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Princess Ben

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  17,633 ratings  ·  1,331 reviews
"My gown suited me as well as I could ever hope, though I could not but envy the young ladies who would attract the honest compliments of the night. My bodice did not plunge as dramatically as some, and no man--no man I would ever want to meet, surely--could fit his hands round my waist. What I lacked in beauty I would simply have to earn with charm..."

Benevolence is n

Hardcover, 344 pages
Published March 18th 2008 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,633 ratings  ·  1,331 reviews

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Monica Edinger
Apr 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fairytale
Started to write this here and realized it was developed enough to be worth posting on my blog. So here is my post:

I’ve read, loved, studied, and taught fairy tales all my life. Every three years I co-teach a graduate school fairy tale course and, since 1990, I’ve been doing a Cinderella unit with my fourth graders. So I’m always interested in new versions of these old tales as well as original ones. At the same time, because many of these come up short for me, I am a wary reader of them, especi
Miss Clark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fairytale lovers
Recommended to Cara by: Valerie
Shelves: fantasy, fairy-tales
I have got to say this keep me up at night. Literally. The urge to read the last word was so great I forced my eyes to pry open. At first it was slow going, but that was understandable. We needed the whole background. I had mixed feelings going in because I had already gobbled and enjoyed reading Dairy Queen and The Off Season by the same author. This series has one of the best protagonist I've seen in young adult books, so my expectations were almost unreachable but I was pleased to find that I ...more
Brooke Shirts
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I remember something Diana Wynne Jones wrote that went something along the lines of this:

"In Fantasyland, a princess is either a

1. Wimp, or
2. Rebellious spunky swordswoman with a sprinkling of freckles across the bridge of her tip-tilted nose."

Needless to say, the rebellious-princess character has become something of a cliché. So it's quite refreshing when an author takes this setup (of an "ordinary princess" rejecting the frou-frou court, then escaping and having grand adventures) and can make
Dec 29, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sff, ya
This was really disappointing - I'm a huge fan of her Dairy Queen trilogy, so I was expecting to enjoy this. Unfortunately it has tons of enormous gaping plotholes, impossible characters, and a bad habit of showing something entirely different to what it tells. And the thing is - this was her third novel published (and, as far as I can tell, written), so she'd already done vastly superior work.

(view spoiler)
Apr 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I wish I could give half stars because this book deserves four and a half. As the inside jacket says, this isn't your ordinary fairy tale. Princess Ben (short for Benevolence), is a whiny, overweight, spirited girl who recently mourns the loss of her parents. Her country is threatened by a neighboring kingdom, who claim no part in the murdering of the king and Ben's parents. Orphaned, Ben is put under her strict aunt's wings, Queen Sophie. Completely miserable, locked up and starved until she ca ...more
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. First let me say that I'm not a fan of these realistic book covers, which seem to be all the rage recently. I much prefer the more artistic covers that allow me to imagine what the main character etc. look like. I'm also usually a little skeptical of fairy tale retellings because it seems that they can so easily go awry.

This one, however, did not. Yay! Murdock takes all the most familiar parts of the princess fairytales (the tower, the sleep-enchanted pri
Apr 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: green-covers
I found the heroine extremely childish and intolerable in the first 3 parts, but I suspect Murdock deliberately made her that way. However, I do not think Murdock meant her to be so unlikeable that readers would not be able to stomach her. I did not truly like Ben until the last part when she finally grows up and recognizes the purpose behind the "princess" lessons, her responsibilities as the sole heir to the kingdom. When she got over herself, acted less spoiled, and actually got some spunk. P ...more
Camly Nguyen
Jan 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Definitely could've been more exciting.
I feel like the author spent so much time trying to develop the main character that she just forgot about everything else. I expected perhaps a bit more magic and and bit less " I hate the queen so I'm going to be a little bitch". The writing just wasn't compelling and fun to read. It felt more like a badly writing diary which was a tad upsetting. The romance is hardly believable but since this book takes on a fairytale-ish side, I'll let it pass. Overall d
Jul 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
I really wish I could give this less than one star. This is probably the worst book I have ever read. I seriously don't think I can even review this properly because I am so dumbfounded by the stupidity of this book. It's written as if the Princess herself is writing her own memoir, and she keeps breaking in saying things like, "If I haven't yet addressed the matter of..." in order to explain certain parts of the world she has poorly built. Also, she repeatedly says, "I thought my situation coul ...more
Dec 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
I'm all for fairy tale romances and such, but Princess Ben falls short in so many ways. Murdock seems like she is attempting to write a unconventional heroine in the beginning of her novel, but Ben herself develops into such a bland character. Then again, she wasn't exactly a marvelously crafted character to begin with--she doesn't like to do anything but eat. She's got some serious eating disorder and eats her feelings, spends her time feeling sorry for herself (and later, practicing magic that ...more
I thought this book was rather charming and unique. I enjoyed Ben’s character, and reading about her many adventures. I thought she was easy to relate to because she wasn’t perfect, and things didn’t always turn out the way she wanted. It was fun to follow her progress throughout the book, as she turns from a somewhat spoiled girl to a Queen. I liked the concept of Prince Florian, but thought his character was underdeveloped. He didn’t really appear until about 200 pages and even then they barel ...more
Mar 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
I was really disappointed in this book. The premise is great. I was excited at the prospect of a protagonist who, while a princess, is not skinny and beautiful.

I was expecting something that would go against the "only the beautiful people get the guy" mindset so common in our society; however, the book did the absolute opposite, and it was only once she changed (lost weight, became more beautiful and ladylike and submissive, etc) that she was able to get the guy, earn respect, and save the day.
Jan 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
After reading Dairy Queen and The Off Season by this same author I really had no idea what to expect in this book. The transition to fantasy seemed easy. I still enjoyed this book after the second time I read it. I like Ben and enjoyed seeing her grow from a self-pitying but soft-hearted girl to a determined ruler.

I've always liked fairy-tales and if anything this book has made me like them even more. Ben is a dynamic protagonist. She was not raised as a real princess so she is more relatable. A
Samantha wickedshizuku Tolleson
Jun 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Young women, Feminists, Adventure lovers, Gail Carson Levine fans, Tamora Pierce fans
Recommended to Samantha wickedshizuku by: Fort Stewart Librarian
There was one quote that made this one on my favorites shelf, because lo and behold I look up and see this on the news after reading it.

 photo bush-shoe-throw-033_zpsbc774e13.gif

“With that, I hurled the slipper at him, not caring if I caused his decapitation. (I did not.) Marshaling what little dignity I yet possessed, I stomped down the corridor - challenging indeed with one shoe - and around the corner. I lay awake for hours. The prince had no right, not one, to indict me so, and if I had held the slightest hope of the book's ass
Nov 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Benevolence is the beloved only child of the royal family. When the king (her uncle) and the princess (her mother) are killed, Ben's life takes a terrible turn. No longer is she allowed the cozy, unpretentious, rough-and-tumble childhood she so enjoyed. Instead she must live in the palace with her aunt, the queen regent, who is so controlled and controlling that it nearly drives Ben mad. Her only solace is learning magic on the sly. After a disastrous ball, Ben embarks on an adventure by turns h ...more
Debbie Gascoyne
Feb 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, fantasy
Meh. Pretty standard medieval world fairy-tale-ish fantasy. Really had difficulty liking "Ben" or believing in the predictable relationship. Also found prissy, pseudo-formal voice really irritating.
Anna Koski
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great story about exploring ones self and discovering what truly matters in life.
Nov 30, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A princess locked in the tower who discovers magic? Sign me up! I was looking forward to start listening to this book. I wanted a fairy tale type of story that would be enjoyable. Unfortunately, this book was a disappointment.

The concept of the story was promising but the execution was poorly done. Benevolence, aka Ben, lost her parents and was then locked up in a tower. She soon discovered a secret room where she learned to control magic. Afterward, she ran away trying to avoid an arranged marr
Jul 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
(Genre:Teen Fiction/fantasy) I really enjoyed this fairy tale. It is about the adventures of the princess "Ben" (Benevolence). Princess Ben finds herself next in line for the throne of her kingdom after the unexpected and tragic death of the king (her uncle). Her mother perishes in the same incident as the king and Ben's father (the younger brother of the king) is missing. Queen Sophia (her aunt) turns Ben's life upside down as she strives to turn Ben into the future ruler. I really enjoyed Ben' ...more
Feb 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. Until the end, but I'll get to that later. I love novelizations of fairy tales, and this was a good one with a bit of a twist. It was part Sleeping Beauty, part Cinderella, with some Jack and the Bean Stalk thrown in for fun. I liked the old fashioned verbage and was glad I was reading on my Kindle which made looking up words a breeze (there were quite a few).
Princess Ben starts out a bit spoiled, but I like how her character develops through the story, and I think the
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Apr 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: youngadult, 6-8grade
This book both feels that it's for older readers -- some of the language is purposefully archaic or less familiar -- and very young -- the emotional twists and turns and the adversaries that Ben has to face are not earth-shattering, to say the least. It's a weird combination of very simple Tamora Pierce and Pride and Prejudice. The middle section of the story is fun and the last part is quite exciting but the set-up (80 odd pages of Part I) is a bit long and too leisure a pace, I feel. Definite ...more
Joan{missing the vampire bunny slippers!}
First of all I didn't finish this book.
Reading the blurb I thought it might be interesting, but the writing was too hard to follow and the whole diary thing got a bit tiring too.
The idea was there, the problem was with the execution.
It just didn't click for me and that's too bad.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Despite my dislike of these realistic (and totally inaccurate) covers, this book proved to be quite a delight.

Princess Ben isn't your run of the mill princess. She hasn't been trained for princessery, due to her mother's adamant stance against it, and only because her aunt proved to be barren and widowed does the throne fall to her. Still, she's powerless as well as being completely clumsy, unlikable, incompetent, and a glutton. And no, she's not the kind of oh-that's-so-cute, freckles across h
Dec 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of retold fairy tales
Aw, this book was super cute. My favorite part was the way it blends different fairy tales. The main narrative has elements of Sleeping Beauty, but along the way many others make appearances--but always with some kind of twist. Many of them are even gender-switched, and it's like Murdock KNEW that gender-switched fairy tales are my absolute favorite thing and wrote this book just to make me happy.

This book also contains a lot of positive messages for young girls. The heroine is smart, resourcefu
May 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This earned 5 stars from me! Princess Ben is a wonderful girl/young women empowerment book. The main reason is the fact that the author doesn't pound the reader over the head with the girl empowerment. Your average fairy tale tends to make the female leads rather pathetic. I haven't read the original Grimm versions lately but just one example that comes to mind is Rumplestiltskin (no idea how to spell that. . . .). Anyway, Princess Ben has all the parts of a great fairy tale. Dead mother, missin ...more
Jul 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Princess Ben short for Benevolence is orphaned after the assassinations of her uncle, the reining king, and her mother, her father’s body is not found. As the last remaining member of royal blood, Ben is forced to move into the castle and endure her aunt, Queen Sophia. Sophia insists that Ben act like the princess she should and insists that Ben learn to dance, sew, proper penmanship, and control her appetite. She later learns these "lessons" are to make her appealing to a suitor, so that the qu ...more
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had a hard time getting used to the style and the presentation as laid down in the first few chapters, but around chapter five the magic appeared and that is where things began to get interesting. What's more is that all of the spells and the artefacts (perhaps with the exception of the broom) were new to me, as was the use of the "secret passages" to aid Ben in moving about the castle.

But what I really liked, in reflection, were all of the "moral lessons" that Ben learned as she lived those t
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I grew up in small-town Connecticut, on a tiny farm with honeybees, two adventurous goats, and a mess of Christmas trees. My sister claims we didn’t have a television, but we did, sometimes – only it was ancient, received exactly two channels, and had to be turned off after 45 minutes to cool down or else the screen would go all fuzzy. Watching (or rather, “watching”) Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds ...more

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“Every fairy tale, it seems, concludes with the bland phrase "happily ever after." Yet every couple I have ever known would agree that nothing about marriage is forever happy. There are moments of bliss, to be sure, and lengthy spans of satisfied companionship. Yet these come at no small effort, and the girl who reads such fiction dreaming her troubles will end ere she departs the altar is well advised to seek at once a rational women to set her straight.” 106 likes
“With that, I hurled the slipper at him, not caring if I caused his decapitation. (I did not.) Marshaling what little dignity I yet possessed, I stomped down the corridor - challenging indeed with one shoe - and around the corner. I lay awake for hours. The prince had no right, not one, to indict me so, and if I had held the slightest hope of the book's assistance, I would have climbed at once to my wizard room for a spell with which to punish him. Death, perhaps, or humiliation. A croaking frog would be nice, particularly a frog that retained Florian's dark eyes. I should keep it in a box and poke it occasionally with a stick; that would be satisfying indeed.” 63 likes
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