The Salamander Spell may be the fifth volume in Tales of the Frog Princess, but it is also a prequel to the previous four novels in the series.
The storyline’s setting is Greater Greensward; the story itself occurs long before Princess Emma is born. Emma’s relatives, i.e. the royal family, are portrayed in their youth and their temperaments are described in greater detail. Emma’s Aunt Grassina is the heroine this time instead of Emma, and it is a pleasure to compare Grassina’s determination and intelligence with her niece’s. E.D. Baker conclusively answers questions regarding certain characters and events briefly mentioned in this novel’s predecessors, e.g. how Grassina and Haywood first met.
Teenage Grassina and Chartreuse are siblings only a few years apart in age, but they have completely different personalities. However, they both desire to become the future Green Witch, the most powerful position in Greater Greensward. Obviously, the sisters have varying talents in magic, and Grassina laudably tries to endure Chartreuse’s conceit and inattention. Nevertheless, matters considerably worsen when their mother, Queen Olivene, becomes a victim of the family curse. Grassina then makes a bold decision which will affect her future forever. As usual, new magical creatures participate in Grassina’s adventures. For example, the author takes a closer look at werewolves and even a manticore. Humor and romance accompany the heroine’s quest for independence and appreciation which strengthen the bond between The Salamander Spell and the series it belongs to.
Original review: Part 5: ‘Tales of the Frog Princess’, Examiner.com