“Every action has endless ripples no one can see.”
This is Starla Huchton’s fourth “Flipped Fairy Tale.” Each book has a different classic fairy tale as inspiration and stands on its own as a complete story, but this one does heavily reference events and characters from the third book. Better not to start reading here.
The Flipped Fairy Tales series presents imaginative retellings of well known fairy tale stories. The signature gender-swapping of the main characters is more than just a hook: it’s a strong springboard that provides great opportunity to explore these stories in new ways. The way everything is coming together in Huchton’s world is incredible, and her smooth, evocative writing style makes it easy to get caught up in it all. The descriptions of everything from the world around them to action as it happens are captivating.
Dust in the Desert tells the story of a character introduced in book 3, Ride the Wind. It’s nice to see the little hints provided there expanded on, and as expected Alida is our Aladdin analogue. She’s simultaneously desperate and honorable, which is a powerful mix that makes her adventure enthralling.
What makes this book (and the whole series) so special is the depth of character and motivation the cast has. They feel like real people struggling through unreal situations, and it’s easy to empathize with them. Huchton makes each fairy tale fit seamlessly into her established universe while preserving its proper feel, and make clever tweaks and changes that make them feel fresh without losing the core elements readers expect.
I’m not going to get into further detail to avoid spoiling the enjoyment of discovering for yourself the wonderful spin Huchton’s put on Alida’s story, but I highly recommend taking the journey with her.