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A Princess of Roumania

(Princess of Roumania #1)

2.88  ·  Rating details ·  655 ratings  ·  111 reviews
This is a truly magical tale, full of strangeness, terrors and wonders. Many girls daydream that they are really a princess adopted by commoners. In the case of teenager Miranda Popescu, this is literally true. Because she is at the fulcrum of a deadly political battle between conjurers in an alternate world where "Roumania" is a leading European power, Miranda was hidden ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published June 27th 2006 by Tor Fantasy (first published August 1st 2005)
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Average rating 2.88  · 
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 ·  655 ratings  ·  111 reviews

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Jul 01, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: tripe
I was desperate for a book...My desperation lead me to this dreadful chunk.

The first five pages were actually interesting. There was a whisper of promise that mocked me...and then this book became a train wreck. There were no survivors.

Aug 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Although I can see why this book has such a low rating, it certainly doesn't deserve it. If I came into it with a lot of expectations (since the publishers marketed it as though it were some kind of romantic YA fantasy), I'd rate it low too. It's basically a 400+-page prelude to the next book. Half of the narrative doesn't involve the main characters. The pace is positively glacial. However, the premise and the world of the novel (an alternate Romania) are both really fascinating and they kept t ...more
Jan 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Ok, I'm going to try not to rave too much about this book, but it's SO GOOD! It sounds like it's going to be standard issue fantasy -- an adopted girl in a small town starts having weird stuff happen around her and discovers that she is a princess who is destined to fight evil in a magic world.

But everyone in this book acts like a real person, not a fantasy trope. The 'evil' characters don't think they're evil. The heroine is more concerned with her relationship with her parents than fulfilling
Mar 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
I actually did not finish this book. I stopped at page 243. I no longer cared enough to spend any more time reading it when I have so many other books to try or great ones to reread. I would give it one star, but I actually would like to know what happens in the end. I just don't want to have to do the work to get there. ...more
Jun 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, library
The basic idea for this book is a good one. A regular girl is drawn into an alternate world, and learns that she is a princess and that our world was an elaborate fiction created to hide her. The setting is fantastic, an alternate reality with a drastically different political situation, less technological advancement, and an inexplicable magical system.

It starts out painfully slow, and there are plenty of other parts where the pacing feels off. The concept of the book is "girl gets transported
Mar 18, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
This is a coming of age story about a young woman who discovers that, in addition to being an orphan, she is also from another dimension. In fact the most interesting quirk of the novel is the way that Park makes our world the one that isn't real (very Matrixesque). He also spends a significant portion of the book inside the heads of the "villains," increasing our sympathy for them and changing the feel of the conflict between them and our heroine and her friends. Despite all the accolades that ...more
May 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I'm mystified by all of the low ratings on this one. One of the better fantasy books I've read in some time. In fact, the first 3 of the series are quite good. Why Park extended this to 4 books is beyond me. The final book really didn't work for me, which kind of sucks after you invested so much time in the series. I think Park rushed these books, and should have given each of them the layering and care that I found in the first book (and, arguably, the first 3). It could have been one of the gr ...more
Oct 21, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ya, abandoned
About 120 pages into this book, the plot is still not very compelling and the characters are still fuzzy. After 163 pages I gave up, deciding that I have too many enticing books on my to-be-read shelf to waste my time with characters I don't like. ...more
Michael Battaglia
Anyone who's somewhat familiar with 20th century European history will probably have come to the conclusion that, past a certain point, Romania was not a really . . . great place to live. With having a fascist dictator who thought Hitler had the right idea to the Soviets taking over and draining the country dry like a tick with voracious appetite to follow up dictator Nicolae Ceausescu finally forcing people to say "enough of this nonsense" and straight up executing him and his wife via firing s ...more
Apr 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
this series is actually very good, it's not some romance type fantasy filled with teenage angst. I really hate that genre(sorry, romance lovers) I don't think he should have named the first book this though, because that's what i thought it was from the title and the cover pic. Honestly, I think it got such low reviews on here because many of the people who picked it up to read thought they were picking up a romance/fantasy and it is in now way that. It is definitely not a princessy (like the ti ...more
Feb 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy-urban
I started reading this once and ended up putting it down. I just tried it again because the premise is an interesting one. Sadly, this time around I had to force myself to finish it.

This is a very frustrating book. First of all (major pet peeve here) there is nothing anywhere on my copy that indicates it is the first of a series. Not until you reach the end where nothing is resolved and there is a preview of the next book do you get that information. I tend to buy full series all at once rather
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Sabine by: Orson Scott Card's review page
First let me be clear that my rating books has changed since I first joined good reads. It is now only those books that I would read again and again or how a powerful impact in my life that will get five stars. 3 is a book I liked, but probably not read again. This book falls somewhere between a two and a three. There were parts of it that I loved. When it comes to the imagination of the author I was truly blown away but his inventiveness and story ideas. But by the time I had 100 pages left I f ...more
Apr 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is the first book in a new trilogy and the title character is a young woman named Miranda Popescu, a girl in her teens living in western Massachusetts. But all that's about to change as she soon learns that she's a princess from an alternate world where Roumania is one of Europe's power players in the 19th century. She and two of her friends find themselves back in this world and somewhat changed in the process. There's political intrigue and interesting characters doing weird things. There ...more
Apr 14, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Those who like melodramatic, purple prose.
Shelves: fantasy, dead-tree, 2006
It took me a while to get into this book. I had received a free advance copy of the mass market copy of this book at a SF convention and with a lack of anything to do during some downtime, started reading. Honestly, the only reason I finished the first one hundred pages was because someone I knew was really enjoying it. After the hundred-page mark, the story picked up and I didn't tend notice the somewhat verbose writing style as much. I don't think I'll pick up the sequel, though. This book is ...more
sarah t
Oct 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
I could barely make myself finish this book. It was a gift from my pop, who bought it based on a newspaper review suggesting that this book was like Harry Potter. Yikes. It was not like Harry Potter - it was not easy to read, or funny, or good, or anthing. It was confusing - I felt like whole chapters must have been missing because I couldn't always follow the plot. Or else maybe I was such a sloppy reader that I really missed whole major sequences. I'm not sure, but man, don't read this. ...more
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
Hard to get into. Too many characters with too little invested in them, so I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who was working for whom. It's an intriguing idea, but tries to hard to be highbrow and fails at making itself understandable enough to be enjoyable. ...more
Nov 17, 2008 rated it did not like it
Good premise for the story - I love a good alternate universe! Unfortunately, the book was very hard to follow and I couldn't care less about any of the characters. I didn't bother reading the other books in the series. Maybe I'm too old to be reading about disaffected teenagers........ ...more
Jim Grimsley
Feb 20, 2021 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the beginning of this book, the modeling of the world, the writing, and the structure; I enjoyed so many parts of the book at that point that I wondered why I did not enjoy the book itself more. The problem with so much of literature is that what works in one book gets repeated so many times in other books that it all wears out. This book feels so much like the introduction to a series that it fails for that very reason, in my view. It is like one long preface. The world of Miranda and ...more
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Can't recall where I heard about this book, or what I heard that was compelling enough for me to seek it out. In any event, I did so, and by about halfway through, I strongly considered not finishing it. Had I realized it was the first in a quartet, I definitely would have stopped, because I basically slogged through 180 pages just to see how it would end, and it's basically a setup for future books.

The premise is that there's an adopted teenage girl in present-day Massachusetts who turns out to
Kelly McCubbin
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Paul Park is one of those writers that you didn't realize you had been looking for until you find him.

Much is made of the autobiographical accents of these books, but what I find most fascinating is his turning of the standard "hero's journey" narrative on its head. To give too much away is to deny some of the vertiginous joy of the narrative, so I won't say much other than, what happens when your hero refuses to play by the rules of the formal narrative construct you've put her in?
Make no mista
Jan 09, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
Unfortunately, I think I am shelving this book. It was a recommendation from a friend, so I really wanted to give it a shot, however, I found myself not reading at all as I subconsciously avoided this book.

I would say that the story intrigued me and I may need to find a summary of the book to know how it ends, but it was the author's writing style that was not my jam. I often found myself confused as we swapped between characters/time very suddenly and I, personally, prefer longer background de
Feb 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-f
I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. It is an interesting concept, a fascinating world, and beautifully written. However, the main character, Miranda, was a disappointment. She does nothing to influence her own fate. She follows along, going where she is pulled and tugged. Near the end, when she does make a somewhat important decision, it seems half-hearted. I found the other characters more interesting, more motivated, and more actionable. Perhaps I'll read the other books in th ...more
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-away, read2017
Many people I know really love this book, people who's taste in books I usually like, so I wish I liked this also. But the truth is, I'm still not sure what I read (or why I read it). I never got it - I never distinguished the plot, or characters. I just never understood what I was reading. Which is pretty unusual for me. ...more
Lucy Takeda
Aug 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
I started this once before, and set it aside because I had a more interesting library book. This time I did finish; I’m not sure why. The characters weren’t terribly interesting. The time/location jumps were mostly annoying. I got really tired of reading about folks gripping assorted animal’s fur. I definitely won’t be looking for the rest of the series.
Nov 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
I found the non-linear storytelling to be disjointed, the characters uninteresting and the plot confusing. Overall, I was bored.
Sue Chant
Tiptree shortlist 2008. A bit uneven but enjoyed it more than I expected. A nicely eerie/dream-logic quality to some of it.
Caitlin H
Sep 25, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
DNF'd and long since donated to somewhere (as in years ago; doing this now is just housekeeping).

The writing was not done well. Who edited this book?
Gary Milczarek
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spell binding

Wow. Spell binding. And I didn't think I even liked fantasy. I chose this after reading a review by John Crowley, and I am not disappointed.
Simon Mcleish
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in April 2007.

One author who is mentioned several times in the quotations printed on the back of A Princess of Roumania is Philip Pullman. Now, anyone who has read my reviews of the His Dark Materials trilogy will know that Pullman is an author I think massively overrated, and so I found this somewhat off-putting. The praise I had read for A Princess of Roumania in the end persuaded me to give it a try, and I am glad that I did. While I can understand the com
I read this book and also got 1/2 through the next one. I cannot for the life of me tell you what was really going on. I remember and understood bits and pieces and from those, I liked the premise. The plot was just too confusing to really get a sense of what everyone was doing and what their motives were.

The story is about a girl who was sent to another dimension to be raised because she was the daughter of royalty that was supposedly killed. Her dimension is one where Roumania is basically al
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Paul Park (born 1954) is an American science fiction author and fantasy author. He lives in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children. He also teaches a Reading and Writing Science Fiction course at Williams College. He has also taught several times at the Clarion West Writing Workshop.

Park appeared on the American science fiction scene in 1987 and quickly established himself

Other books in the series

Princess of Roumania (4 books)
  • The Tourmaline (Princess of Roumania, #2)
  • The White Tyger (Princess of Roumania, #3)
  • The Hidden World (Princess of Roumania, #4)

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