Lovely first part of a trilogy.
Witches are bad, Royalty is good. What happens if Princess Nia and her Queen Mom are both witches? The Queen teaches Nia a little control of her witchcraft, but obviously the important thing is the upcoming ball where Princess Nia will choose a royal husband. No, obviously the important thing is that Nia sits in with the Royal Council as they wonder if a neighbor’s troop movements are a lead-up to war.
No, obviously the important part is when Nia used to explore the castle grounds when she was really little. She found a tiny gap where a tree root shifted the castle wall, just big enough for her and her huge dog. (Well, obviously the important part is where Nia loves her doggy.) Hoping for one last free night before it’s all gowns and more gowns, Nia sneaks out of the castle grounds and … almost gets killed, sees evidence of something weird , and sneaks back home so tired she forgets to wash off the mud. Oops.
Wait, obviously the important part is where the Princes are arrogant, bashful, silly, and … dog loving? That’s the one, Nia isn’t ready to commit to happily-ever-after but she knows she has to get married, so this is the one.
Then the war gets real, but Nia has zero bad-ass action skills. She sneaks out of the castle, out of her secret tree-route, finds the witches, organizes the resistance, and saves the day. Almost. Every castle has its traitors. Who can Nia trust?