Once Upon a (Stolen) Time (Stolen Series Book #1)
Author: Samreen Ahsan
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Time-Travel
Release Date: 2015
Source: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
All her life, Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castles—and the kings and princes who once inhabited them. Now, wealthy videogame designer Steve Bernard wants her to model for a princess character in his new game. Myra can’t resist his offer, especially when she learns that Steve plans to film inside the mysterious Hue Castle—a cursed, barren, colorless place forbidden to visitors for centuries. But unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to Hue Castle by blood and sorcery. When she enters its doors, she awakens dark powers that will reach through time—stealing her past, torturing her present, and rewriting her future.
Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine or held a living flower. Cursed from birth to live in darkness and bring death to all he touches, he is at the mercy of his cruel, tyrannical father, who will not rest until he shatters Edward’s soul and makes his son into a diabolical copy of himself. Edward’s one hope is the mysterious woman who haunts his dreams—who will either break his curse and bring him out of the darkness, or destroy him utterly.
For Myra and Edward, past and future collide in a tale of love, obsession, betrayal, and the hope for redemption.
My Review: Myra has has dreams of having a fairytale of her own. When she is chosen to be a model for a video game set in a haunted castle, Myra can’t refuse. As she arrives at the palace, she feels at once that it is cursed. The more she explores, the more she learns of the castle's secrets. She also learns that she is connected to the castle, and to a fifteenth century prince, named Edward, who was a resident of the castle that was said to disappear from history.
Myra is a romantic. She is an idealist. She loves castles, medieval ages, and fairytales. Because of her dreams of fairy tales, it is hard for her to see the present and reality. She is very headstrong, and once her mind is made up, she is determined to go after her dreams. I also found Myra to be very lonely, and she yearns for a friend. I also found her to be very observant, and she makes some smart decisions. She is drawn to Edward because she feels compassion for him. Edward has a sad life. His father is a cruel tyrant, whose goal is to make Edward heartless. Edward is also a romantic. He was to have empathy for people, and to be human. When his father is forcing him to be merciless, Edward fights hard to maintain his humanity. Myra fights to restore Edward’s heart, and to make him human again.
Overall, this book is about friendship, love, choices, loss, and redemption. The message of the book is that there is hope and that where there is darkness, there is also light. This book was a character-driven story with very complex characters. I did like the present better than the medieval storyline because I did not like to learn Edward’s story, it was very sad. The present was more fun and there was more mystery. This novel also seems to be a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and I thought that the retelling was fresh and original. I also thought the novel to be very well-written, and I liked the setting of a cursed medieval castle. The story also ended in a cliffhanger, and I look forward to reading the sequel. I recommend this book to anyone looking to read dark time-slip fairytale retellings that is filled with magic, mystery, and medieval secrets.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars