ARC Review: RUMAYSA EVER AFTER by Radiya Hafiza (Middle Grade Monday)

I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in white on blue and orange blurred image of domed building on sky with purple tree border
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - second book

*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for RUMAYSA*

Synopsis:

Book cover for RUMAYSA EVER AFTER: title in white on orange domed building on blue with purple tree border

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, a young girl called Rumaysa was searching for her parents…

When Rumaysa receives a mysterious invitation from Saira White, the Queen of Bishnara, she hopes the Queen will be able to help her on her quest to find her long lost parents. But things are rarely as they seem, and Rumaysa is soon pulled into a dark, magical adventure to save her new friends even as she searches for her family. But will she ever find her own Happily Ever After?

Blurb taken from retailers (not on Goodreads right now!)


Review:

RUMAYSA EVER AFTER follows Rumaysa as she continues trying to find her parents. This time, rather than several adventures, she has one big adventure. It also treats the fairy tale of snow white differently than it did the previous fairy tales. It doesn’t subvert-but-generally-follow-the-same-story in this book, but rather completely subverts all your expectations, starting with happening after Saira White has defeated the evil stepmother.

That real flip on the fairy tale, as well as being one long story to sink into, really helped to distinguish this book from the previous, which was really useful as the premise is pretty much the same. The extra time on the story allowed for more nuance and twists too because more time was spent with the same characters.

I really liked this new structure as it felt more cohesive and more directional. There was more a sense of momentum towards a finale as there was one big bad to show down with, rather than several small bads. The best way I can describe it is that RUMAYSA was the starting levels and then RUMAYSA EVER AFTER is the boss level.

This book, like the previous, is the younger end of MG. It’s the perfect sort of book for someone who wants to start reading above chapter books, gaining confidence while also seeing well-known fairy tales remixed into something very different.

From the ending, I’m pretty sure there won’t be more Rumaysa books. She’s found her parents, her magic necklace is broken, and she’s got her happily ever after. While I’d have liked more remixed fairy tales, I’m also interested to see what Radiya Hafiza’s next project is.


Read my reviews of other books by Radiya Hafiza:

Rumaysa (this series):

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