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Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower

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When the witch built the forty-flight tower, she made very sure to do the whole thing properly. Each flight contains a dreadful monster, ranging from a diamond-scaled dragon to a pack of slavering goblins. Should a prince battle his way to the top, he will be rewarded with a golden sword—and the lovely Princess Floralinda.

But no prince has managed to conquer the first flight yet, let alone get to the fortieth.

In fact, the supply of fresh princes seems to have quite dried up.

And winter is closing in on Floralinda…

146 pages, ebook

First published November 30, 2020

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About the author

Tamsyn Muir

38 books9,099 followers
TAMSYN MUIR is the bestselling author of the Locked Tomb Trilogy, which begins with Gideon the Ninth, continues with Harrow the Ninth, and concludes with Alecto the Ninth. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Nebula Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, the World Fantasy Award and the Eugie Foster Memorial Award. A Kiwi, she has spent most of her life in Howick, New Zealand, with time living in Waiuku and central Wellington. She currently lives and works in Oxford, in the United Kingdom.

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5 stars
1,615 (42%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 820 reviews
Profile Image for Spencer Orey.
514 reviews111 followers
December 19, 2020
This is a real treat.

I listened to the audiobook for this one and am glad I did. I love Moira Quirk's narration for the Gideon and Harrow audiobooks, and she's just as brilliant here, in this twisted fairytale novella.

The writing is great. The story is an evil delight. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Baba Yaga Reads.
115 reviews1,372 followers
January 17, 2021
This is a short, fun story that subverts classic fairy tale tropes with Tamsyn Muir’s signature irreverence and humor. Although there is some gore involved, it’s markedly less dark than the author’s other works and has a distinctly comedic tone from start to finish.
Personally, I enjoyed the narrative voice and character dynamics above everything else. Muir is consistently great at writing snarky dialogue between terrible people, and even though most lines weren’t as memorable as those in the Locked Tomb Trilogy, I still had a really good time reading about Floralinda’s interactions with Cobweb.

My main issue with this book, and the reason I can’t bring myself to rate it any higher, is just how repetitive it felt. There really was no need to explain how Floralinda defeated every single one of the forty monsters in the tower. For such a short novella, there was too much focus on the action and too little time spent developing the two main characters’ relationship. This was especially frustrating considering that many creatures were killed in the exact same way as their predecessors; I would have liked less technical explanations about spider poison and more emotional moments between Floralinda and Cobweb.
Plus, I know this is a nitpick, but why was the word fuck censored? This isn’t a children’s book, and I doubt adult readers will be scandalized by the use of profanities.

Finally, I have a few things to say about the way this book has been marketed. Aside from the fact that this is a Christmas novella that wasn’t advertised as such for some reason, the way the publisher managed the pre-order campaign was incredibly frustrating, not to mention disrespectful to international readers. While I understand that this is a limited edition, asking people outside of the US to pay 40$ + 30$ shipping for a 200-page novella is simply ridiculous. The publisher also opened pre-orders on global online retailers such as Amazon, only to later announce that people who bought the book on third-party websites weren’t guaranteed to receive their copies. I have friends in Europe who couldn’t even buy the e-book because apparently it’s only available in North America.
I will never understand why certain publishers make it so hard for international people to read their books. Do they not want our money, or do they simply not care? In any case, I’m deeply disappointed in Subterranean Press and will do my best to avoid buying from them in the future.
Profile Image for Emma Cathryne.
431 reviews67 followers
October 6, 2020
Tamsyn Muir has once again produced a work of snarky, fantastic delight. Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower bundles up a set of traditional fairy-tale tropes, lights them on fire, and cheerfully warms its hands over the blaze. When the embers burn down, you are left with something darkly comedic, cleverly imagined, and utterly unique.

Floralinda herself is a princess who has, as princess often are, been trapped at the top of a very tall tower by a very enterprising witch. Each level of the tower is filled horrible monster, and the entrance is guarded by a fearsome dragon. When a plethora of useless princes prove unsuited to the task of rescuing her (and become dragon chow in the process), Floralinda takes matters into her own hands. She is joined by a bottom-of-the garden fairy slash amateur chemist named Cobweb, and together the two of them cook up all kinds of nasty schemes.

I could talk for ages about how Muir is a modern genius of innovative story-telling, but I'll limit myself to marveling in how clever the narrative structure of this novella is. Each chapter details Floralinda's escapes on different levels of the tower, a top to bottom journey both in the physical and metaphorical sense, as Floralinda reinvents herself to become her own rescuer along the way. Truly a prime example of function following form, but also a brilliant character study of a sheltered young girl learning to take control of her life and her situation.

Muir's writing style remains absolutely unmatched, leaving me cackling out loud a times with her dexterous use of wit and clever turns of phrase. She has the ability to turn even the most mundane of sentences into something humorous, and she contrasts this skill with the startlingly dark and gory aspects of the story to create a compelling, darkly humous fantasy. I adored this novella, and can't wait to be thrilled and enchanted by whatever Muir tackles next.
Profile Image for Lex Kent.
1,682 reviews8,534 followers
January 1, 2023
3.50 Stars. It was a good novella, and I really like Muri’s writing, but I did feel like the story got a little repetitive after a while. The characters were not the most likeable, but it works for this book and as a fairytale fan, I liked the absurdity of it all. This was my finale read of 2022, and it just finishes my reading challenge on the dot, right before I’m walking out the door to celebrate New Year Eve, talk about cutting it close. Happy New Year’s everyone!
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,116 reviews1,978 followers
May 15, 2022
A fabulous audiobook from this talented author. This time she presents us with a very different take on fairy tales about wicked witches, princesses imprisoned in towers and gallant princes fighting to release them. Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower reminds me very much of the children's story The Paper Bag Princess where the prince is hopeless and the princess helps herself.

The characters are all totally ruthless, without any compassion for anyone but themselves, and wickedly funny. The witch appears only briefly but her dialogue with Floralinda is really amusing, as is most of that which occurs between the Princess and Cobweb the fairy. Cobweb is no ordinary fairy - she wants to be a scientist and the assistance she gives in the escape is beyond price.

The story moves down the whole forty flights at a great pace with a different danger such as poisonous spiders,giant rats and goblins on each one. Cobweb and Floralinda both experience character changes along the way and the ending is just perfect. I enjoyed it all very much indeed.
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
651 reviews827 followers
January 17, 2022
“It's also not fair at all that stupidity has gotten you this far. That's another creature you've killed simply by having no brains, which makes anyone with brains feel as if it isn't worth the headache of having them.”

Amazon.com: Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower eBook : Muir, Tamsyn: Kindle Store

Tamsyn Muir's Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower has a darkly humorous fairy tale quality about it. After its opening, however, the actions of the princess belie the fairy tale. She transforms from the beginning of the tale (from someone who is waiting to be saved) to the end (when she decides that she can decide her own fate even if it means using violence). Entertaining.
Profile Image for laurel [the suspected bibliophile].
1,329 reviews356 followers
December 19, 2020
Once upon a time, there was a witch who wanted to imprison a princess in a tower. But she wanted to do it properly, so she made it forty stories tall and filled with varying monsters at every level. Yet the princes never made it passed the first floor, and the princess languished away, as princesses do. Until one day something changed, and the princess decided the only way out was down.

I did not expect to love this Rapunzel retelling as much as I did, but that rather unexpected ending took this from 4.5 stars to a solid 5!

"I wish I might be rescued," wished Floralinda.
"Too large a wish; make it smaller," said Cobweb, after a moment.
"I wish that I didn't have to die," wished Floralinda.
"You are misunderstanding 'smaller,'" said Cobweb.

It is so deliciously amoral.

I loved the variety of monsters, the way the chapters are numbered, the love-hate-relationship between Floralinda and Cobweb. While I was annoyed by Floralinda's dunderheaded dullness, I did like her character growth and how she stumbled into killing things by accident (often nearly dying herself), and how she was aided in her unlikely survival by an angry, aspiring chemist fairy.

I also enjoyed how much attention to detail Muir placed on logistics, something often neglected in fantasy, particularly fantasy where the princess is locked in an unclimbable tower.

And did I mention the monsters?? There are so many that are nearly impossible to kill, and it's kinda like watching a video game, where the main character 'levels up' with each conquest...or levels down in some cases.

Definitely one to read if you're looking for a quick fairy tale parody with real bite.

I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review
Profile Image for Di Maitland.
258 reviews73 followers
March 14, 2021
This 146-page retelling of Rapunzel is HILARIOUS. It's well written, clever, subversive, creative, and all the better for being narrated in Moira Quirk's trademark tones.

The book begins as follows:
‘What had happened was that the witch put Princess Floralinda in a tower forty flights high, but said it wasn’t personal. She told her to cheer up. “Princes will be flocking from near and far to rescue you,” she said. “I’ve covered all my bases. There’s a golden sword at the gate for a prize, if the prince doesn’t care overmuch for princesses. And once he battles his way up thirty-nine flights, you’re free to go. I don’t really mind what happens from this point in.” “I do think you might ask for a ransom from my mother and father instead,” said Floralinda, still dabbing at her eyes. “That’s quite normal these days,” for she did not want to be rude and suggest that the tower was déclassé. The witch shrieked with laughter.’

I only wish I could include an audio segment here so that you could hear its narration. No doubt, it's a very good book; but it's a brilliant audiobook. Quirk's talents in this arena can only matched be matched by R. C. Bray, who narrates The Expeditionary Force novels which, incidentally, are also hilarious.

After a brief weep and a moment of despair, Floralinda concludes that she is not going to be rescued by a dashing prince and must act herself to help her situation. This does not, at first, entail slaying the beasts from top floor to bottom floor. But, after a little success (accidental or otherwise) and some support from a flighty fairy, Floralinda finds that battling monsters isn't so hard after all and may even be something she's rather good at.
‘That was, inadvertently, the end of flight thirty-eight, which Floralinda had solved by dint of being at once too house-proud and too prone to cut corners when it came to rubbish removal.’

The book is written in a rather satisfying, pseudo-formulaic style with each chapter pertaining to a different floor and a different monster. With forty monsters, this could have gotten quite monotonous but after Floralinda gains some downward momentum, a number of chapters simply note the floor level and the name of the monster before moving on. To some extent, the denouement can come as no surprise to anyone, and yet Muir still manages to add a final flourish - a brilliant twist - to keep you reading right to the end.

We saw Muir's dry wit in Gideon the Ninth and we see it again here (fortunately accompanied by a more comprehensible plot). She loves to take the expected and stand it on its head, to subvert the tropes, and mock the conventions, and it works. She has the ingredients...
- A witch locks a princess away in a tower
- A prince attempts a daring rescue
- A fairy (godmother) steps in to say the day
... but its not the usual story. The fourth wall is down and narrator has a lot to tell you. I laughed out loud of multiple occasions and think I grinned throughout.
‘It’s also not fair at all that’s stupidity has gotten you this far. That’s another creature you’ve killed simply by having no brains, which makes anyone with brains feel as though it isn’t worth the headache of having them.'

Humour aside, Floralinda is a wonderful heroine with a compelling character arc. She's begins as a rather pathetic princess but slowly and realistically transforms into a sword-wielding warrior. Her relationship with Cobweb, her fairy companion, was well-handled: sweet without being saccharine. And the witch...well, we don't see her much but she sure does have style.

A short up-lifting read and one I'd recommend widely. No doubt I'll be rereading it myself when I'm in need of a pick-me-up and a good laugh.
Profile Image for idiomatic.
482 reviews16 followers
October 3, 2020
finished in a single hour-long gasp. a classic gail carson levine but mean.
Profile Image for Allison Hurd.
Author 3 books678 followers
July 16, 2022
Read a few dungeon-crawl inspired books recently. This one was was more original.


Things that were fun:

-The concept. I just thought the premise was fun

-The writing. TamMuir has a type of saucy humor that I just love.

Things that weren't perfect:

-It did drone a bit. I think we could have used a bit more color and commentary. But it's a fine line and I think she stayed on the correct side of it for this sort of tale.
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
1,898 reviews3,121 followers
March 25, 2021
I finally picked this up for a video where I read books featuring dragons, if you want more detailed thoughts: https://youtu.be/DCYX-nFoZyg

This was so much fun! If you enjoyed the humor in Gideon the Ninth, you will probably get a kick out of Princess Floralinda. A witch has locked Floralinda in a tower where each level is guarded by a different monster. At first she waits for a prince to rescue her, but they all keep dying. So eventually she and a fairy sidekick begin a lengthy battle down through the tower. It becomes almost a survival story as Floralinda learns to save herself and in the process becomes less and less of a princess. It has a very tongue-in-cheek, British sort of humor and I loved it. This made me laugh, and I think the story is just fantastic.
Profile Image for Kristina.
254 reviews67 followers
October 27, 2021
This was such a fun adult fairytale! I was engaged with this novella from start to finish. Tamsyn Muir's writing style was quirky, charming, and full of humor. I loved how she completely flipped all the tropes we typically see for fairytale princesses in stories. My only complaint would be that I would have loved for this to be a full length novel. Mostly because it would have been cool to have more details about the monsters on each flight. If you are looking for a short fairytale, this one is definitely worth picking up.

**Physical copies will be hard to find since this was a limited edition book. It's available as an ebook though 😊
Profile Image for The Captain.
1,054 reviews352 followers
November 27, 2020
Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

The cover drew me in and three things convinced me to read this book:

1. There is a dragon on this cover and the book has a great title;
2. It is a Subterranean Press book and they do great work; and
3. I enjoy unusual fairy tales.

I liked the beginning of this book and other parts of it but did not love it overall.  When I requested this, I didn't recognize the author's name.  Turns out she wrote gideon the ninth.  I abandoned that book and disliked it enough that I did not review it anywhere because me opinion was so far out of the norm and I really didn't feel like taking time to explain why it irks and infuriates me.  So had I realized who the author was, I likely wouldn't have requested this book.

I really, really did enjoy the set-up for this one.  Floralinda is a weird princess in a weird tower.  I loved that the princes gave up on rescuing her and she is stuck there.  I loved the weird mean fairy.  I even loved how Floralinda dealt with floors 39 and 38 even though the plot moved slowly.  After these floors, the plot stalled and I began to get bored.  The humor from the beginning didn't change and grew stale.  The metatextual aspects became tiresome.  Once Florinda began descending floors again, the author sped through them in a blur.  I wanted to know about the floors that were just described by monster name and passed by.  And the climax and conclusion were basically nonsensical and rushed.  The very last line made me mad.  I don't like the commentary on how Floralinda's journey changed her.  It was too negative.  And I usually like negative.

This author and her style are not for me though I am very grateful to have received a review copy.  Arrrr! 

So lastly . . .

Thank you Subterranean Press!
Profile Image for Miranda.
135 reviews48 followers
January 22, 2021
This novella was an instant purchase for me as soon as I saw the cover. It not only looked incredible but sounded very promising once I read the synopsis. I have never read anything by Tamsyn Muir before, but I think this book was a nice introduction.

Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower follows Princess Floralinda after a witch imprisons her in a tower. This tower is very unique with each flight containing a different monster. Floralinda is meant to stay and wait to be rescued by a prince, but so far, none of them have succeeded. She soon gets very lonely and must face her situation head on as winter approaches.

The whole premise of this story is so cool to me. I like the idea of taking a fairy tale approach and the completely flipping it. I love fairy tales and always have. I really appreciate when stories incorporate these elements but still bring something new and original. However, this novella was not what I was expecting in terms of how it was executed. The writing was better than I expected but was too slow for my liking in most parts. A lot seemed to build up to bigger moments, but at times, I got a little bored or distracted. It was repetitive at times too.

I did like the cast of characters. I thought they were unique and appreciated seeing them come together. I could not help but want more development. Floralinda’s character arc was cool to see, but I wish the story expanded on characterization and relationships. I liked the interactions between Floralinda and Cobweb though.

This was overall an enjoyable read. It did fall flat in some areas, but I can appreciate it for what it is. I think this shorter introduction into works by Tamsyn Muir might finally be the push I needed to pick Gideon the Ninth sooner rather than later.

*Content warning: confinement, animal death, death, gore, violence, blood*
Profile Image for Amy Imogene Reads.
882 reviews760 followers
December 24, 2022
3.5 stars

This was a fun and flipped take on the "princess locked in the tower" fable with some interesting twists.

Concept: ★★★★
Pacing: ★★
Enjoyment: ★★★

"When the witch built the forty-flight tower, she made very sure to do the whole thing properly."

And thus begins the tale of Princess Floralinda and her imprisonment in the "properly done" forty-flight tower of traps, magical dragons, and more that the everyday princes must conquer in order to save Floralinda from her prison.

Floralinda finds out that the witch maybe...overdid it on the "done properly" front. In fact, Floralinda's pretty sure the proper word is "overkill," not overdid. Because none of the princes seem to make it past the very first level with the dragon. Let alone the other 39 floors of terror.

And Floralinda's getting pretty bored, hungry, and cold. The tower wasn't made for an all-seasons imprisonment, after all, and winter is coming.

So Floralinda decides its maybe time for her to try and get down the tower herself.

Some mixed results occur...

Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower is a Tamsyn Muir creation, so I loved it by itself for that fact alone. It was quaint, it had wry turns of phrase, and it had an interesting character dynamic that bordered romantic and bordered snark and brought a lot of fun times.

The journey was quaint. The monsters were interesting takes on tropes and established ideas. The princess-to-badass pipeline was an unique journey in this tale.

But.... This one wasn't my favorite. There, I said it. (Tamsyn, I'm so sorry.) I had a hard time with the repetition and an even harder time with the pacing that lagged/raced/lagged in all of the weirdest moments. I wanted more, or less, or something adapted differently with the same toolbox. It was odd.

Definitely a must-read for Tamsyn fans and a likely favorite for those who like alternate retellings and fables of traditional Western fairy tales. (And Disney fans. This is likely a good hit for grown-up Disney fans who want something "different" that is not, in fact, that different.)

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Profile Image for Artemis.
100 reviews12 followers
January 24, 2021
I liked reading this a lot - I blazed through it in two sittings, the writing was clever and fun, the puzzle-like approach to the monsters was neat to read and constantly engaging, and I wanted to know what happened next! - but I got to the end feeling, this isn't a story of empowerment or triumph or feminist pride, it's
Profile Image for aarya.
1,157 reviews
October 17, 2020
3.5 stars

What had happened was that the witch put Princess Floralinda in a tower forty flights high, but said it wasn’t personal. She told her to cheer up. “Princes will be flocking from near and far to rescue you,” she said. “I’ve covered all my bases. There’s a golden sword at the gates for a prize, if the prince doesn’t care overmuch for princesses, and once he battles his way up thirty-nine flights you’re free to go. I don’t really mind what happens from this point in.”

This is fun. A bit gory and frightening in the monster-killing details, but definitely the subversive princess-in-a-tower fairytale retelling that the blurb promises. Another review called it “Gail Carson Levine but meaner,” and I concur.

There is some gender essentialism in here, but it feels subversive? Maybe? The book’s narrator is clearly mocking Floralinda’s thought process re: gender and the binary views she learned from her family/society. I am not sure if it goes far enough to push against it, but the subversion is there. Honestly, I am not the best person to be critiquing this due to a lack of expertise/knowledge. The humor in this book is subtle and biting; so while I think the subversion sorta works, I can see readers disliking that it doesn’t go far enough in a more explicit confrontation. YMMV.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Tijana.
732 reviews188 followers
December 16, 2020
Floralinda je princeza zatvorena na vrhu kule, na svakom od četrdeset spratova je drugo čudovište/čudovišta, a posle prvih par desetina prinčeva skrckanih u prizemlju, ostali su odustali. I tako je princeza sad upućena samo na sebe i na jednu poganu vilicu koja joj je slučajno uletela kroz prozor.
Pripovedački glas je svež, veseo i posprdan, i podseća na lepu tradiciju ironične autorske bajke, dok sama radnja u suštini omažira stvari poput Super Marija (?) jer Floralinda počne da savlađuje sprat po sprat. Jedino razočaranje predstavlja solidno nemotivisan kraj od koga ostane gorak ukus u ustima.
Profile Image for Žarko.
67 reviews3 followers
December 7, 2020
Treba više novela da čitamo, ovo je taman da se sprži u cugu i da ti bude žao što nema više.

Elem, Floralinda je remiks/fanfiction princeze u nevolji, koja mukom postane junak kojeg je zalud čekala da je izbavi. Zanimljivo i smešno, a ne preterano zahtevno, dajte mi još ovakvih...
Profile Image for Nicholas Perez.
355 reviews87 followers
March 8, 2022
4.5/5 stars

An irreverent fairy-tale that is both the literary and spiritual successor to Shrek!

Princess Floralinda is, well, a princess locked at the top of a tower by a witch. Princes come to save her, but they are all quickly killed and devoured by the diamond dragon at the bottom of the tower. A pampered and sheepish, Floralinda tries to take matters into her own hands and barely survives a goblin attack. With the help from a pushy non-binary fairy named Cobweb who has the personality of Gina Linetti from Brooklyn 99, Floralinda braves the flights of the towers and the monsters that inhabit within. Cobweb's treatment of Floralinda is quite harsh, but Floralinda really the timid princess everyone thinks her to be?

I read this because I just wanted to read something by Tamsyn Muir again, and I have to wait so long for Nona the Ninth. Much like The Locked Tomb Series, Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower has Muir's sense of humor, elegant and snarky prose, and a fair amount of violence and bloodshed.

It is Muir's humor and character developments of Floralinda and Cobweb that give the story its main drive. We truly see Floralinda go from being a bumbling princess to a brave, strong, and even vicious fighter, but still remaining the sensitive and overly hopeful girl that she is. Cobweb goes from being an outright jerk to even being warm and caring, while still thinking (both in the literal and metaphorical sense) economically. The lessons the two learn about each other and the tower as the story progresses are like peeling away the layers of some fruit or vegetable (I am probably thinking of an onion here, but I hate onions) and keep the narrative going.

There is a brief commentary on gender within the story, one that doesn't beat us over the head and is incredibly nuanced. Floralinda points out, subtly, that being both a boy or a girl comes with enforcements places upon you. Boys are expected to fight and die and girls are expected to be just pretty; neither truly realized in the diversity of their humanity. I'm sounding a bit florid here and over dramatically--I apologize--but that is Muir's point and she does it more briefly and less dramatically than what I have described here. Additionally, Cobweb is non-binary and/or apathetic to gender; Floralinda considers Cobweb a girl because she feels more comfortable with Cobweb being one giving what little privacy they have in the tower together. Cobweb considers having a gender "a cross to bear" and being "forced into bondage." All these considerations are within the context of being considered a girl, neither Cobweb nor Muir singles it out as solely being a problem for girls and women.

These lesson on gender is later subtextual reflection for Floralinda at the novella's end. I won't spoil what happens at the end or how this reflection comes into play for our princess, but it is very rewarding for both her and us. Floralinda's development overall was my favorite part of the book. I loved her and cared for her throughout the entire book. Cobweb was an acquired taste, and is the partial reason for me not giving it a complete 5 stars. I felt her being mean towards to Floralinda got a bit much sometimes. The other reasons for the lack of a total 5 stars is that I felt that some earlier parts of the book are a bit repetitive in its progression and that the finale was rushed.

Overall, this was a fun novella that I was so glad to get a signed copy of. According to Subterranean Press' page for the book, apparently a sequel is forthcoming. No idea when it'll be written or when it'll get here, if it ever does, but I am interested in returning to this world to see where Floralinda, Cobweb, or even the last princess go.

And to people wondering how this is queer after reading it...are y'all blind?
Profile Image for Eva.
175 reviews102 followers
March 27, 2021
Terry Pratchett finally has some much longed-for competition: 5 stars for enormous charm and humor! I loved pretty much everything about this, so much fun to listen to. If you want to give Tamsyn Muir a try and don't want to commit to a full long novel, check out this wonderful, snarky novelette.
Profile Image for sassafrass.
441 reviews6 followers
November 29, 2020
has a touch of diana wynne jones about it that i adored, but also adds mean lesbians with giant swords so really the best of all worlds. funny, smart, and a joy from start to delightful finish.
Profile Image for Landice (Manic Femme).
207 reviews365 followers
January 6, 2021
3.5 stars, rounded up.

It's been weeks since I finished this novella and I'm still not sure what to say about it. Overall, it was an enjoyable read from one of my favorite authors, and I'm glad I read it. Will return with more thoughts later.

Update: Tamsyn Muir is one of my auto-buy authors, so when I saw she was releasing a new limited print run novella through Subterranean Press, I decided to pre-order it, even though the $40 price tag gave me pause. I wouldn’t say I regret buying Princess Floralinda and the Forty Flight Tower, because it’s absolutely gorgeous and I did enjoy it, but I expected to love it as much as I do the Locked Tomb trilogy and I just.. didn’t? This book was a good reminder of why I try to avoid having any expectations for books.⠀

Princess Floralinda and the Forty Flight Tower is a dark, twisted, satirical tale that reads like the book version of a dungeon crawler game. The plot is largely what you’d expect based on the title - Princess Floralinda (a caricature of the stereotypical fairytale princess) is trapped by a witch at the top of a tower, with forty flights of monsters standing in the way of her escape. Floralinda watches as princes arrive in droves to rescue her, but none succeed. Eventually, there are no princes left, and Floralinda realizes it’s up to her to save herself.⠀

From that brief description, you might imagine this is a story about female empowerment. It’s not 😅😂 The princess does save herself in this one, but Floralinda is not a likable character for you to live vicariously through. I can’t say more without risking spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that. ⠀

Final verdict: 3.5-4 stars. While it didn’t meet my high expectations, but Princess Floralinda and the Forty Flight Tower was a fairly quick, enjoyable read. If you like dark fantasy, satirical takes on common tropes, or are a Muir fan, I do think it’s worth checking out as an ebook, which is much more affordable ($7-ish USD).

ARC Disclaimer: Though I also bought my own copy, I did read receieve a digital ARC through Netgalley. This did not impact my opinion/review.

Love sapphic books, too? Let's be friends! Bookstagram | Booktube | Book Blog | Twitter
Profile Image for Lisa Wolf.
1,592 reviews171 followers
December 26, 2020
The idea of the princess rescuing herself isn’t exactly new anymore, thanks to the (incredibly welcome) surge in grrl-power fairy tale retellings. Still, in the hands of Tamsyn Muir, this princess story feels fresh and so, so entertaining.

Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower is a slim book (with a wonderful cover!), but it’s jam-packed with humor and adventure (and all sorts of guts and gore, but in a FUNNY gross way).

A witch has imprisoned the beautiful princess at the top of a tower. It’s a classic concept — princes will come, battle their way to the top, and win the lovely princess (and a rocking golden sword). The problem is, the very first flight is guarded by a fearsome diamond-coated dragon, and for the first several days, all Floralinda can hear from way up in her tower is the crunch-crunch-crunch of prince bones. Eventually, the princes stop coming, and Floralinda’s tower prison starts to feel dismal.

Joined by a wayward fairy named Cobweb, Floralinda is spurred into action. If the two of them don’t do something about it, she’ll be stuck in the tower forever — and the magically regenerating bread and oranges that felt like a treat at first are just not enough to sustain a princess forever.

Floralinda and Cobweb begin to battle their way down the flights of the tower, crafting weapons and poisons, using their wits and their muscles (Cobweb assigns Floralinda a workout regimen) to defeat sirens, goblins, giant rats, and sorts of other ghastly, deadly adversaries.

I love how Floralinda sheds her princessy exterior, becoming grimier and tougher, turning her silk gown into bandages and her curtain rods into spears, turning into a warrior without ever really meaning to. The relationship beween her and Cobweb is funny and sweet, even though Cobweb spends most of her time hating on Floralinda (even while making sure she’s got the weapons and training needed to kill all the monsters that stand between them and freedom).

Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower is a funny delight, and I’m so glad I treated myself to a copy. I think I’m the last person on the planet who hasn’t read Gideon the Ninth yet, but now that I’ve read this short treat by Tamsyn Muir, I definitely want to read her full-length works too.
Profile Image for Denise.
342 reviews30 followers
February 5, 2021
4.5 stars- great ending for this anti-fairy tale!

One quote:
Witches do their best work in spring and summer, when princes are most inclined to go and look for mates. As the prince’s only natural predator, the witch had to work when the princes were thickest on the ground.

I laughed out loud-but most of the story was about the creature called ‘a princess.’
Profile Image for Fadi Antwan.
124 reviews49 followers
August 2, 2022
Never in a million years would I have guessed that this book with a princess on the cover would be the closest thing to Dark Souls that I’ve ever read. Only, everything is jumbled up, everyone is incompetent, and it’s hilarious. Safe to say I loved it.
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