**spoiler alert** I spent so much of this book writing rude comments in the margins, which I have to be pretty frustrated to do. But - the levels of s...more**spoiler alert** I spent so much of this book writing rude comments in the margins, which I have to be pretty frustrated to do. But - the levels of stupid reached by the main character... it's not Bella Swan, but she's pretty stupid.
My favorite moment coming when Cecelia has a long paragraph of back and forth thinking - should she head towards the home of the knight who has protected and educated her all her life? where, as she explicitly says, she will feel safe? (keep in mind, this is LESS THAN AN HOUR after armed men on horseback stormed her house and would have captured or killed her had she not snuck out to tell her best friend her secret identity - because, you see, she was SO SCARED FOR HER LIFE SHE WANTED TO EXPLAIN WHY SHE MIGHT TURN UP DEAD SOON.) Or should she head towards the capital, where she has never been before, with only her friend to help her, so she can inform Princess Desmia that she, Cecelia, is here to take her rightful throne and Desmia can go away now?
So, logically, she decides to be noble and go to the capital to SAVE DESMIA FROM THE DANGERS OF PRETENDING TO BE THE PRINCESS.
OH MY GOD MARGARET PETERSON HADDIX. THE GIRL IS SUPPOSED TO BE 14 AND WELL EDUCATED. NOT A COMPLETE MORON.
The entitlement complex just WAFTING off the page made the book hard to stomach, but I bulled through because I wanted to see how it connected to her earlier Cinderella retooling, Just Ella, which I just might retroactively subtract a star from, because it somehow spawned this.
Well, Ella shows up, having braved a long journey across enemy territory to join her fiancee because she missed him (and, of course, because she must have known that peace between the two countries would never come about unless SHE was there to make it happen), at which point she immediately became BFF with Princess Desmia, who quickly told Ella all her secrets and fears. So Ella then helps convince Cecelia and Desmia that they should work together, despite the fact that they are, technically, competing for the same throne.
Oh, right, did I mention the 11 other girls who all claim to be the TRUE PRINCESS?!
And, finally, it turns out that none of them are the TRUE PRINCESS, because the TRUE PRINCESS died when the king and queen were murdered. So in the three days it took her to die, the queen - INSTEAD OF, I DON'T KNOW, SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION OR WHATEVER - adopted THIRTEEN INFANTS and sent all of them off with loyal knights, telling ALL THIRTEEN KNIGHTS that they were caring for the TRUE PRINCESS. BECAUSE THAT COULD NOT IN ANY WAY COME BACK TO BITE THE ENTIRE COUNTRY COLLECTIVELY ON THE ASS.
THE MORE I THINK ABOUT THIS BOOK THE ANGRIER I GET.
And then the book ends with ALL THIRTEEN PRINCESSES RULING THE COUNTRY. TOGETHER. THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH CAPITAL LETTERS IN THE WORLD FOR THIS BOOK.
THIRTEEN FOURTEEN YEAR OLD PRINCESSES IN CHARGE OF A COUNTRY THAT WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF A BLOODY WAR. BUT IT'S ALL OKAY NOW.
A great story. I've heard comparisons between Hale and Gail Carson Levine, who I swear by, and I finally decided to get around to Ms. Hale. I do see t...moreA great story. I've heard comparisons between Hale and Gail Carson Levine, who I swear by, and I finally decided to get around to Ms. Hale. I do see the similarities, but Hale's stories are more grounded in reality than Levine's, though both have fantasy elements. Miri's talents are her own, and are presented as a natural talent, rather than something magical or unusual, like Ella's (of my beloved Ella Enchanted).
A good, solid read, with strong themes of identity, priorities, and community. It certainly falls into the category of "kids" books that adults would enjoy as well.
The third person narration style felt a bit more detached than Ella, but my connection with Miri was strong, and I felt her relief when she realized she wasn't useless.
Very well written, and I enjoyed it enough to run out and buy another book by Hale the very next day.(less)
I technically cheated, and only read one of the stories in this book - but it's the title one, so it mostly kind of counts.
Kind of charming and a litt...moreI technically cheated, and only read one of the stories in this book - but it's the title one, so it mostly kind of counts.
Kind of charming and a little quirky. I completely get the comparisons to The Ordinary Princess, but I like Kaye's take much, much better. The Light Princess herself (did she have a name? have I forgotten it already?) was a bit of a... bitch? caricature? very boring and unlikeable main character?
The story was cute, I guess. Other reviewers seem to like some of the other stories better, so maybe I'll check those out next.(less)
Beautiful photographs, excellent text, very well put together. The illustrations are well labeled, explained, and connected to the topic being discuss...moreBeautiful photographs, excellent text, very well put together. The illustrations are well labeled, explained, and connected to the topic being discussed in the text - always a sticking point for me. They did a great job of putting a picture taken during the reign of the Romanovs next to a contemporary photo of the same thing.(less)
**spoiler alert** The Usual: Grandmere is crazy! Mia is oblivious to the people around her! Everyone else is telling Mia things she should have been a...more**spoiler alert** The Usual: Grandmere is crazy! Mia is oblivious to the people around her! Everyone else is telling Mia things she should have been able to figure out herself! Throw downs in the lunch room! Mia freaks out! Mia blindsides someone she cares about! In a public way! Secret guy communication! Mia can only count on Fat Louie! Unrealistic email systems, often confused with instant messaging! Lilly makes odd dating choices! Tina squees! Corn! Chili! Chili without corn!
The Unusual: A glaring lack of Moscovitzs! Two distinct styles of Mia freakouts! Therapy (finally)! Ancient manuscripts! Bra shopping with Lana?
The Verdict: It certainly felt like the penultimate in a series, which is both good and bad. I'm dying for the final one now (of course), because it will be interesting to see how she finally brings it all together. And whether she does a Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows style epilogue. WITH MARRIAGE AND BABIES! (Not that I am occasionally a Tina-esque fangirl when it comes to this series. Not at all.)
When I go too long between PD readings, I forget just how big a teenager Mia is. In the sense that sometimes I want to shake her, and point out that as impressive as public declarations of ... ahem... can be, other people matter, as do their opinions. Nothing like grabbing those reins and... right. Horse metaphor. Nothing like taking hundreds of years of history and upending them in a fit of pique.
But the worst part is that I think it's supposed to be an empowering move, not a childish one. Oh, Meg.
I also forget how much I like Lars. I would read that spin off.(less)
Two wacky teenage royals, forced by their parents into an engagement, and, oh, they can read each other's minds. Kind of. Throw in an alternate univer...moreTwo wacky teenage royals, forced by their parents into an engagement, and, oh, they can read each other's minds. Kind of. Throw in an alternate universe or two, two completely different styles of magic resulting in two completely different ways of life, and a big bad, and it's a fun, slightly out-there read for middle readers who like historical fantasy.(less)
The stories are fascinating and (occasionally) titillating, and all the better because they're true. But the organization of the book killed me. If sh...moreThe stories are fascinating and (occasionally) titillating, and all the better because they're true. But the organization of the book killed me. If she had gone chronologically or geographically, it would have made much more sense. Instead, she went by vague themes, which meant that many royal consorts (the one that comes to mind is Madame Pompadour) popped up all over the book, and far enough apart that it was easy to forget what I'd already learned about them. Otherwise, a very good book.
An update: I'm rereading in 2014 (now with some additional years and context under my belt) and I'm a little disconcerted by the underlying thread of misogyny that keeps surfacing. For instance, page 57:
""It is easier to make peace in Europe than between two women," lamented Louis XIV in the 1670s. History, before and after the Sun King, proved him correct."
That one just happened to be at the beginning of where I picked up today, it's certainly not the first one to bring my progress to a halt in the last 56 pages. Earlier in the book, she casually described an English king's mistress as "raping" the treasury. I'm not sure that word means what you think it means, Ms. Herman.
The stories are still interesting, but I think I'd prefer my history with less of a "bitches be crazy" tone. I'm dropping my rating from 5 stars to 3, and the author is officially on notice.
Oh, and the organization is still terrible. (less)
I got half-way through, and suddenly wondered why I was still reading the book. Or, for that matter, why I was only half-way through the book - the st...moreI got half-way through, and suddenly wondered why I was still reading the book. Or, for that matter, why I was only half-way through the book - the story should have been over much, much earlier than it was.
Also... someone pointed this out to me after, and now it's all I can think about in regards to the book. Anne Boleyn spent her childhood and some of her teens in the French court, yet Gregory has Mary, who grew up in the English court, explaining how to give a blow job. Not only was it something I never needed to read, but I don't believe it. And that's that.(less)
I loved this biography. It spans several generations, covering the last century of the Romanovs, both before and after the Revolution. Well written, w...moreI loved this biography. It spans several generations, covering the last century of the Romanovs, both before and after the Revolution. Well written, with a lot of interesting material to work with, this is my favorite book on the Romanovs as a clan.(less)
Less a history book and more a thesis. Shay McNeal is trying to prove her theory that some of the Romanovs did, in fact, survive, and it was in part b...moreLess a history book and more a thesis. Shay McNeal is trying to prove her theory that some of the Romanovs did, in fact, survive, and it was in part because of the Secret Plot to Save the Tsar. Interesting, but I don't believe it.(less)
One of my all-time favorite books, and one I reread regularly. When Princess Amethyst is born, her (slightly creepy) agreeableness prompts the oldest...moreOne of my all-time favorite books, and one I reread regularly. When Princess Amethyst is born, her (slightly creepy) agreeableness prompts the oldest and crankiest of the fairies to give her the gift of ordinariness. And what a gift! Amy's fate suddenly takes a sharp turn, which results in mistaken identities, dragons, fake portraits, jewelry made from trees, and grandly named woodland animals.
Charming, quirky, and one of those rare books that presents a fully-formed world quite removed from our own. A must read for anyone who likes fairy tales, or seeing fairy tales turned on their head.(less)