Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Elske (Kingdom, Book 4)” as Want to Read:
Elske (Kingdom, Book 4)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Elske (Tales of the Kingdom #4)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  1,157 ratings  ·  102 reviews
Now in a handsome trade paperback edition comes the dramatic conclusion to the Kingdom sequence. Thirteen-year-old Elske escapes rape and certain death at the hands of the leaders of her barbaric society and later becomes handmaiden to a rebellious noblewoman, whose rightful throne together they reclaim.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 1st 2001 by Simon Pulse (first published October 1st 1999)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Elske, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Elske

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,933)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
To be clear, Elske is the fourth book in Cynthia Voigt's loosely tied together series called The Kingdom. The other three (Jackaroo, Wings of a Falcon and On Fortune's Wheel) are all set in the Kingdom that Beriel hails from, while Elske is set in Trastad, a small country to the north of The Kingdom. You don't need prior knowledge of the other books, except perhaps to understand the truth behind the 'legends' that Beriel mentions. The legend of Jackaroo for instance is covered in depth in the bo ...more
Yawn. Voigt is skillful, but this book felt like a combination of Redwall-esque obsessions (gowns and tankards of ale, kingdoms and guilds), wannabe girl-power, and a sort of steamy romance novel without the romance. Elske's character was both fearless and humorless, making her flat and unsympathetic. We're told that most of the male characters want to marry her or otherwise install her in their bed, maybe because she doesn't want them back? We're told that she's proud and skillful with babies. ...more
I think this is Voight's best book. It's like a beautiful fairy tale.

(NOTE: you do not have to read the other Kingdom books to read this - it stands alone)

I've found that some of Voight's other books tend to drag on and cause me to loose interest in the characters and their challenges. I think her writing can sometimes be a bit too removed when what I really want to know is how the characters feel and what they are thinking. This book is more focused. From cover to cover it is a joy to read. Els
Really Elske you are just dull. Yes your earing is enchanting but you're just dull. Maybe in another time, another place. But not today. I'm sorry.

Elske is the story of a girl who grows up in a barbaric wolf man society. She officially belongs to the king and when he dies, she will be sent into his tomb and will be abused by wild men, then burned alive with the dead kings body. It's put in more tactfully in the book but that's basically the deal. Ya I know. Yuck. So her grandmother takes her pla
Ugh. Dry, dry, dry.

I found this and read it because I'd remembered liking Jackaroo (the first in the Kingdom books) so much as a kid. But either because my perceptions were a lot different then, or that was just a better book, Elske did not live up to my expectations.

The book does depict a cleverly imagined kingdom, and the various nations and people within peaked my interest. But almost everything else -- Elske, Beriel the future queen, their adventures (or lack thereof), and the brief descript
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elske escapes the cruel, savage Wolfer society of her birth, and takes up a position as servant in a merchant town. There she is swept up in the world of a difficult and cold princess who is in desperate need.

I wanted to like this, because I do love Voigt, but ... it's not anything special. It's set in the same world as Jackaroo, On Fortune's Wheel and The Wings of a Falcon, and the protagonist's grandmother, Tamara, seems to have been a character in one of the other books, but I can't remember
I give two stars for the superb use of words and unique writing along with the world building. However, the story lacks heart and more importantly it lacks an ability to make me care about the characters. What Jackaroo had, this story doesn't. I thought the themes of abortion, poor taste, as well as the many times rape was mentioned as the cultures way of life. I understand that this is a barbaric society, I just don't want to read about it when I care nothing for the motives nor did I think it ...more
I didn't realize this was the fourth book in a series, until I came to Goodreads to add it. So, I guess that means that, for the most part, the story stands by itself well enough. There were some references to Jackaroo at the end that rather puzzled me - and now that I know that the first book in the series was called Jackaroo, that makes a bit more sense.

The book drew me in with the character of Elske. Beriel, on the other hand, mostly annoyed me. In some ways, the story reminds me of the book
As I was reading this, I felt very detached from the characters, especially Elske, from whose POV the story was being told. I also felt like something in the pacing was off, that too much time was spent on some things (like setting the scene in Trasdad - it takes about 100 pages before we finally get to the main event, her service to Beriel) and not enough on others - for instance, the romances, squeezed in at the end, didn't feel believable at all.

That being said, this book did have a very capt
The last book in the series. And like the last one - this starts completely differently. This book begins with Elske, a child of the Wolfers. She has been raised by her grandmother, a woman stolen by the Wolfers, and freed by the sacrifice of her grandmother to the big unknown world.

Elske has a worldview that matches no one. She is without most of the angst and neurosis of main characters. Instead, she simply lives her life as it unfolds - without guile and remorse. And because of that she finds
Katie M.
Bah. I adore Cynthia Voigt on principle. But this one just didn't do it for me... dark and grim with a weirdly happy ending, it was full of stereotypical "ethnic" clans and mostly unlikeable characters. I couldn't muster up much emotional investment in anyone, not even Elske. Give me On Fortune's Wheel any day over this one.
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Gosh, I love Cynthia Voigt's books so much...and I just didn't like this one. I don't think this is her genre--it's like a Conan the Barbarian fantasy complete with made up peoples and made up places. Heroic fantasy, is that what they call it? The heroine, Elske, starts the story as the Death Maiden attending at the king's funeral. It's her job to be raped by all the king's top-ranked warriors, then be buried with the king to serve him in the afterlife. What kind of servant that might make her i ...more
Elske is a delightful tale of two strong heroines, the title character and the queen she eventually serves, Beriel of the Kingdom. The travels Elske undertakes, first when she leaves the Volkaric and her fate as Death Maiden and walks to the city of Trastad, then as she sails with Beriel to the port of Pericol and thence to the Kingdom, highlight Voigt’s worldbuilding talent—she describes distinct cultures vividly as Elske encounters them. Elske herself is a fascinating character, with a brutal, ...more
Although a young adult novel, this read as well as any adult literature. The story of an adolescent girl, Elske, who's grandmother gives her life so that Elske can escape their heathen clan to find a life among the civilized Tradsters in a village to the north. Here, Elske learns a different way of life, weighing it against the customs and traditions she has grown up with, and uses her knowledge to her benefit to eventually serve as handmaiden to a would-be queen. As she continues to learn from ...more
I first read this in 2003, after learning it was a conclusion to one of my favorite series as a teenager. The genre is fantasy only in the made-up medieval "Kingdom" setting; think wooded journeys and Robin Hood figures, and that's what I loved it for. I reread this now because I wanted to give it as a gift to Amy, and I was curious to revisit its themes. The first time, I was stunned by it being one of the most overtly feminist novels I'd ever read -- and for teenagers.

It is, producing not one
I read this book for the first time in my teens, drawn to it by the cover (who really thinks that judging a book by the cover is a bad thing?). I remembered loving it, so I picked it up at the library last month and I had to read it twice before returning it. And THEN I bought it, just in case I wanted to pull it off the shelf some random evening.

It is a story about Elske, the death maiden (essentially the virgin sacrifice to the Volkaric king) when he dies. She grows up among the Volkaric, a b
Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌
I read Elske a long long while back, and through the years, though I had forgotten the name, author and such, I never forgot how the plot of this story, and how wonderful it was reading it. I finally rediscovered this book after exhausting various search engines, joining dodgy websites, and asking around.

Reading this book, it hit me all over again how dear it is to me (despite only having it read one time before) and why it was so memorable. It's quite a breathtaking journey, and, like one revie

Interspersed with gentle references to the mythical protagonist of a previous novel, JACKAROO, this story continues Voight's predilection for resourceful heroines. Set in an unspecified medieval world of fictitious geography this book presents a very young heroine who barely escapes rape and immolation as the chosen Death Maiden among the heartless Volkaric horde. Raised as a Wolfer this daughter of a gentler clime and culture avoids both fates thanks to the wisely int
With immense power and compassion, Cynthia Voigt, Newbery Medalist, depicts the quests of two extraordinary young women. As Elske seeks to find her true self and Beriel battles to reclaim what is rightfully hers, both discover the value, and the price, of reaching the journeys end.

The fourth book in Cynthia Voigts Kingdom series. Elske offers a heroine who is very much her own person. Even though Elske has been chosen to be the Death Maiden of the Volkking, she escapes to begin life. Elske make
I'm sad to be leaving this series behind. I've really enjoyed the "this is how myths are made" themes throughout and watching the events of one book become the legends of the next has been a LOT of fun.

And while there's no real reason that the series couldn't continue since each book is only loosely connected anyway, this volume ends with a epilogue that summarizes the next couple hundred years of Kingdom history, which in my mind is Voigt's way of saying "I'm not writing any more of these books
Jessica Rawden
The other two books I read from Cynthia Voight's Kingdom series, I recommended for ages 12 and up. However, the Elske book is a little different. It spans topics including racism, rape, the idea of incest, abortion, and pre-marital sex. While these ideas are explained and not presented in a pro or negative light, they are present, and children might have questions. Elske has to travel from one Kingdom to the next, eventually landing in The Kingdom. Her experiences are unique to the series, but a ...more
Feb 17, 2010 Carolynne rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Melody; CLM; Becky
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amelia Rockliff
This is one of my all-time favourite books. Elske is a super strong character, and so is her eventual mistress. Strong women rock. And just to be clear, the goodreads cover is AWFUL and not representative of the book at all. This is the cover I read it with, and the cover that speaks for the book much more, has Elske naked but draped in a blue cloak standing in a small boat on a lake at night. Badass.
Sheer impulse buy because I love the Vermeer painting on the cover and like the author. Apparently this is part of a series written by this author- though it stood alone quite fine. The story has stronf medieval overtones- and it's kind of surprising to realize the lands talked about aren't on any map of our world. It is the story of a very strong young girl, who withthe help of a strong and cunning grandmother, escapes a fated death to seek a new life in a new world. She is independent, intelli ...more
Natalie Joan
Definitely darker than the other two, but yet not as interesting somehow. I liked the characters and storyline, but not enough to really be invested in them.
Having finished the 'Kingdom' series, my short-term obsession having rediscovered Ms. Voight seems to be at least temporarily satisfied.
The main character was very sympathetic in my taste, so I enjoyed this book more than the last. Beriel drove me INSANE the entire book, so that was a damper, but I loved Elske. I'm REALLY surprised these books were found in my library's children section, not even YA section because all the main characters are of marrying age for their culture (mid-late teens) and someone is always "bedded" at some point (before or after marriage, or even by rape...although never graphically portrayed, fortunatel ...more
Like my Voigt favorite "On Fortune's Wheel", "Elske" has tuned out to be a completely engrossing fantasy story, set in the same cruel and barbaric world, but anchored some generations later. I liked "On Fortune's Wheel" a little better, maybe because there was a little more romance sprinkled in - although both books clearly do not aim at being called a love-story.

While I was inhaling "Elske" I was continuously eager to turn the next page and very reluctant to close the book in order to do unnes
I began this story wondering if the Kingdom, going into the sixth generation since Gwyn and Burl in Jackaroo, would still be in stasis. Thank goodness it was not - that would have broken my willing suspension of belief altogether. This book, the last, seemed to cleave more to history than to legend, which makes sense given the changing times. Elske, the cover claimed, found a self. I didn't see it: the whole way she was a placard of a main character. Beriel annoyed me from the moment she stepped ...more
2003-I guess I would have to call this book ""historical fantasy."" When I read the book, I was unaware that is was part of a larger series, or for that matter if any of the cultures portrayed were parts of actual ancient cultures. That said, Elske is the story of a young girl who escapes the ""Wolfers"", a barbaric band of people. She eventually ends up in Trastad, where she makes contact with a women rumored to be a queen, Beriel. I disliked Beriel, and felt that after Elske met her, that the ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 64 65 next »
  • The Changeling Prince
  • Hero's Song (The Songs of Eirren, #1)
  • The Sunbird (The Lion Hunters, #3)
  • The Books of Great Alta  (Great Alta, #1-2)
  • The Raging Quiet
  • The God Stalker Chronicles (Kencyrath, #1-2)
  • The Kestrel (Westmark #2)
  • Time's Edge (Time's Edge, #1)
  • The Wizard, the Witch, and Two Girls from Jersey
  • Waters Luminous and Deep
  • The Wolf and the Raven (Wodan's Children #1)
  • Children of the Sea, Volume 2 (Children of the Sea, #2)
  • Seaward
  • Time Enough for Drums
  • The Raven Ring (Lyra, #5)
  • Switchers (Switchers, #1)
  • The Dream-Maker's Magic (Safe-Keepers, #3)
Cynthia Voigt is an American author of books for young adults dealing with various topics such as adventure, mystery, racism and child abuse.

Angus and Sadie: the Sequoyah Book Award (given by readers in Oklahoma), 2008
The Katahdin Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Anne V. Zarrow Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Margaret Edwards Award, for a body of work, 1995
Jackaroo: Ratte
More about Cynthia Voigt...

Other Books in the Series

Tales of the Kingdom (4 books)
  • Jackaroo (Tales of the Kingdom, #1)
  • On Fortune's Wheel (Tales of the Kingdom, #2)
  • The Wings of a Falcon (Tales of the Kingdom, #3)
Homecoming (Tillerman Cycle, #1) Dicey's Song (Tillerman Cycle, #2) A Solitary Blue (Tillerman Cycle, #3) Jackaroo (Tales of the Kingdom, #1) Izzy, Willy-Nilly

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »