Book Review of Her Dark Reflection by Hailey Jade

Her Dark Reflection is Hailey Jade’s new dark fantasy reimagining of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

Thank you to Shannon of R&R Book Tours and Midnight Tide Publishing for sending me a free advanced copy of Her Dark Reflection in return for an honest review.

Her Dark Reflection is a dark fantasy retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. In this book, Rhiandra is working in a bar as a maisera, or a whore, when she is assaulted and badly burned by some angry patrons. She meets Draven, a magic-wielding stranger, who offers a glamour to disguise her badly burned face — for a price. Can Rhiandra persuade the King to fall in love with her and make her his Queen?

Her Dark Reflection is available on Amazon for Kindle and in paperback (and is available through Kindle Unlimited), and don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads To Be Read list!

My review

I love retellings of fairy tales so I jumped at the chance to read Her Dark Reflection. This is a dark fantasy retelling and has a lot of adult themes — it’s definitely not a Young Adult novel! There are trigger warnings for sexual assault, abortions and more here.

Her Dark Reflection is unlike any other fairytale retellings I’ve read so far — and I loved it! There’s a lot of changes to the Snow White story we all are familiar with, which meant that there were lots of surprises throughout the book.

For a start, it’s told from the villain’s perspective, which was really refreshing. Taking the story from Rhiandra’s point of view makes her seem very reasonable. She is strong, outspoken (whatever the consequences!) and is very determined. It’s very easy to forget that she is supposed to be the villain of the tale! Draven is very much the mysterious stranger, and I loved the chemistry between him and Rhiandra. My favourite parts of the book were when Draven appears. He’s mysterious and powerful, and I was left wanting to know more about him. The other characters were mostly forgettable, such as the King — Rhiandra isn’t very interested in learning more about others she meets, making friends and finding out their stories, and so this is reflected in the story.

The story itself was so gripping! Straight away, we are launched into the action with Rhiandra’s horrific assault and then her slow recovery from her injuries. The differences between the original Snow White story meant that it was almost impossible to predict what would happen next, so it wasn’t predictable. But there’s also a lot of worldbuilding here, all done well — there are no huge info dumps.

Overall Her Dark Reflection is a great new dark fantasy retelling, with a great twist. It was very easy when reading to forget that this was meant to be a retelling of Snow White’s story — Hailey Jade has really made Snow White’s story her own. If you enjoy dark romances and don’t mind a few graphic scenes, you’ll love this!

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Preview of the first chapter

The Winking Nymph was always flooded with patrons after the Burnings.

The atmosphere wasn’t the same as it would be on a busy night at a regular tavern; the dim lighting fed rather than banished the shadows, encouraging them closer, leaving pockets of space where patrons could lurk without being recognized. Men – and the occasional woman – drank, sometimes in groups, but for the most part they didn’t engage themselves with singing bawdy songs or telling dirty jokes. Perhaps the place was debauched enough on its own and so they didn’t feel the need.

Women drifted in and out of the shadows, flirting with the light as it caught on their spangled wrists and ankles and throats, and at the front of the room a beautiful redheaded girl sang with a voice as sweet as sun-warmed strawberries. It was going to be a big tipping night; the city was beginning to bulge with visitors attending the treaty celebrations, and the moon cycle holiday had beckoned them all to the streets, thrilled by the morning’s violence and drunk on bloodlust.

I was eager to get out on the floor, but Madam had saddled me with initiation duties, so I was instead lingering in a corner by the bar, doing breathing exercises with the novice.

Aalin’s perfume was thick, a ghastly confection of jasmine, violets and something sugary that made my head ache. I could pick a new girl a mile away – they wore thick makeup obscuring their faces, chains and sparkles everywhere one could hang a jewel, and gowns in gaudy colors that revealed more than they concealed. They thought they were channeling desirability, but in reality, all the decoration was just a screen to hide their nerves behind.

I was long past those sorts of naïve assumptions. I’d worked at the Winking Nymph long enough to know that calculated vulnerability earns more than donning the generic armor of maisera. Aalin wasn’t ready to hear that, though. That night she just needed to feel like she belonged, and all that perfume was a part of the uniform.

‘They’re just men,’ I soothed as she chewed on her lip and smoothed her dress over and over again. ‘And they’re mostly drunk men. They want to be pleased. And they’ll be excited to see a new girl.’ I tucked a lock of wiry hair back into her updo.

‘I don’t think I know how to be sexy,’ she admitted in a small voice. ‘I thought I did, but now that I’m standing here…’

Continue reading…

The blurb for Her Dark Reflection

“They called me the Whore Queen. Some even called me the Evil Queen. But they could call me whatever they wanted. I was still queen.”

Rhiandra Tiercelin hungers for power and her charm has always been her sharpest weapon in hunting it. So when a brutal attack leaves her physically scarred, desperation drives her to make a deal with Draven, a magic-wielding stranger who is inexplicably compelling and definitely dangerous. She knows she can’t trust him, but he when he offers to make her a queen, the temptation is too enticing to resist.

Armed with a glamoured face and an enchanted apple, Rhiandra is determined to scheme her way into a crown, even if it means risking the deadly punishment for unsanctioned magic use. But Draven is playing a bigger game, and she is just one piece on the board.

Can she keep her wits about her long enough to uncover his secrets, or will he lure her down a path she will come to regret?

Her Dark Reflection is the first book in a new dark romantic fantasy series perfect for fans of Raven Kennedy, Jennifer Armentrout and Sarah A. Parker. If you like cunning, ambitious heroines, morally ambiguous men and romance that toes the line between love and hate, then you’ll love Hailey Jade’s dark reimagining of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

The author, Hailey JadeAbout the author, Hailey Jade

Hailey Jade has tried to quit writing, but alas, the characters who live in her head will not stop yammering. She’s hoping that building them ink-and-paper homes will make them pipe down long enough for her to get some sleep. She likes creating fantasy worlds populated by complicated, morally-grey characters who try to resist their attraction to other complicated, morally-grey characters, but who inevitably fall in love, because everyone needs a Happily Ever After.

Hailey has completed a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Teaching at Flinders University, and spends her daylight hours trying to convince reluctant teenagers to love books. She lives in regional South Australia with her partner, bouncy baby boy, and feline overlord.

Hailey Jade | Amazon | Instagram | Goodreads | Newsletter

Her Dark Reflection is available on Amazon for Kindle and in paperback (and is available through Kindle Unlimited), and don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads To Be Read list!

Book tour organised by R&R Book Tours

Her Dark Reflection Blog Tour Banner

This book review is part of a book tour organised by Shannon of R&R Book Tours. Check out the other bloggers taking part in this book tour for more reviews, extracts and guest posts:

June 27th

June 28th

June 29th

June 30th

July 1st