Amanda Valentine's Reviews > Aurelia

Aurelia by Anne Osterlund
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May 04, 12

Read in February, 2012

Aurelia feels like a logical stepping stone between the princess stories of Gail Carson Levine and adult novels of romance and intrigue. In many ways, Aurelia is a typical princess from stories like this—she chafes against authority, she thinks she’s less beautiful than her golden younger sister, the common people love her, and she’s smarter and more competent than most of the people around her even though her primary responsibility is to shut up and marry whomever her father chooses. However, she’s also the target of several failed assassination attempts. Robert, her childhood friend and son of the King’s former spy, returns to investigate.

Horses play a large role in the book—bloodlines and training of horses serve as vital clues to solving the mystery. The horse-crazy 12 year old in me enjoyed the descriptions of the horses and the way they were almost characters.

I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t love it. It’s Osterlund’s first novel, and I could almost read the notes she’d taken from a writing class. Her writing feels like she worked really hard at it and the result is solid. It just doesn’t quite feel natural yet. Some sections were slightly hard to follow due to phrasing, although I didn’t miss anything critical. It just pulled me out of the flow sometimes. Younger readers might find some of it frustrating, or perhaps they won’t even notice. I’ll probably eventually get around to reading more novels from this series, and I’d expect that the text will improve as she gets more comfortable writing.

For a full review, please see http://reads4tweens.com/aurelia/ (caution: spoilers!)
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