Title: Fly with the Arrow
Author: Sarah K.L. Wilson
Series: Bluebeard’s Secret #1
Audience: New Adult
Length: 311 pages
Release Date: March 2, 2021
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Recommended for fans of: Alice in Wonderland, fairy tale retellings
Content Warnings: violence, murder, kidnapping
A STOLEN BRIDE. A TERRIFYING BRIDEGROOM. THE GAME THAT WILL DETERMINE THEIR FATES.
No one told her the most important law of the court – the Law of Greeting.
If they had, maybe she wouldn’t have greeted Bluebeard when he arrived to claim a mortal wife. And if she hadn’t greeted him, she wouldn’t have become his sixteenth wife or been swept away to the lands of the Wittenhame.
But if none of that had happened, then she wouldn’t have been an integral part of the game that takes place every two hundred years – a game that determines the fates of nations.
For not all is as it seems, not in her homeland of Pensmoore, not in the Wittenhame, and certainly not in her new marriage.
Fly with the Arrow is a creative retelling of Bluebeard that also draws inspiration from fantasy like Alice in Wonderland. With a mysterious curse, forced marriage, and a veryyyyyy slow burning romance I expected to love this book, but while this book has a great concept, the execution did not always meet my expectations.
Izolda initially turned me off with her “not like other girls” vibes. After inadvertently volunteering to become Bluebeard’s sixteenth human bride, I understood her fascination with him, but I didn’t quite get when those feelings became romantic. Especially since the curse prevented Izolda and Bluebeard from speaking to each other, it was hard to get a sense of their romance without the kind of banter I love in fantasy romances.
Bluebeard is a very dark fairy tale, but I don’t think the gruesome nature of the source material blended well with the later whimsical elements like giant salamanders and walking houses. The Wittenbrand are very similar to Holly Black’s fae in The Cruel Prince, but I don’t think Wilson blended the darker and lighter sides of the fae quite as successfully.
One of my biggest issues is the length. At 311 pages, it’s short for a fantasy book, and some details really needed to be fleshed out. I was left with so many questions about the curse, the magic system, and the romance. I understand that this is the first book in a series, but I needed at least some of my questions answered to convince me to continue the series. I also think the writing could’ve used another round of polishing; some of the metaphors did not make sense. I am curious about what happens next, but with so many other books I want to read, I’m not sure I’ll ever get around to the sequels.