Thief Liar Lady by D.L. Soria

Publisher: Randon House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey

Date of publication: July 11th, 2023

Genre: Fantasy, Retellings, Adult, Romance, Fairy Tales, Fiction, Science Fiction, High Fantasy, Fantasy Romance, Fairy Tale Retellings

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

I’m not who you think I am.

My transformation from a poor, orphaned scullery maid into the enchantingly mysterious lady who snagged the heart of the prince did not happen–as the rumors insisted–in a magical metamorphosis of pumpkins and glass slippers. On the first evening of the ball, I didn’t meekly help my “evil” stepmother and stepsisters primp and preen or watch forlornly out the window as their carriage rolled off toward the palace. I had other preparations to make.

My stepsisters and I had been trained for this–to be the cleverest in the room, to be quick with our hands and quicker with our lies. We were taught how to get everything we want in this world, everything men always kept for themselves: power, wealth, and prestige. And with a touchingly tragic past and the help of some highly illegal spells, I would become a princess, secure our fortunes, and we would all live happily ever after.

But there’s always more to the story. With my magic running out, war looming, and a handsome hostage prince–the wrong prince–distracting me from my true purpose with his magnetic charm and forbidden flirtations, I’m in danger of losing control of the delicate balance I’ve created…and that could prove fatal.

There’s so much more riding on this than a crown.

First Line:

I never thought the tale of my daring escape from servitude into the glittering world of the royal palace would be boring, but after the hundreth telling it had begun to lose its shine.

Thief Liar Lady by D.L. Soria

Ash (better known as Lady Aislinn) knew what she was doing when she met Everett at his birthday ball and used magic to have him fall in love with her. Under her stepmother’s tutelage, Ash had learned to lie, use her body, and use illegal magic to capture a man. Now that she has the prince, she needs to make it to the wedding, and she will be in the clear. Ash is marrying the prince for his money and title, and so much more is riding on her wedding. But, when she meets the hostage prince, the dashing Rance. Then everything she has worked so hard for is shaken. Ash cannot let Rance distract her from her plans. But when the unthinkable happens, and Rance is implicated, Ash must decide: Will she stand by her Prince Charming? Or will she follow her heart?

When I saw this would be a retelling of Cinderella, the book caught my interest. For some reason, I have seen many fairy tale retellings on my Goodreads home page, and when I saw that Random House had this as a wish on NetGalley, I decided to wish on it. I wasn’t expecting it to be granted, and when I got the email, I was thrilled. I was glad when Random House granted this wish because I enjoyed the book (even if I had a few quibbles about it).

Thief Liar Lady is a fast-paced book. Because it is a fast-paced book, the plot line lags slightly towards the middle (around the wedding and the events after). It didn’t affect how I liked the book or my ability to stay focused on it(I have outside influences that do that).

Thief Liar Lady takes place entirely in the country of Solis. Solis didn’t seem like a place that I would like to live. If you were a native Solisian, then you were alright. But there was much hatred and mistrust if you came from the kingdom that Solis had been at war with. I could go on about genocide and religious suppression, but I won’t. Just remember that it happened in this book and was heartbreaking to read.

Thief Liar Lady’s storyline centers around Ash and the various activities that she is involved with. I loved that the author took the Cinderella fairy tale and had it take such a turn. I loved its what-if factor (What if Cinderella had an agenda). I also loved the backstory that the author built up for her. Ash was mistreated by her stepmother, there is no doubt about that, but she and her stepsisters were equally mistreated and trained, just like Ash. I did have a quibble with how Ash’s story was laid out. I wouldn’t say I liked starting the book in the middle of the story. It left me feeling off balance while reading. Also, I felt off balance while reading Ash’s backstory (how she got engaged and why). It was thrown in with no lead-in. This book’s use of magic (or lusture) was interesting, but Ash relied too much on it. Also, if Rance trained Puppy to detect lusture, why didn’t anyone pay attention when she started going nuts everything Ash was around?

I liked Ash. She was very straightforward with her intentions and why she was marrying Everett. She showed early in the book that she wasn’t easily manipulated. By the middle of the book, I liked that she decided she wouldn’t let people walk on her. That scene with Ryland was gold. I did worry for her when she started caring more for Rance than she should. I knew she was head over heels for him by the cottage scene. That’s what made everything that happened afterward so bittersweet.

I liked Rance but didn’t know what to think about him. He was an enigma and remained an enigma until the end of the book. I did have questions about his feelings for Ash throughout the book. I questioned how he felt until the end of the book.

I liked Everett, but I couldn’t tell if what I was seeing was the actual prince or the prince that had been repeatedly dosed with lusture. So, reading his scenes with Ash made me a little sick. Here is what seems to be a nice guy forced to be in love with someone he would have never looked at. The author focused his entire character on Ash, so I wonder if the guy I was seeing when the magic wore off was real.

The romance angle of Thief Liar Lady was well written. The central romance between Everett and Ash slowly leads to a love triangle between Everett, Ash, and Rance. And that slowly gave way to just Ash and Rance. As I mentioned above, the romance between Ash and Everett was forced because Ash had Everett under magical control. I didn’t get to see the build-up. Instead, the author highlighted the downfall. The romance whose build-up was highlighted was Ash and Rance. It was a prolonged build-up. It seemed to stall out there until the rebels kidnapped Ash and Rance. After that, it got going.

The storyline with Ash, her grandmother, and the rebellion was sad. Ash believed what she was doing was for the best. But, I feel her grandmother used her for information and didn’t care about her. The scene at the cottage only cemented that for me.

The storyline with Ash, her stepsisters, and her stepmother made me angry. The author gave little information about Ash’s childhood, but the glimpses were abusive. Ash and her stepsisters went through hell growing up. I wondered when the control Ash’s stepmother exerted over those girls would snap. It did towards the end of the book, and the fallout was explosive.

The end of Thief Liar Lady was not what I thought it would be. I loved how Ash fixed everything. It was unconventional, but it worked. The author was able to wrap up and end all of the storylines in ways that satisfied me.

I would recommend Thief Liar Lady to anyone over 16. There is no language, but there is violence and sexual situations.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey, NetGalley, and D.L. Soria for allowing me to read and review Thief Liar Lady. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

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