I got a copy of the advanced reader copy (ARC) for The Robe of Skulls by Vivian French at the Texas Library Association Annual Convention in Dallas this year.
The cover is fantastic! And the title is glamorous and treacherous all at once. But onto the book.
Lady Lamorna wants a new dress, a robe of skulls, so she orders one made for herself. Unfortunately, after the order is placed, she discovers that she doesn't have any gold to pay for the dress. She hatches a plan to secretly transform area princes into frogs and blackmail their parents in order to restore the royals to human form. She doesn't count on Gracie Gillypot (great name!), Marlon the bat or a rather un-prince-like prince to foil her plans.
A very different kind of fairy tale, the story races along, shifting focus from one character to another throughout the book. The characters are all well-developed. Genuine laughs and true thrills abound. And the character Foyce, Gracie's stepsister, is one of the meanest, most cunning characters I have met in a long time.
I enjoyed The Robe of Skulls. Highly entertaining and quick to read, it should be enjoyed by any readers who appreciate fairy tales.