ARC Review: A Dance with Magic by Nancy O’Toole

About the Book:

Title: A Dance With Magic

Author: Nancy O’Toole

Series: The Twin Kindgoms

Page Length: 136

Publication Date: Oct. 6, 2021

Publisher: Midnight Tide Publishing

Synopsis: The chance for freedom

Rebecca has lived a life of restrictions. Once a scared princess, ruthlessly controlled by her older brother, she now finds herself inheriting a kingdom that never expected to have a queen. Facing the possibility of engagement to a man she cannot stand, Rebecca takes her first chance of freedom: an enchanted masquerade located beneath a trap door.

The loyal soldier

Zahir has lived a life of loss. A peerless swordsman and trained fighter, he once fought for his country. Now he only raises his blade in defense of one: his queen and dearest friend, Rebecca. But secretly, his feelings expand beyond friendship. It will take all of Zahir’s skill to protect Rebecca from the true purpose of the masquerade, a force more sinister and older than either of them expect.

Or may be able to survive.

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My Review:

When Nancy O’Toole reached out and asked if I wanted to read this book, I jumped at the chance. I LOVED The Rose and the Claw, the first book in The Twin Kingdoms series, and this story was just as immersive! A Twelve Dancing Princess reimagining, the story has so many elements I enjoyed: magic, masquerades, compelling characters, vivid worlds, and romance!

Rebecca and Zahir were introduced in the first book, and there were hints of their romantic feelings for each other. In this story, we see just how deep and profound their love is, but propriety and social rank prohibit them from being together. They have great chemistry, and the use of flashbacks to further develop these characters and their path toward each other is fantastic. Both Rebecca and Zahir have had difficult lives, and they found something special in each other. And the way Zahir feels about Rebecca is positively swoon-worthy! There is so much angst with this couple, and I so hoped for their happily ever after!

There are two other characters, the prince and princess of Verdia, introduced in this novella that I found really interesting. They have such distinct personalities, and I loved their roles in the story. I am so curious to learn more about each. I have a feeling there is way more to both of these siblings than meets the eye, and it would be interesting to see their perspectives on everything that has happened and continues to happen in their kingdoms.

I like that, as the series progresses, we learn more about the kingdoms, their ongoing battles, and the political situations that arise. In this novella, Rebecca is encouraged to marry a prince from a neighboring kingdom, and it is purely a political move. When unusual amounts of magic are noticed across the country, suspicions are provoked. You can feel the precariousness of their social and political worlds. All of this adds another layer to the story that is quite intriguing.

Throughout the story, Rebecca sneaks out at night to attend a mysterious masquerade. This aspect of the plot is fantastic! The fantasy elements are dark and dangerous and so captivating! The masquerade, the illusions, the deadly antagonist, the secrecy all create this beautifully horrifying world where illusion and reality merge. I love how the horrors of the illusion are slowly revealed as the story progresses, and that there are several surprising revelations in regard to the masquerade and its creator. So creepy! It definitely contributes to the Gothic vibes throughout the novella.

I love fairy tale reimaginings, and Nancy O’Toole has created such wonderful stories that feel recognizable and fresh at the same time. A unique spin on a classic fairy tale, A Dance with Magic is a captivating and romantic novella and a great addition to The Twin Kingdoms series. Thanks so much to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance!!
  • The unique spin on a classic fairy tale.

Favorite Lines:

Just because you are the exception does not mean that there isn’t a rule.

A knife is sometimes a tool, but it is always a weapon. If you’re not careful, it will cycle back to its original purpose, which is pain.

Just because something wasn’t easy didn’t mean it wasn’t worth pursuing.

Love is not the absence of friendship, merely and additional, powerful layer.

How can I ever think about giving my heart away to another if it was never truly my own to begin with?


Want to learn more about the series? Check out my review of the first book:

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