Hero, the second book in The Woodcutter Sisters series by Alethea Kontis continues the story of the magic-prone Woodcutter family. This time, the heroine is Saturday, the sister with a destiny but no magic of her own. Saturday is impatient for her destiny to happen. She has been training in swordplay, but she is eager to get things started. Then she breaks a mirror, an ocean appears, and she is off on her sister’s pirate ship in search of adventure. Meanwhile, Prince Peregrine has been granted a wish—and unexpectedly left trapped in an icy cave.
Saturday is a wonderful main character. She is rough-and-tumble, impatient, active, and far from perfect. Swordplay does not come naturally to her: What she knows, she has learned through hours of drill. She tends to rush in first and think later. She is also warm-hearted, brave, and persistent. Hero introduces another delightful character in Betwixt, a chimera captured long ago by a witch and prone to making sensible observations when they are needed.
The romance does not work as well as the pairing in the first book, Enchanted, where the two spent a long time talking. Kontis is working at a non-traditional scenario where the prince is the one in need of rescue, and the one who takes care of the cooking and cleaning roles and the woman is the active person. This is commendable, and it almost works. The problem is that, unlike the relationship in Enchanted where the two had time to get to know one another, this one is based heavily on Peregrine having dreamed abou Saturday and Saturday noticing a kindness that goes beyond what is shown on the pages. It ends up feeling rushed; they have to fall in love, and there are only so many pages to do it in.
Audible Studios has kept Katherine Kellgren, who read the first book in the series, as the reader, which provides a nice continuity. She is a good reader, varying tone and voice and changing pace to match the scenes. Sometimes her action scene reading is almost too emphatic, but that is a small complaint about an enjoyable listening experience. Listeners who want to hear a sample of her reading can find one here, on Audible.com.
Hero is the second book in The Woodcutter Sisters and contains the same delightful thicket of fairy tales found in the first book. It can be read as a standalone for those who wish to, as the events in this tale do not depend on those in the first, and there are only brief references to them; it also contains only the mildest of spoilers for Enchanted, so a reader getting them out of order need not be concerned.
Hero is available in multiple formats. Look for it on Amazon
Set in the same world:
, which is about one of the Woodcutter brothers.