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Kingdoms of Sand and Sky #1

The Princess Will Save You

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When a princess’s commoner true love is kidnapped to coerce her into a political marriage, she doesn’t give in—she goes to rescue him.

When her warrior father, King Sendoa, mysteriously dies, Princess Amarande of Ardenia is given what would hardly be considered a choice: Marry a stranger at sixteen or lose control of her family’s crown.

But Amarande was raised to be a warriornot a sacrifice.

In an attempt to force her choice, a neighboring kingdom kidnaps her true love, stable boy Luca. With her kingdom on the brink of civil war and no one to trust, she’ll need all her skill to save him, her future, and her kingdom.

The Princess Will Save You is a YA fantasy adventure inspired by The Princess Bride, in which a princess must rescue her stable boy true love, from the acclaimed author of Sea Witch, Sarah Henning.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published July 7, 2020

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About the author

Sarah Henning

15 books1,475 followers
Sarah Henning is a recovering journalist who has worked for the Palm Beach Post, Kansas City Star and Associated Press, among others. While in South Florida, Sarah lived and worked through five hurricanes, which gave her an extreme respect for the ocean. When not writing, she runs ultramarathons, hits the playground with her two kids and hangs out with her husband Justin, who doubles as her long-suffering IT department. Sarah lives in Lawrence, Kansas, which, despite being extremely far from the beach, happens to be pretty cool.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,152 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,538 reviews9,968 followers
October 1, 2020
This has nothing to do with Princess Bride. Will people stop with that crap....

I was back and forth for a bit with the book because I’m in some kind of book slump crisis crap thing!!

Anyway, I loved ole what’s her head. I thought she was a good bad ass girl with a good head on her shoulders. Oh and she killed some bad people.

I loved the secondary characters as well! I do look forward to the next book and damn if the cover of that book isn’t awesome too!! Charlie Bowater!! I still want her to sell her own art picture book!!

Happy Reading Peeps!
Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

BLOG: https://melissa413readsalot.blogspot....
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.7k followers
August 3, 2020
ive never read/seen ‘the princess bride,’ so i cant make any comments as to how to this compares as a retelling. so coming at this from strictly a YA perspective, this is okay. not terrible, but nothing special either.

this has everything you could want from this kind of story. cute romance between a princess and a commoner, high adventure while trying to rescue the boy she loves, and political scheming between neighbouring kingdoms. its all there, but its nothing new, nothing i havent read before. which is probably my fault for reading so many of these kind of stories - i get bored with them easily. the ending/epilogue makes the sequel seem super promising, though!

so if you like those tropes and this kind of story, this is definitely one you should pick up!

3 stars
Profile Image for LW.
283 reviews57 followers
July 17, 2020
The Princess Will Save You was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020. And guys, it was PERFECT.

This book is everything. The main character is such a badass, I loved her from page 1. She's smart, confident, brave, and compassionate--and she's an awesome debater and can fight. But she's not unreachable either, and despite being so amazing, I really related to her. Luca is so sweet--I wanted to charge in and save him alongside Amarande.

And the plot! Fast-paced, with action, and political intrigue, and romance, and it was perfect. There are also some killer twists--and now I need book 2 so bad! How am I supposed to wait a year after that ending???

Also, the writing itself is gorgeous. Sharp and lovely, there are so many lines that are quick-witted and brilliant.

So, this book was everything I hoped for and more. I swear, Sarah Henning gets better with every book!
Profile Image for aly ☆彡 (hiatus).
346 reviews1,174 followers
March 5, 2023
Decided to read this one because I get to know that this is a gender-bent of the Princess Bride retelling. Not sure if I have to know how the Princess Bride goes since I never read the book nor have I watched the movie (I'm just not a tv person in general) so, I had a hazy sense of how the book will be. And I don't know if this contributed to one of the reasons as to why I didn't find myself enjoying this.

My first problem with the book is that the plot ran a bit slowly for me, especially in the beginning. I am not a fan of slow-paced books, but I do find some of them that worked well. However, this entire storyline was quite bland and it took me a long time to finish it. The Princess Will Save You has 53 short chapters sure, but imagine taking eight chapters just to talk about the king's death, but without much going on. It felt almost repetitive every time and making it hard for me to get into. I was reading and waiting for the story to develop but it was painfully deliberate.

I find none of the characters revolutionary. From the start, the author has been describing Ama as this ruthless and fearless princess, only to not meet the expectation towards the end. . I get the idea that she was trained to fight but never had any real-life death experience, which explained her hesitation during the battle. In a way, it does feel realistic but due to the overdone "empowering" female character, I find the end product to be futile.

Not to mention, this book provides very little context to Ama and Luca's relationship, which is why I don't think the two have that much chemistry going on. Their romance was flat and their interactions always felt cautious and polite; it does not ring the word lover for me. It's too safe for a bestfriend to lover. For all I know, Luca was kidnapped and suddenly, the two of them are true lovers. I said whereeeeee? The author should give some detailed establishment between the two, other than keep on mentioning that they're friends since diapers.

Another thing I wasn't kin of is how this book is getting so predictable. In the end, I just skipped and roamed through the pages at the end (after the 70% mark) because I just couldn't find myself fully committing. The ending was on a cliffhanger but also very sudden (like, I'm not sure if it's necessary). I started this one after seeing mostly good reviews so I was full of anticipation but am disappointed. I can see how the story is going to resolve so I'm not sure if I wanna read the second book. I don't find myself to care.

Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,605 reviews10.7k followers
Want to read
June 1, 2020
ARC received!!!

Thank you, Tor. I am so excited to get to this one!


I had no idea this story inspired by The Princess Bride!!

Now that I do, there is nothing that shall stop me from getting this for my shelves!

Inconceivable and exciting!!!
Profile Image for Lindsay (pawsomereads).
782 reviews423 followers
December 7, 2022
This was a really good YA fantasy! It was easy to read and the plot moved along quickly. The different characters and plot lines were simple enough to follow. I really wish there was a map. So much of this book involved travel and adventure but it was a little hard to orient where the characters were without a point of reference.
I think the twist was good. It wasn’t the most original twist but it’s not the one that I guessed was coming.
I’m excited to see what happens in the rest of the series!
Profile Image for ♠ TABI⁷ ♠.
Author 15 books488 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
April 20, 2021
another buddy read (I tried) with the fabulous Helena!

DNF @ 30% because apparently instead of being INSPIRED BY The Princess Bride this is instead LOOSELY INSPIRED and comes across as claiming to be whole milk but is, in fact, 2% milk which tastes really nothing like whole milk at all.


I'll try to pick this up again when I can get my hands on a physical copy, but consider me highly disappointed, staring sorrowfully at the wreckage of my ruined expectations.

I received a digital ARC from Tor Teen via Edelweiss & NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Quotes in the review and reading updates were taken from an uncorrected ARC copy.
Profile Image for VICTORIA EDWARDS.
323 reviews100 followers
May 10, 2020
Thank you thank you thank you Tor Teen for sending me a copy of this!!!

The Princess Will Save You was a wonderfully done retelling of the Princess Bride. It had all the elements of good storytelling for me: wonderful writing, ship-worthy romance, political intrigue, and action.

Lets just jump right in. Spoilers ahead.

So this book took me completely by surprise. If you see reviews of the books I’ve been reading, you know that I just haven’t cared about any of them really, which sucks because they all deserved better (I will be rereading them later). But anyways the point is that I was cavernously deep in a slump. Like, I didn’t even want to read. I was forcing myself through books that all felt entirely mediocre until I finally decided to quit and immerse myself heavily in animal crossing for like 2 weeks. Nothing was grabbing me or helping me out of this slump.

But this one did.

I’m not sure what it was, but The Princess DID save me. Amarande was a wonderful heroine who honestly made me swoon. We stan a queen who doesn’t take any crap from anyone and she did NOT. Not ever. She never faltered. It was her way or the highway. I loved it. How many protagonists actually speak their mind every. single. time. Without holding back? Not many. She was an insta-love for me and honestly Luca just step aside, I’LL marry her. She’s got me wrapped around her royal fingers.

Now moving onto the romance, I enjoyed Luca and Ama. They had a precious bond that was rooted from childhood and had grown throughout the years. I will say my one issue was that I wanted it to feel more ALIVE. Their bond wasn’t as impactful as I wanted it to be, but I still felt it, especially later.

Now Luca as a character felt a little bit underdone in the beginning. He barley spoke and I wasn’t able to gage his personality like I wanted to. Not like my wife Ama. But I will say as the story grew, so did he, and in the end I definitely came to care about his journey.


Him being the son of Oxtana...or however you spell it...whoa. Didn’t expect it. Wasn’t ready. Also was ready. I’m intrigued with how Sarah will weave the second book now that we know he is the ruler of Torrence, and how that will affect Luca as a character.

Back to my love, Ama. Her killing Renald like the boss she is made me almost clap. One thing I love about her is her ability to talk big and back it up with actions. Sarah actually gives her an opportunity to show how talented and ruthless she really could be if pushed to be so. God I just SWOON.

Anyways my fingers hurt so I’ll end the review here, the princess Will Save You is 100% worth the read.
January 8, 2021
”True love is the most powerful force in this earth, we just forget it because those with power here deal in fear rather than love”.

Antes que nada, quiero dejar claro que, aunque dicen que esto es un retelling de The Princess Bride, yo no he visto esa película y no tengo idea de qué va, así que esta reseña no se va a centrar en qué tan fiel es o qué tantos giros le da a la historia original.

The Princess Will Save You nos cuenta la historia de Amarande, la princesa de Ardenia, una guerrera impresionante y digna hija de su padre, el Rey Sendoa. Sin embargo, la vida de la princesa cambiará cuando su padre muere y los grandes consejeros del reino invocan una antigua ley que dicta que las herederas no pueden acceder al trono a menos que se casen. Amarande, obviamente, reta esa ley, pues no quiere venderle su reino a algún duque o príncipe oportunista que aparezca por ahí, pero las leyes están forjadas en hierro. Siguiendo la tradición, diferentes pretendientes empiezan a llegar de otros reinos y muy pronto se dan cuenta de la relación especial que tienen Amarande y Luca, el chico de los establos, así que alguien ordena a unos mercenarios que secuestren a Luca y lo retengan como chantaje para que la princesa obedezca sus órdenes. Pero, contrario a lo que pretendían que sucediera, Amarande no se queda llorando y esperando a que le digan qué hacer, sino que se embarca en un viaje peligrosísimo a través del desierto para rescatar a su amado.

Todo suena genial, ¿no? Y sí, en algunos momentos lo es, pero hay otros en los que la trama se me hacía lenta y, francamente, forzada. Siento que esto de una chica tomando las riendas de su destino ya no es nada nuevo para la fantasía y me dio la sensación de que Sarah Henning no aportó nada nuevo a todo este escenario. Sinceramente, creo que disfruté más de los príncipes malvados que querían robarle el reino a Amarande que de ella misma. No me terminó de hacer click como protagonista… Y Luca tampoco me pareció la gran cosa.

Además, creo que el libro peca por ser de esas historias que se desarrollan siempre en el camino y en las cuales el mayor goal es ir del punto A al punto B sin mucha acción. Me hubiera gustado conocer muchísimo más del worldbuilding, de los diferentes reinos, las motivaciones, el escape de la famosísima reina y demás. Que, igual, supongo que nos enteraremos más de eso en el segundo libro, pero en fin.

Ahora, el final sí que abre las puertas a que el segundo libro sea un festín de revelaciones, intrigas políticas, herederos escondidos y un terremoto para los reinos, así que tiene mejor pinta que esta primera entrega.
Profile Image for Maja  - BibliophiliaDK ✨.
1,097 reviews676 followers
September 6, 2022

Like many others before me, I felt like this was marketed wrong. A Princess Bride retelling? Yeah, only the last 50 pages or so. The rest had a very loose PB structure. So that had me bummed from the beginning, but having previously enjoyed Sarah Henning's books, I stuck it out. And the ending made me glad I did. It gave me faith in this series, though this first installment left something to be desired.

👍 What I Liked 👍

The end: This is going to sound really backward, but I didn't like most of this book. The characters didn't wow me, the story didn't capture me and the world wasn't build well enough. But the ending really gave me high hopes for the next book in this series. And when I say ending, I actually mean the epilogue. It really set up the follow up in a masterful way that makes me impatient to read it (lucky me, I have an ARC!)

👎 What I Disliked 👎

Amarande: While none of the characters particularly appealed to me, Amarande was my least favourite. I didn't feel like she had any kind of personality that was her own. Instead, she was 100% her father. He was her personality. She didn't have one of her own, she was only her father's teachings. And that just annoyed me to no end. Yes, of course we're all a product of our parents and their teachings. But they aren't the entire sum of us. I wanted Amarande to be a character in her won right, to have a say of her own. But I didn't feel like she did.

Repetition: There was an annoying repetition to this story, that came up time and time again. Amarande has a habit of replaying her father's words and teachings in her mind, and she does this every time she needs to make a decision. The first couple of times it was cute. But it didn't last very long. Around the fifth time I was over it and the 30th time I was hating it.

World building: Aside from the fact that there are multiple kingdoms in this world, one of which is practically lawless, and that these kingdoms somehow owe something to Amarande's father, not a lot else is known about this world. It bothered me, because there were certainly tensions between the representatives of these kingdoms, but they felt hollow to me because I didn't have the context or the backstory for the tensions. So I didn't feel like I saw the full picture...

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Profile Image for Lea (drumsofautumn).
622 reviews625 followers
July 24, 2020
my bookstagram picture with the cover on ipad

“True love is already yours. True love is the most powerful force on this earth—we just forget it because those with power here deal in fear rather than love. ”

The Princess Will Save You is a YA Fantasy that, while feeling very familiar in a lot of ways, is quite a refreshing take on the genre.

I absolutely loved Sarah Henning's debut novel, Sea Witch. It was one of my favourite books of 2018, and so I was very excited to read a new book by this author and I did not end up being disappointed.

The book follows princess Amarande after the death of her father and her being coerced into a political marriage. When someone kidnaps the stable boy, Luca, who she has a relationship with that clearly exceeds that of a platonic friendship, she goes after the kidnappers to save Luca herself.

“My father’s blood flows in my veins—that’s what is so precious to this kingdom. To this line. To these contracts. I have that blood—what does it matter if I’m a girl? What’s more important? The blood or the law?”

Immediately in the beginning of the book you can tell that Amarande is an incredibly strong character, who is ready to fight for her own rights. While she might've grown up as a princess, she was also trained in fighting and has no issues standing up for herself, both physically and verbally.
I feel like often in Fiction, people wanna make it seem like female characters can't be in love and pursue their love interest, while still being strong and independent women. I feel like this book really tried to turn this "trope" on its head by making the princess the one who rescues her love interest. She takes matters into her own hands in many ways and while she describes Luca as her one weakness, in many ways her love for him is also what makes her strong and I very much enjoyed that.

Amarande is a nuanced and multi-faceted character. While she was trained in combat her whole life, it was also still clear that she grew up with many privileges and as a sheltered princess who never actually had to fight for her life. I liked that we got to see her as someone who would do so much to protect herself and the people she loves, while also still being overwhelmed with being put into a literal life or death situation.
Amarande also goes through some really interesting character development throughout the book which has me particularly excited for the sequel and also seeing her character deal with the aftermath of everything that happened within this first book.

“The princess swallowed and shut her eyes for a moment. She was not helpless. It was not hopeless. Again, her father came to her. A warrior made is a warrior alive. The tenet was an obtuse one, but said plain, the meaning was: Use what you have to your advantage to survive. ”

Overall this novel was absolutely screaming girl power and I enjoyed the focus of this story so much. Even though this Fantasy world is definitely a patriarchal society and a big chunk of this book is Amarande being on a journey to save Luca by herself, this book is still filled with amazing female characters that we will hopefully see so much more of in the sequel.

While people might expect this book to have a big focus on the romantic aspect, it honestly doesn't. As mentioned before, the princess's motive throughout the story is her love towards Luca but the romantic storyline in and of itself is kept quite brief as the development of the romantic feelings between the two characters has already happened way before this book. Really, it is an open secret that these two characters have feelings for each other and they're both quite aware of it too. So we have a few, short romantic scenes, but really, it takes a back seat to everything else.
That makes the book also refreshingly void of angst. I definitely love me some good angst if it is well done but in this story, where the focus is on so many other things, I really enjoyed that the author decided to actually make the romantic aspect of this story one that is uncomplicated... especially considering the circumstances around them are complicated enough.

“She wouldn’t cheapen what he was worth to her. He was worth literally everything she’d been through thus far, plus what was to come, and more—diamonds, battle, the political ramifications. Everything. ”

There was also a small part about consent and how it can be a complicated situation with the power dynamics that exist between a princess and a stable boy. The princess has a point where she questions her behaviour towards Luca and while it was only a short section, I appreciated that this was brought up because it is something that I rarely see portrayed for relationships like this.

This also had one of the most exciting epilogues that I have ever read in my life and this definitely affected my enjoyment of the story in a very positive way. It was truly fascinating to me because there were some unanswered questions throughout the story that got answered in the epilogue but it also unfolded a storyline that has me shaking in my boots for the sequel. If I could, I would pick it up right now!

But thankfully it is not the kind of ending that leaves you completely hanging, fearing for a character's life or the future of an entire kingdom. The ending feels immensely satisfying, both with how this particular story arc ends but also with it leaving you wanting more and being excited for all the possibilities of the sequel.

“That feeling in her heart was back, as if it were made of wax, melting into nothing within her chest. Her Luca. Amarande kissed him then—forehead first, then the bridge of his nose, the tops of his cheeks. ”

So overall, I had a really good time reading this book. I think it definitely had its slow parts but I wouldn't say that that was necessarily something negative within this book at all. I just think the author took her time with certain things and rightfully so, as it does pay off.
I would definitely recommend this book for anybody that enjoys YA Fantasy in general but especially for fans of books like Graceling or The Kiss of Deception.

Trigger and Content Warnings for sexual harassment, trafficking, vomiting, violence, blood, torture and forced marriage.

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I received an ARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for D. B. Guin.
842 reviews75 followers
April 10, 2020
I am... torn.

As you may gather from the title, this book is not subtle. It's all about turning a popular narrative on its head, and that popular narrative is The Princess Bride.

I did not realize this until about sixty percent through the book. Up until that point, Amarande was just a sixteen-year-old princess in the process of figuring out just how unprepared she was for the job of taking her late father's throne. She's one of those "I'm ruthless, I'm a devastating warrior, I've been training from birth to sword-fight and throw knives and never trust anyone" heroines who also, somehow, has never hurt anyone in a real fight and seemingly never even been camping.

The stable boy, her childhood friend and crush, is kidnapped by three somewhat hapless ruffians in a plot by an evil prince to seize power. Since I clued you in beforehand, you can already see The Princess Bride shaping up, although I didn't quite yet. Amarande manages to race after the ruffians and rescue the stable boy, and this is where it gets really overt.

They run into the prince. "Marry me, and I promise not to hurt him."

She agrees. Obviously, it was a lie.

From here on out, we have the thinly-disguised outline of The Princess Bride itself:
• A girl harangues Amarande about marrying another while her true love lives
• Both Luca and Amarande, who didn't even know if the other like-liked each other before the kidnapping, now can't stop talking about TRUUUUE LOOOVE
• A single dagger meant for the wedding night
• A poisonous drug named "fire swamp" (Ho! Ho! Get it?)
• "Mostly dead"
• A literal pit of despair where the "How does that make you feel?" scene is nearly word-for-word reenacted
• The two "good" ruffians hear Luca's tortured scream and instantly know it's him, coming to the rescue
• "If he dies, you die." (Okay, this one is actually from The Court Jester.)

There's some background intrigue with unknown identities and mysterious mothers and what, exactly, the late king had in mind in the first place that is honestly the most interesting part of the book. I assume that, along with some Dread Pirate Roberts action, awaits in part two of the duology. I'm hopeful that it will come off better than this one.

There is some subversion that I think is fun. The extent to which Luca is a fainting damsel with no personality except being unfailingly kind and handsome, and loving Amarande with stars in his eyes is nice. You can't help but like him, and I think he plays the part of Buttercup very well. It's too bad he had to get the torture side of the stick as WELL as the kidnapping side.

The problem is that Amarande is not nearly as good a Westley. She is a struggle, in general. The contrast between her hard-bitten thoughts and the way her mishaps actually turn out in real life is one that's hard to respect. She basically still is Buttercup as well, except for the fact that she will wave a sharp weapon at anyone nearby if given half an excuse, and more in a wearying "please stop and think about the consequences of your actions for ONCE" way rather than a fun action-hero way.

Still, more than halfway through this book I was still planning to give it three stars. Like, Amarande is annoying but she's not THAT annoying. It's still a fun story. Until... the pit of despair scene. There's "inspired by" and then there's whatever this is. The "fire swamp" shoutout could have been a fun wink-nudge reference, but not in the MIDDLE of a scene which LITERALLY copies dialogue from the original. The word-for-word was too much, way too heavy-handed, in a book that didn't offer much else of its own unique content to balance it out.
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,425 reviews215 followers
April 20, 2021
Second time read and review.

Guys! I am so excited that I dove back into this book because now I'm beyond pumped to dive into my ARC of the next one. It also doesn't hurt that I recently re-watched the princess bride either because I was LOVING the vibes I was getting. I think maybe today is the day that I fall in love with all my books because I was just really enjoying this one.

It also doesn't hurt that I enjoyed the crap out of this the first time around either. So it's safe to assume that I liked everyone the same way and hated the others as well. I still like Ama is constantly underestimated which works in her favor. You'd think after she proved her worth the first time people would realize and accept her bad ass ways.. but nope.

In the end, definitely enjoyed this re-read and I look forward to the next book so freaking much.
First off, this cover is fire and I love it. Second, that was not the only reason as to why I wanted to dive into. Third, after reading The Princess Bride earlier this month, getting all kinds of nostalgic vibes and wanting to watch the movie, and then seeing this beautiful book is a retelling of it? Oh lord, if that wasn't a sign for me to dive into this book then I don't know what a sign is anymore!

The Princess Will Save You was such a fun adventure. Just like the in the original and the movie, things can be somewhat predictable BUT knowing and loving that storyline I was happy with how everything went. The romance was adorable between Luca and Ama. It was formed at such a young age and just grew to be incredibly precious and enjoyable.

Of course there's the drama and it was okay. You knew someone was going to be the bad guy and trust me - this book gave you a ton of suspects. The one thing that kept me going was how everyone, and I mean everyone, underestimated Ama. She was a complete bad ass who knew how to handle almost anything. She could protect herself and do all sorts of things princesses aren't known for. I think that's why I was just so into this book. Every page, chapter, and twist just kept pulling me in for an interesting ending.

All I can say is, I am so freaking proud of Ama. I'm also sort of looking forward to the next book?
Profile Image for shre ♡.
355 reviews644 followers
Want to read
May 6, 2020
i see a charlie bowater cover, i add it to the list. that's it. that's the review.
Profile Image for Sylvie .
686 reviews959 followers
June 22, 2021
3.5 out of 5 stars.

I know I'm posting this EXACTLY a month later than I was supposed to. But at least I didn't neglect it!! *patting myself on the shoulder*

Warning! This review can include spoilers.

I know this is loosely inspired by 'Thr Princess Bride' and that was actually one of the main reasons I found myself excited for this book. One of the other reason was the title. Ever since I was a little kid all the fairytales that I read were almost always the prince saves the princess or the knight in shining armor rescues the damsel in distress and live happily ever after. And I always wondered why there are rarely any stories that the girl saves the boy. (I know that trope exists too, even before but we can all agree that it was a rarity).

Alright, onto the real review:

The last time I watched The Princess Bride was proabably when I was 10 years old and I remember loving the movie so much that I bought the DVD and afterwards I found the book and read that, as well. Although I preferred the movie over the book. Shocking news, I know!

So, what I'm trying to say is that I don't have much recollection about neither the movie nor the books and because of that I can't be able to compare this to the real Princess Bride.

The writing style:

The way it was written and the way characters spoke to one another plus the dialogues felt too modern for me instead of historical. So, that threw me off a bit.

A little bit of a rant: Ama (the main character) I can't remember her full name, because we know how complicated and out of this world the names can be when it comes to fantasy books- She is the king's only daughter and while he let her train and know swormanship he didn't prepare her enough how to take actions and take control on the council or whatever when someday something bad happens to the king. (spoiler spoiler: we know something's GOTTA happen to the king, cuz everyone has their eyes to the throne).
The way the king ''suddenly'' died and that it was a heart attack (pfft yeah right) was definitely unture, and I wanted that topic to be more discussed in the book and no one really wanted to expoler about that. Hmmm very suspicious. I do hope his death wasn't just an ''accident'' and we would get to know more about it in the next book(s).
Alright, the rant-y part is over.

I loved the friendship/relationship between Ama and Luca; it was so pure and familiair. I loved how devoted they were to one another and how much trust they have towards each other. There are rarely pure loves writted in books, at least not anymore.

Now I'm going to talk about prince Taillefer aka the bad guy: He had an older brother but I don't remember his name, because he was very unmemoreble.
Taillefer was one of the most psychotic villains I’ve met in a YA literature. *flashbacks of Maven from Red Queen series*.
Back to earth; Taillefer was cunning, brutal, crazy and that made him really interestig I can't wait to see what his plans are in the future.

Last but not least -The Epilogue-:

The epilogue took me off guard in the most shocking way, despite in the back of my head I knew I was expecting something like that to happen. Therefore I upped my rating a little bit because of that. Originally, I was supposed to rate this from 3 to 3.25 instead it became 3.5 stars.
So applause to the epilogue for not making me think the book was blasé.

And scene. 🎬
You've reached to the ending, the reviewer hopes you enjoyed this.

Why am I starting a new book series while I haven't even finished the ones that I was supposed to.

Sighs* I'll never learn.
Profile Image for Renaissance Kate.
246 reviews128 followers
April 23, 2021
This book has been on my TBR for awhile, so when I was approved for an eARC of book #2 I figured it was the perfect time to pick up The Princess Will Save You. I have loved The Princess Bride film since I was young, so I was obviously very excited to see a YA feminist twist on the tale.

The retelling aspect started out strongly
with Princess Amarande and her stable boy Luca in love, the prospect of arranged marriage for Ama, and most importantly Luca’s kidnapping, which I was actually SO excited about. Who doesn’t love the idea of Vizzini, Fezzik, and Inigo reimagined as a band of teenage outlaws? And to make the twist even cooler, Inigo’s character was a sword-wielding young woman, which I loved. While the personalities of these young pirates were not nearly as memorable as the characters in the film, the introduction of this cast of characters combined with the political intrigue and the promise of adventure made for a compelling start.

Unfortunately the middle portion of the book did not captivate me quite as much as the beginning. The plot meandered on its way to reunite Amarande and Luca, adding a clump of subplots and scenes that introduced side characters and worldbuilding elements that barely affected the overall plot, if at all. For all its desolation, the Torrent was not nearly as impressive of a setting as the Fire Swamp, and The Princess Bride references became scarcer or just harder to detect. Prince Renard was not as detestable a villain as the film’s infamous Prince Humperdinck, though the unpredictable behavior of his cruel brother Prince Taillefer (who was a standin for the Six-Fingered Man) definitely heightened the stakes. (Although, and this is me being extremely nitpicky, Ama and Luca constantly remarked that Taillefer had a fox-like appearance, but the author chose to name his brother Renard which literally means “fox” in French…it made no sense to me lol.)

To my relief, the story found its mark again in the third act and turned back into the retelling I was hoping for. The action and tension were both nonstop, and I couldn’t wait to see how it all ended. Without getting into spoilers, there were moments where my heart broke and my mouth dropped open in shock from the twists and turns. Ultimately, it provided a great set up for book #2 and made me excited to dive into it in the next few months.

While the romance in this book was sweet, I would have liked to see it developed further both pre-kidnapping as well as after Ama and Luca’s reunion. As someone who reads a fair amount of Romance, I did not find myself swooning or smiling over Ama and Luca’s relationship, as much as I did want them to end up safe and happy. Hopefully this will be developed further in the second book as they continue to use their love to overcome every challenge thrown their way.

My last critique is around the POV switches in this book. The chapters are not labeled as they often are in multi-POV books, so it sometimes took me a paragraph or two to comprehend whose head I was in. While most of the story is told from Ama’s POV, we also get Luca’s POV as well as the POV of various side characters. Some of these side POVs were well-placed, but others seemed thrown in for the sake of exposition. Personally I would have liked a bit more consistency and intentionality with the POVs, however this did not ruin the book for me; it just wasn’t to my taste.

Overall, I would recommend this book for younger fans of YA Fantasy. I think it would have done well as a standalone retelling, but since I loved the ending of this book I am definitely looking forward to The Queen Will Betray You.
Profile Image for Erica (storybookend).
372 reviews286 followers
May 18, 2020
Ah nostalgia, you are a lovely friend. I only needed to hear “The Princess Bride retelling” to know I would love this book. And I did indeed love The Princess Will Save You.

What I loved most was that it wasn’t a direct retelling. Their names weren’t Buttercup and Westley and there weren’t ROUSs (rodents of unusual sizes for you uncultured swine! I’m totally kidding 😂 But really, if you haven’t seen The Princess Bride, you should rectify that immediately! 😁)

It was a close enough retelling that you could tell it was a retelling, but it was loose enough that it had me stopping and wondering “who is this character in The Princess Bride? Ah! It must be so and so!” I loved that! I loved that it was an original tale that was different yet felt reminiscent and similar at times.

I loved the sweet relationship between Luca and Amarande. He was the damoiseau in distress waiting for the princess to save him. Luca’s a cinnamon roll, which are some of my favorite male character types 😄 And Amarande was a fierce, strong royal who rises to her calling and won’t let people take away her kingdom or the man she loves.

The ending was really interesting and I need the sequel right now! I can’t wait to see what happens for these two characters in the future. I was however a little confused by the epilogue. It didn’t quite seem to fit. Part of it did, but the other part seemed to come out of nowhere.
Profile Image for Maditales.
581 reviews23.8k followers
February 3, 2023
Here's the thing. This was just an unforgettable and boring book.

The story had soooo much potential I mean come on? A princess that saves her love interest who got kidnapped and is also a stable boy??? say less.

Sadly this book felt very dragged out and boring and after the initial kidnapping scene everything felt just "meh" and then we obviously have the very big and SHOCKING reveal/ plot twist at the end.
it was not shocking.
Profile Image for Alex (The Scribe Owl).
363 reviews112 followers
June 21, 2021
See this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl!

1/5 stars

If I didn't have an ARC of the second book, I would have DNFed The Princess Will Save You. I'm so disappointed because I loved one of Sarah Henning's other books, Sea Witch, which also has a lot of negative reviews. I guess I should have listened to the masses on this one.

My first complaint is the characters. Amarande's only personality is feminist and it begins to grate after a while. She has to do everything, all the while professing her hatred of men and how women can do everything just as well, if not better. When she's not busy spewing about how she won't serve a man or squash her dreams for men, she's doing everything for Luca. Luca is the kind of character I would normally love if he wasn't so freaking useless. He literally did nothing except make Ama save him over and over again. I guess the title's fitting.

If you're still thinking of reading this for the Princess Bride vibes, let me tell you now: there are no Princess Bride vibes. If this is a retelling, it's a very loose one. If it didn't say so in the synopsis I probably wouldn't have guessed it!

Almost the entirety of The Princess Will Save You was spent walking/riding in circles in the desert, making it was one of the most boring stories I've read in a long time. I literally fell asleep reading it! I had to skim-read the last 25% because I just needed it to be done.

All in all, this was a huge disappointment. I was hoping for an unpopular opinion, but it turns out that the crowds are right about this one. If you want a decent Sarah Henning book, go read Sea Witch. I'll be busy trying to forget this train wreck exists.
Profile Image for Cindy ✩☽♔.
1,100 reviews804 followers
Want to read
November 17, 2019
Omg, how did I not hear of this sooner!? Also, covers like this are really warming me up to cover models 💕 But not gonna lie, I will forever associate this cover font with The Folk of the Air trilogy ✨
Profile Image for Grace A..
414 reviews38 followers
April 9, 2023
An unlikely match, a princess and a stable boy, a love so deep they would go through great lengths to ensure its survival. It wasn’t surprising when that very thing was used as a blackmail to steal away her kingdom. The worst part was after her father, the king died, the council was auctioning her to the highest bidder, despite the fact that she was groomed to rule.
It was exciting following her through the battle to keep her stable boy, secure her country, and win her right and status to be seen and respected as a woman. She won some, she lost some, but the read was intriguing all the same. Four stars.
Profile Image for mads.
413 reviews369 followers
September 24, 2020
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

This was one of my most anticipated books of 2020 (I'll admit, a lot of that had to do with the cover) and while I'm not... disappointed exactly, I am a little let down. It wasn't that this book wasn't good, because it was. But it also wasn't quite what I was hoping for. I feel like this could have been done SO much better. I mean, gender-swapped Princess Bride retelling? The potential is through the roof.

But I feel like it's important to understand one thing: This didn't actually end up being a Princess Bride retelling.

It is a story with a plot that bears vague similarities to Princess Bride and has small nods to it throughout the book, such as certain characters that mirror characters from the movie.

I feel like that's a major thing that might disappoint people with this book. Remove the light Princess Bride-isms and it's a very baseline YA fantasy novel about a princess taking a journey to overcome odds for love. Which is 100% fine! But that's not what everyone was expecting from this book and I think that's a fair complaint.

With that being said, the ending definitely set up for book 2 and I'm very interested to see where it goes from here. I enjoyed this book, but I know it had the potential to get better and I truly hope we'll see that in the sequel.
Profile Image for Stay Fetters.
2,116 reviews133 followers
May 10, 2020
"True love is the most powerful force on this earth- we just forget it because those with power here deal in fear rather than love."

The Princess Bride is a classic and was an instant favorite when I was younger and it still is to this day. So when I heard that Henning was writing a strong feminist retelling, I was nervously excited because those are some pretty big shoes to fill. But Henning stepped up to the plate, knocked it out of the park, and left me in awe.

What if Buttercup saved Westley? This gender-swapped fantasy retelling will let you know that you should never underestimate the power of a female.

King Sendoa of Ardenia dies suddenly, leaving Princess Amarande the only heir to the throne. But since she’s female and not yet wed, the Kingdom can’t be hers until some of the requirements are met. Princes from other territories come far and wide to ask to take her hand in marriage but she wants the rules to change. She wants to rule Ardenia alone until she finds the right person and time to marry.

To force her into marrying someone she despises, Luca, her best friend and beloved is kidnapped.

She was always taught to fight for what she believes in and never sacrifice for something less. There is only one thing to do. That’s to put her life on the line to save Luca and her Kingdom. Nothing or no one will step in her way.

Okay, wow! This was epic. This was one of the best unique retellings that I’ve ever read. Henning took a classic that is close to my heart and turned it into something that is her own while also twisting the damsel in distress tale overboard. You’ll be amazed at the power of her words.

Princess Amarande was such a badass and strong character. She’s who we need at the head of this feminist revolution and I’m glad she’s now apart of my life. She also has made a special place in my heart. Her story and dedication for what she believes in will make you proud to be reading her story. She’s one character that will always stick with you.

The Princess Will Save You is the Princess Bride reimagining that we all needed. My mind is still blown by what I have read. This is one everyone needs to experience. It’s one that has left me speechless.
Profile Image for Rachel Kathryn Wright.
408 reviews17 followers
September 23, 2020
This book upset me a bit, I was expecting to really enjoy this. All of the plot twists were given away in the author trying to foreshadow or hint. Everything that happened did not surprise me, but I did enjoy the story line until the final chapter. I just wished that it wasn’t as predictable. The characters I really liked and thought they were enjoyable to see grow. The only slight bit of criticism I have with the characters is the growth of the relationship, we know these characters have been friends for a long time but the romance felt like it was just thrown in. Overall, this was a cute and fun story but I wish it wasn’t as predictable.
Profile Image for Cass (all too tired).
295 reviews111 followers
January 5, 2021
DNF @ 53%

I'm so very underwhelmed. I was really excited about this book, but I found it boring and really hard to get through.

I tried, I really tried to get through it (for 53 days) and it didn't work out.

Things I had problems with:

Amarande - Sure, she's strong, but she's naive to how the outer world really is (and she doesn't admit that to herself either)

The Love Story - There wasn't any build up to the love. Everyone just knew that they were in love. There wasn't any romantic tension, I didn't feel excited about what was to come because they were already in love. If you are going to have them already in love, please, please, please, make the characters likable and something to look forward to in the future of their relationship.

Characters in General - kind of bland, nothing special that I haven't already seen

Third Person Narrative - I had a hard time seperating the multiple people telling the story and in some parts there was head jumping.

World Building - Info dumps. I wanted to learn more about this world, the whys and the hows, but it didn't really happen. I also would have wanted a map of the Kingdoms of Sand and Sky, just a small foldable one at the beginning of the book would have helped me imagine this world better. With the cover that it has, why not. I'm positive it would have been gorgeous.

Based Off the Princess Bride - I expected more. Really did. If you are going to retell/base your story off of The Princess Bride, make it good. Have funny moments and lines that are quotable, have romantic tension, and most of all make it an intriguing story/world that I want to dive head first into.

I didn't like it, but I hope some people out there enjoy it.
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