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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
A Maiden of Snakes is a young adult fantasy novel by Jane McGarry. Marchioness Adeleta Lamberico of Monferrato has spent the last three years trying to conceive a child but to no avail. Feeling desperate, she enlists the help of the village witch Imelda, which results in her giving birth to a child with a snake wrapped around her neck. Soon after Biancabella is born, her mysterious twin sister Samaritana disappears, appearing years later to shower Biancabella with unique gifts. Bonded by magic and sisterly love, Biancabella and Samaritana's relationship turns sour when Biancabella leaves her sister after marrying King Jaco of Naples. But tragedy strikes and Biancabella finds herself on the brink of death after a terrible betrayal. Will she ever be able to reunite with Samaritana again and restore her rightful place?
Inspired by an old Italian fairy tale, A Maiden of Snakes is about the unbreakable bond of sisterhood and rising from the throes of death. This dark fantasy novel is soaked in myth, magic, and lore. Jane McGarry's narrative carries a lot of emotional weight, primarily due to the well-developed characters and the relationships between them. Biancabella and Samaritana's connection feels genuine as they behave like real twin sisters who share a bond like no other. I also enjoyed the dynamic between Biancabella and Jaco. The incorporation of magical elements brings a sense of mystery and intrigue to the story, which elevates the reading experience. This is a thoroughly entertaining tale fantasy lovers are bound to enjoy.