Princess Catherine of Lackaney, the heroine of this fantasy tale, has a typical dilemma. Her parents have betrothed her to a king of the foreign kingdom, Candlewax, without her consent. So she does what every self-respecting princess in a similar situation does. She runs away from home.
But that’s where the clichéd storyline veers from the tried and true path of runaway princesses.
Catherine meets a beast of myth, a farrier cat named Spelopokos (Pokos for short), who informs her that she is “the Catherine” of legend who will save the kingdom from the evil trodliks, vermin that eat everything in their path.
A necklace she received from her grandmother marks her as the person of prophecy. Pokos is the last farrier cat in Lackaney. The farrier cats are the only thing keeping the trodliks at bay. Pokos needs a mate, and Catherine is drafted to help him find one. They have to leave Lackaney, cross through Candlewax and pass through an enchanted gateway into a forbidden land. Her necklace is really an object of power. Both its value and Catherine’s own true history have been kept from her. She doesn’t know what to believe or who to trust as everything she’s known crashes down around her.
This book has a good dose of magical elements, and for the reader who adores Medieval settings, the world building is top-notch. Good guys turn out to be villainous and the one person she ran away to avoid turns out to be the very person who supports her the most in fulfilling the prophecy and rescue of the kingdom.
But don’t let the idea of a Knight in Shining Armor rear its ugly head. Catherine is the savior in this tale and the knight her trusty sidekick. She does the heavy lifting and in the end its her wits that enable a happy ending.
There were a few places where action was lacking, but for the most part the premise was interesting and original enough to keep me reading. I did have trouble muddling through the first chapters before the originality of the plot had me hooked, but after that, I couldn’t put the book down.
This is a great read for an older teen, especially one interested in strong female characters.
Note: I received an ARC of Candlewax by C Bailey Sims for review from NetGalley.