The Daughters of Despair


Loved it! 😍

A science fiction adventure with a feel of an old quest, and pokes some fun at the concept along the way.

Told as an oral history, The Daughters of Despair has various citizens living in the kingdom of Spinal as a historian attempts to piece together the whole picture of what exactly happened after the princess’s kidnapping. Government conspiracies, royal power plays, and Eldritch librarians comprise the world in which this story takes place. At the forefront are Princess Ruby herself and her hopeful rescuers: the Head Librarian Godspeed Nano, Prince Stoic the wannabe Prince Charming, and mercenary with a good heart Malevolent Cash. All characters have one goal in mind, although their paths meet up in ways they never expected.

At first it was a little difficult to follow along since the point of view changed every couple of paragraphs, but it didn’t take long to understand the story’s flow. Its oral history format made it feel like I was reading a podcast script. The author inserted labels to show who was talking, though even without them each character was so unique it was easy to determine who had the lead at the moment. The large variety of characters makes it even more interesting as they range from ordinary citizens to the highest levels of royalty in this world. It feels that these seemingly random people are all connected in the event they are reiterating.

One enjoyable aspect was hearing how the characters kept making fun of the ever classic fairy tale trope of a prince rescuing a princess. They even admit to making Ruby’s story into a new fairy tale to build up people’s spirits while others describe the reality of sending an underprepared person on a potentially dangerous quest. That latter part is not mentioned in most fairy tales so it was refreshing to actually see a story poke fun at it.

There was a small amount of foreshadowing, but the hints were so small they tended to be missable at some points and the big reveals are given shortly after. A bit more distance between the hints and the reveals would have made a greater impact on the story. Also, it tended to be repetitive at some points, sometimes it felt the characters just reworded their original response to say the exact same thing they said earlier.

Overall, this science fiction adventure is an intriguing one to read, especially with the format it makes the reader feel like they are in the story asking the questions, and likely make an incredible audiobook. Due to all these aspects, including the rather unique characters, I look forward to more works from Andrew Rivas from his Hourglass series.

Reviewed by

I have a BS in History and Anthropology and a Masters in Library and Information Science. When was working with a library’s Readers’ Advisory Board I wanted to find another way to connect with other book lovers.

The Night Of

About the author

Andrew Rivas is 32 and lives in New York. He writes books. view profile

Published on August 10, 2020

90000 words

Genre: Fantasy

Reviewed by