Rebecca's Reviews > Lady of Palenque : Flower of Bacal, Mesoamerica, A.D. 749

Lady of Palenque  by Anna Kirwan
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's review
Apr 05, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: arc, diaries, historical-fiction

ShahnaK'in Yaxchel Pacal, or Green Jay on the Wall, is a thirteen-year-old Mayan princess in the year 749 AD. As the daughter of the king of Lakahma, she has been chosen to marry the king of another Mayan kingdom, a man much older than her. Green Jay begins a diary upon learning of her future, and describes the home she grew up in, the customs of her people, her long journey to the land ruled over by her future husband, and the many dangers faced along the way.

I have read The Royal Diaries series since I was a young teenager, and truly enjoyed most of the books in the series. However, I really struggled with this book. I thought it would be interesting to learn about the culture of the lost Mayan civilization through the eyes of a young girl. However, the author tried too hard to give the narrator a distinct voice, rather then writing in a more modern style, and as a result the "diary" felt very detached and impersonal, making it difficult to care about the main character or what happened to her. The details of Mayan life didn't feel very smoothly integrated, and it was difficult to keep all the characters straight due to the confusing names the author used. I am older than the intended audience for this book, and even I had a hard time with it - preteens and young teenagers would probably find the book even more confusing.

I would only recommend this book to the most devoted fans of The Royal Diaries who want to read every book in the series for completion. The author did do her research quite well and put a lot of work into the book (hence the two stars instead of one), but ultimately I think the style she chose to write the book in was a poor choice, especially given it was written for young readers.
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