** spoiler alert ** As reimaginings of fairy tales go, this was very fun. The idea of Red Riding Hood as the wolf isn’t a new one, but it’s done here very well with a deeply flawed protagonist who is increasingly self-aware of her shortcomings and seeks to remedy them and seek forgiveness and redemption. Princess Ava is very believable as a princess raised to be cold, calculating, and cruel by her power-hungry father and who only begins to realize how limited those characteristics really are when she’s on the run and has to make friends and allies. Less believable is the unwavering loyalty and undying love of her personal bodyguard, Hans, who believes in her capacity for good long before she believes it herself, and before she’s really demonstrated it. But their romance is very sweet and helps pull the book along, and Hans is such a good guy, if he wants to marry a semi-evil princess, then all power to him.
Since it was listed as a stand-alone book, I read this one before reading the first book in the series. The plot still made sense, but in zero ways is this a stand-alone book. Half of the characters are from the first one, and they reference the events from the first book constantly. So beware. But, upside, both books are available for free on Kindle Unlimited.