Rumaysa: Ever After by Radiya Hafiza, illustrated by Rhaida El Touny

Publication Date: 28 April 2022

The Blurb

Return to a Once Upon a Time where anything is possible . . . Rumaysa: Ever After is the enchanting sequel to Radiya Hafiza’s Rumaysa: A Fairytale – a gorgeously empowering and funny story that spins the classic fairytale to show that anyone can be a hero.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fiercest one of all?

Ever since she escaped her tower, Rumaysa has been searching the land, far and wide, determined to find her long lost parents. But after she receives a mysterious invitation from Saira White, Queen of Bishnara, she is soon pulled into a dark, magical adventure, that threatens her own happily ever after…

The Review

Following the delightful first book, Rumaysa: Ever After picks up our heroine’s story as she searches for her heart’s desire – her family and a place to call home. Once again, we journey far, far away to a world of magic, mythical beasts and reimagined fairy-tales for a new generation of girls who aren’t prepared to sit back and wait to be rescued.

Rumaysa has settled into the role of helping others before herself, using her magic only when necessary. I love that she is by turn confident, clumsy, headstrong and unsure. Her desire to see the best in everyone, even when presented with evidence to the contrary, shows that she hasn’t allowed the cruelty shown to her by Cordelia settle into her and be reflected back onto the people she meets as she is whisked from one person in need to the next.

Radiya brings the world in which Rumaysa journeys through bursting to life with colour, scents and tastes to tantalise the imagination. Whether it’s a dark forest, abandoned hut or bejewelled palace, every setting provides the perfect backdrop for the cast of reimagined well-known characters and beasts. Rhaida’s glorious illustrations bring the settings and characters to life. capturing the mood of the story perfectly.

Issues around beauty and nature versus nurture are skilfully discussed without ever detracting from the magical adventure Rumaysa finds herself entwined in. And, I am delighted to have another hijab-wearing hero to ensure that every child can see themselves reflected back at them through the pages of a book.

Huge thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books for sending me a copy for review and inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Do make sure you check out all of the other stops.

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