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Twelve Days of Faery

(Shards of a Broken Sword #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  396 ratings  ·  80 reviews
King Markon of Montalier is at the end of his tether. His son, Prince Parrin, is afflicted with a rather nasty curse that slaughters, maims, or brutally attacks any woman with whom he so much as flirts. After the rumour that sweeps around the kingdom, promising that any woman breaking the ‘curse’ will be eligible to marry the prince, there is no shortage of willing ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published October 30th 2015)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  396 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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Intisar Khanani
Actual Rating: 4.5

A fun, intriguing, puzzle-box of a story. Oh, I loved this read. First off, standing ovation for a story told from the male POV (King Markon, who is not young, dashing, and full of passion, but actually turns out to be older, able to dash quite fast upon demand, and both practical and passionate) that also stars an extremely clever, fast-thinking and capable young-ish woman (enchantress!) who really, really carries the story. Oh my goodness, I loved Althea. Talk about smart,
Sherwood Smith
What a thoroughly fun story!

We have a fairy tale secondary world, with Doors appearing from Faerie, not a great thing for humans: as the mysterious mage Althea says to Markon, the king whose son and heir keeps losing fiancees to a horrible curse, the Seelie will off humans with a smile, and the Unseelie with a wink.

But if they are going to solve this mystery--and get Althea positioned for the future, something hinted at in the curious contract she signs with Markon--they're going to have to
Kira Simion
1st impression: I liked the title and the cover so they both dragged me in. I am ready for cuteness and faeries!

[Edit: 9-30-17]

•Cute moments every-so-often.
•Unique fairy plot. Who doesn't like a 'good' murder? Though, it did get a little boring for me (remember I am one person, so you or another may like it more), it was mainly because the only large plot I could find was centered around the murder and there wasn't much tension anywhere else to me.
•Definitely a lot of characters (which can lead
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love fairy tales with a twist?
Recommended to Estara by: some review.... not sure...
On my 2nd read I still really enjoyed it. Made me grab my other favourite of hers, Spindle, and am now reading that. Might reread Wolfskin after that. She has a voice of her own and I like her world and characters.

This book can be read standalone, as the protagonists of the other books in the series switch over. The shards of the sword being the thread that binds the story. There'll be a single volume edition at the end of Januar 2017 so I'll get that and see what happens (it includes a short
A very readable story, and plays thoroughly into my appreciation of competent female mages. Althea is very enjoyable (except, perhaps, for a little too much blushing).

Markon was a nice, honourable king, but what I call 'plot blind'. There are so many things that he failed to notice or realise and so (while the man was not by any means incompetent) I was frequently exasperated with him. I did think we would have benefited from more time spent with the culprit before the denouement, but did
Mar 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre-fantasy
3.5 stars!
Olga Godim
Sep 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
King Markon has a problem. Every girl his son, Prince Parrin, seemed to be interested in – a fiancé or a sweetheart or simply a ballroom flirt – has met an unfortunate accident. Some died. Others disappeared or ended up maimed. Nasty magic is obviously at work, and the poor prince is now reluctant even to smile at anyone, lest she suffers. Royal succession is in jeopardy. The king needs help to find out what is going on and remove the vicious curse.
Enchantress Althea offers her services. If she
Sadie Forsythe
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-lendable
Honestly delightful in an irreverent, slightly absurd, but purposeful way. I love that the POV is slightly off from what you would expect for a fairytale, that what Markon thinks of himself and what we're shown don't align in a charming way, that Althea runs circles around everyone without even batting an eyelash, that the hero/heroine are mature (Markon in his mid forties at least) and that the whole thing is written in a witty, engaging voice.

My only complaints are that I'm never pleased with
This is a fun novella, not quite on the level of the Two Monarchies books but still a very enjoyable read. I liked the twist on the cursed royalty, and the characters were pleasant. Plus, it's a mystery, and I love a good mystery. I will note that Gingell seems to have a thing for couples with a large age gap, but I won't hold that against her.

Plus, there's Fae. I'm always down for Fae.
Elisabeth Wheatley
I loved this book and not just because the author spells “faery” the same way as me. I lost count of how many times I busted out laughing because of the snark and sarcasm. Markon is a wonderful narrator who manages to be both sympathetic and entertaining. It was wonderful to have a fresh slant to the “cursed prince” archetype and the author made it amazingly new. Things like the repeated pie-related proverbs were particularly funny.

The plot:

I read this in two sittings with one brief break for
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy readers, character-driven storyline lovers
Recommended to Athena by: Intisar Khanani
4.5 stars
I really enjoyed this short novel, so much that it set me off on a (very worthwhile) W.R. Gingell reading binge. She writes wonderfully readable, interesting prose; good sturdy stuff that makes it darned hard to put-the-story-down-and-get-to-sleep-cuz-it's-3am-already!

Gingell has created a fascinating world where, amongst other things, magic is a routine matter, practiced by some people but not all, and generally taken for granted in the same way we viewed early
Lyndi W.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star
This was cleverly written and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The plot was fun and the characters were witty Mary Sues. You never doubted they'd succeed and any problems were solved with a MacGyver kind of ingenuity. I believe I snagged it as a Kindle Freebie and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.
C.J. Brightley
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adore everything I have read by W.R. Gingell and this is no exception.
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this fun book written in a light, almost playful style despite the terrible things that keep happening to the girlfriends/fiances/casual female acquaintances of the heir apparent to the throne of Montalier. Althea, an enchantress, comes along, a practical level headed lady who doesn't do dumb, random stuff (unlike some characters I've read about who do dumb, random stuff, usually only because the author told them to) and who moves the plot forward with her intelligence, wit, ...more
I must admit that it was surprisingly engaging for me. It wasn't the best fae book out there, but I did like the world Gingell had come up with. Yes, there were some parts I wish that had been explained in more detail or given more background information about, but overall it was an enjoyable reading experience for me and I didn't spot any glaring mistakes.
Would I recommend this book? I'd lean more towards yes than no. It was enjoyable but it wasn't memorable and I don't think I will remember
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, humour, romance
A bit of mystery, a bit of humour, a bit of romance, and a lot of fun.
This was delightful! A fun fairytale -esque fantasy with excellent pacing, a great story, and fantastic characters. I loved Markon- it was so refreshing to have such a wonderfully pragmatic and mature protagonist and his dynamic with Althea was just perfect. Althea! What a great character! Every scene she's in gets instantly more fun and keeping the story in Markon's POV kept her even more mysterious and unpredictable. (view spoiler) ...more
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Madcap. That's the first word that comes to mind with this story. Zany and fast paced and oh so fun.

The story is told from the POV of a non-traditional hero (only in sofar that he's a bit older and more mature than your average hero). It's different and works perfectly. There's mystery and a lot of magical adventure. Basically all of the things that make Gingell one of my new favorite authors. Her mind works in such a special way, and I love it!
My second review of a book by W.R. Gingell. It’s a fast-paced crime mystery with a romantic subplot, but there’s more adventure in it than solving a puzzle. POV is a third-person limited of a king whose son can’t marry because the worst things happen to whoever gets close enough to his heart. “Close enough” varies from engagement to a flirtatious smile. Rumor says it’s a curse and anyone who breaks it will be married to the prince. Althea, an enchantress who arrives to investigate, immediately ...more
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is an original take on a traditional fairy tale plot where unfortunate accidents happen to a prince's girlfriends/fiancees, and the king has offered a reward to whomever breaks the curse. I enjoyed the first person narrative of the king, who is simultaneously shrewd about ruling his kingdom and oblivious about personal relationships. There is the obligatory mystery of who or what is causing the accidents and delightful world building of the faery world. Interesting backstories are hinted at ...more
Nia Markos
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
In this modern fairy type tale, the stakes are high in breaking the curse afflicting King Markon's son. The young Prince is destined to be without a wife or given the possibility of having an heir. I found the King's dilemma in falling for the enchantress who is to pledged to marry his son, an original take. The story is told through his view.
The characters were intriguing and the drama wonderful. The action within the castle walls and in the faerie realm made the mystery all that more enticing.
A.K.R. Scott
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly enjoyable read!
I love Althea because she is exactly like one of my best friends. I love W. R. Gingell's writing because it's fantastic. The combination of these factors means I was up late in the night...uh, I mean early in the morning (whoops) reading this novella.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved reading this book!!! You just had no idea what would happen next
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great fun, one of my favorite books so far this year. Bought the rest of the trilogy immediately after finishing this one!
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A fun twist on classic fairytale tropes

My first introduction to W.R. Gingell was with the utterly delightful "Masque", and this book proves it wasn't a one-off. Some of the same elemernts are present: magic, mystery, and a good sense of humor, but this has a very different take. The amiable and handsome young prince isn't the hero -- he's just a very secondary character, and it's his father who winds up on perilous excursions with the enchantress to find the perpetrator and solution for what may
Evelyn Hill
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the two main characters: the king (pov character), and the practical but cheerful enchantress. None of the other characters ever felt real to me, but I liked author's voice a lot.
This is the first book in a series, but apparently the only thing that makes it a series is the fact that broken pieces of a sword appear in the stories. Probably this will make sense in the final story, but the sword was an intrusion into this story; there was no reason for it to be there.
I read this second
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a pleasure to read a fairy story from a male point of view - especially a male point of view that isn't a young gallant with ladies swooning all over him. Don't get me wrong, Gingell definitely writes Markon as swoon-worthy! In fact, he may be one of my more favorite male characters.

Again - love that there is well written fantasy I can recommend to some of the young people in my life! I truly enjoy Gingell's writing. I bought this to read on a. Trip and very quickly found myself purchasing
A. Powers
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this story! It's been a while since I've read a good Faery story, and this one hit the spot. I like how it was concise without needing to go into all the details about the rules of the fae and courts and all of that. The romance was unconventional but I was cheering them on and cooing as I followed the budding relationship.
MB (What she read)
1st read 3/24/17 That was fun!

2nd read 9/25/18: Yes it was! Older, dynamic and active kings who resolve problems themselves, and take responsibility for their mistakes, and for their subjects' health and welfare ARE SO VERY HOT! (Joking...but not really. Need to see more of this in my reading material.)
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W.R. Gingell is a Tasmanian author who is definitely not getting old. She loves to rewrite fairytales with a twist or two—and a murder or three—and original fantasy where dragons, enchantresses, and other magical creatures abound. Occasionally she will also dip her toes into the waters of SciFi.

W.R. spends her time reading, drinking an inordinate amount of tea, and slouching in front of the fire

Other books in the series

Shards of a Broken Sword (3 books)
  • Fire in the Blood (Shards of a Broken Sword #2)
  • The First Chill Of Autumn (Shards of a Broken Sword #3)