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Book Review: The Stolen Kingdom Series, by Bethany Atazadeh

I am so stoked to share my latest review with you! I recently finished The Stolen Kingdom series by Bethany Atazadeh and it was a delight to read!

Synopsis

Arie is the heir to Hodafez and holds a gift that could cost her life: the ability to read minds when others are thinking directly about her. This Gift is one of many Jinni Gifts a human can develop, but when it appears in a woman, it is a punishable offense. 

But Arie’s world is upended when a neighboring king arrives, using his own Jinni Gift to control her father and force Arie to marry him. And to make matters worse, Arie hears his thoughts, discovering his plans to overtake the kingdom of Hodafez. 

Arie refuses to accept defeat, and goes into hiding to evade the neighbor king’s manipulation and thwart his plans to cede Hodafez through marriage. However, street life is far from what Arie expected, and she finds herself embroiled in a gang of thieves with a plan to trap a Jinni, a Jinni that could provide a Severance from her Gift that could save her life. A Jinni that, with the proper persuasion, could help her save her kingdom from the clutches of the enemy.

The Stolen Kingdom

What I liked:

The nods back to the Aladdin story were very well done. They didn’t overpower the original story Atazadeh was writing and were more like little flourishes on the story that I really enjoyed.

Arie is a wonderful main character. She was fun, spunky, and I really enjoyed the way she navigated the world. 

The antagonist in this story kinda scared me a little bit. His Jinni gift is basically mind control of a sort, and my heart just sinks every time he uses it on a main character. I wasn’t sure how the protagonists were going to beat that!

I felt like the Jinni hunt was a super fun addition to the story and a creative way to include Aladdin’s genie lamp!

What I didn’t like:

I felt like the opening image could have been tighter. I wish the story had started a little closer to when we find out that Jinni gifts in women are punished by Severance, which causes them to go mad and commit suicide. 

Content Warnings:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: None. 
  • Sexual content: None. 
  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars, highly recommend

The Jinni Key

What I liked

Out of all the books, this one was my favorite.

First off, the best portrayal of mermaids that I’ve read so far. Nothing about the way it was done felt cheesy or forced. 

Second off, the way Atazadeh incorporates the Little Mermaid story is genius. Again, just like in the first book, the original fairytale provides seasoning to the original story brewing. I loved the portrayal, and I love the fact that it was called out how selfish the story of the Little Mermaid actually is, in a sense. Didn’t expect that and I kinda liked it.

Finally, the twist on the romance was my amazing. Oh my goodness. I was holding my breath the whole time, wondering how Atazadeh was going to pull it off, and then she twisted it! And I loved the result much, much more than the original fairytale, to be honest.

What I didn’t like

I don’t have anything I didn’t like about this book. Really, I didn’t.

Content Warnings:

  • Violence: None. Some blood.
  • Language: Low
  • Sexual content: None
  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars, highly recommend

The Cursed Hunter

What I liked:

I loved Nesrin as a character. She was sassy and driven, but it didn’t feel like a cliched sort of way. I loved that her thing was rock climbing and I also loved that she technically wasn’t a princess, and she didn’t become one over the course of the book, either. I thought that was really great.

I liked the Beast. I felt like there was an added layer of tension because the Beast didn’t have any memories and was basically overtaken by animal instinct. It took a lot for the Beast to overcome that.  

What I didn’t like

None of the other characters were as entwined as the first two books. I wanted so badly to find out the results of the Jinni Key’s ending and I admit, I totally flipped ahead to see if we were going to get original character viewpoints. I was super disappointed that I would have to wait until The Enchanted Crown in order to get that cliffhanger resolved. So I mean it wasn’t a bad thing, because I could see where Nesrin and the Beast’s story fit within the overall story, but I just wanted my cliffhanger resolved. 

Content Warning

  • Violence: Mild. There is a wild animal attack.
  • Language: Low
  • Sexual content: None 
  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5, highly recommend

The Enchanted Crown

What I liked:

I loved this ending to Atazadeh’s The Stolen Kingdom series. All the character’s stories wove together beautifully. The ending was fun and I loved the twist that showed up partway through the book! The emotions through this book were deep and very well portrayed. I loved the handling of depression. I personally have never felt deep depression, and this book gave me a visceral sense of what it might be like. That being said, I loved the message of hope and healing at the end, and I felt like all the main character’s stories and character arcs wrapped up perfectly. 

What I didn’t like:

There was really only one thing I wished this book had, and it was more story aspects harkening back to the tale of Sleeping Beauty. All of the other books in the series did an awesome job of showing their retelling tie in, but I could only catch one reference to Sleeping Beauty in this one. However, as a caveat to this, I can understand why there might not be more. While these books are fairytale retellings, the original story really took on a life of its own, so I could see how it could be nearly impossible to shoehorn elements in from an original tale. 

Content Warnings:

  • Violence: Low. Mostly knocking people out.
  • Language: Low
  • Sexual content: None
  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars, highly recommend

Overall, ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 on the full series from me! I highly, HIGHLY recommend this read!

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