounds like a really enjoyable heroine and I love the sound of the plot. I think I’m going to make the effort to get to this very soon as it’s just what I’m in the mood for.

Have you read this one, or any other Sherwood Smith? I’d love to find some more fans!

Author's Note

#SweepUpYourSmols TBR!

Two TBRs in a week?! I know, it’s unheard of! But this weekend is the third round of #SweepUpYourSmols, my mini-readathon where the goal is to read as many books under 300 pages as you can. So, do you want to see the books I’m choosing from? There’s no way I’ll get to all of these, but I’ve got a nice selection!

I actually found myself really having to search for small books to include! I think I’ve been picking them off and leaving the longer chonks to wait, which is not ideal… Still, there’s an eclectic mix of things so I feel like I’ll be fine for some mood reading.

The Game by Diana Wynne Jones

I’m working my way through the few books on Diana Wynne Jones’s backlist that I didn’t read as a child, and this sounds like an interesting one – I’m in the perfect mood for one of her magical, fun stories.

Beauty and the Beast stories edited by Maria Tatar

This is a collection of different animal spouse fairytales from around the world – Maria Tatar’s name on it makes me sure it’s going to be interesting, and I always love adding new variations of fairytales to my repertoire!

Wood Angel by Erin Bow

I’ve seen lots of warnings that this is a pretty grim book for middle grade, violent and quite sad, but I was still tempted into it by its talking cat and witchy vibes, so I’ll give it a go, and if I’m not feeling the darker side of it, I’ll DNF.

Grayling’s Song by Karen Cushman

More witchy middle grade! This sounds like the kind of charming adventure I really love, with a girl out to stop a curse and rescue her mother. I think this would make a good bath read.

A True Princess by Diane Zahler

Diane Zahler’s fairy tale retellings are always great – a little dark, but really beautiful takes on their original stories. I’ve actually just finished writing my own take on The Princess and the Pea, so this might be a good time to read A True Princess!

Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B Larson

These next three were in my TBR during the last round of Sweep Up Your Smols – maybe this is the right time to get to this YA retelling of Swan Lake?

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

I don’t know too much about this one other than that it has a fantastic cover and queer female pirates, which honestly was enough to sell me on it!

Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

This actually popped up in my TBR Spotlight a few weeks ago, so head there for more of my thoughts on it!

Hawk of May by Gillian Bradshaw

This Arthurian retelling has been on my shelf for longer than I can remember. I’m actually a lot pickier now with Arthurian stories than I used to be, so I’m not sure if I’ll get on with this one, but it’s a high priority for me to at least try it and see if it’s a keeper, or if I can have some more space!

As You Wish by Cary Elwes

I love The Princess Bride movie – who doesn’t? And I also love love love behind the scenes books, so I’m really looking forward to this look back at its filming, from the horse’s mouth. I read the introduction when I got this book and decided to save it for a rainy day, as it was just so charming.

Will you be joining in with #SweepUpYourSmols? I’d love to see your short book picks!