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Elske (Tales of the Kingdom, #4)
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Elske (Tales of the Kingdom #4)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,354 Ratings  ·  129 Reviews
Two Women
Elske -- a girl with no future, until her grandmother's sacrifice saves her from certain death
Beriel -- an imperious princess, determined to claim the kingdom that is her birthright

Fate brings them together, both exiles, one servant to the other. To Beriel, the mistress, Elske offers steadfast loyalty and courage -- hard to come by in her dangerous quest to re
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 1st 2003 by Simon Pulse (first published October 1st 1999)
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Aug 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
Really Elske you are just dull. Yes your earing is enchanting but you're just dull. Maybe in another time, another place. But not today. I'm sorry.

Elske is the story of a girl who grows up in a barbaric wolf man society. She officially belongs to the king and when he dies, she will be sent into his tomb and will be abused by wild men, then burned alive with the dead kings body. It's put in more tactfully in the book but that's basically the deal. Ya I know. Yuck. So her grandmother takes her pla
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the first books I read when I "rediscovered" fantasy in high school.

It follows a maid who escapes from the fantasy-Vikings and acts as a fixer and spy for a pregnant princess in fantasy-Netherlands' Season.

It's also a fine example of a fantasy world that handles itself just fine without the addition of magic. See also: my tendency to pick up books in the middle of a series instead of the start - it still works as a standalone.

It's held up to several rereads, but I'm about due fo
Mar 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comfort-reads, loved
I think this is Voigt's best book. It's like a beautiful fairy tale.

(NOTE: you do not have to read the other Kingdom books to read this - it stands alone)

I've found that some of Voigt's other books tend to drag on and cause me to lose interest in the characters and their challenges. I think her writing can sometimes be a bit too removed when what I really want to know is how the characters feel and what they are thinking. This book is more focused. From cover to cover it is a joy to read. Elske
Dec 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle, setting, fantasy
Yawn. Voigt is skillful, but this book felt like a combination of Redwall-esque obsessions (gowns and tankards of ale, kingdoms and guilds), wannabe girl-power, and a sort of steamy romance novel without the romance. Elske's character was both fearless and humorless, making her flat and unsympathetic. We're told that most of the male characters want to marry her or otherwise install her in their bed, maybe because she doesn't want them back? We're told that she's proud and skillful with babies. ...more
Jan 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: rejects
Ugh. Dry, dry, dry.

I found this and read it because I'd remembered liking Jackaroo (the first in the Kingdom books) so much as a kid. But either because my perceptions were a lot different then, or that was just a better book, Elske did not live up to my expectations.

The book does depict a cleverly imagined kingdom, and the various nations and people within peaked my interest. But almost everything else -- Elske, Beriel the future queen, their adventures (or lack thereof), and the brief descript
This book is truly inspirational, and I love it so much. You love fantasy? You like romance? You like danger? Read it, I dare you, and you will never forget it. READ IT!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elske escapes the cruel, savage Wolfer society of her birth, and takes up a position as servant in a merchant town. There she is swept up in the world of a difficult and cold princess who is in desperate need.

I wanted to like this, because I do love Voigt, but ... it's not anything special. It's set in the same world as Jackaroo, On Fortune's Wheel and The Wings of a Falcon, and the protagonist's grandmother, Tamara, seems to have been a character in one of the other books, but I can't remember
Apr 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
I give two stars for the superb use of words and unique writing along with the world building. However, the story lacks heart and more importantly it lacks an ability to make me care about the characters. What Jackaroo had, this story doesn't. I thought the themes of abortion, poor taste, as well as the many times rape was mentioned as the cultures way of life. I understand that this is a barbaric society, I just don't want to read about it when I care nothing for the motives nor did I think it ...more
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
I didn't realize this was the fourth book in a series, until I came to Goodreads to add it. So, I guess that means that, for the most part, the story stands by itself well enough. There were some references to Jackaroo at the end that rather puzzled me - and now that I know that the first book in the series was called Jackaroo, that makes a bit more sense.

The book drew me in with the character of Elske. Beriel, on the other hand, mostly annoyed me. In some ways, the story reminds me of the book
Jul 31, 2009 rated it liked it
As I was reading this, I felt very detached from the characters, especially Elske, from whose POV the story was being told. I also felt like something in the pacing was off, that too much time was spent on some things (like setting the scene in Trasdad - it takes about 100 pages before we finally get to the main event, her service to Beriel) and not enough on others - for instance, the romances, squeezed in at the end, didn't feel believable at all.

That being said, this book did have a very capt
Katie M.
Oct 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
Bah. I adore Cynthia Voigt on principle. But this one just didn't do it for me... dark and grim with a weirdly happy ending, it was full of stereotypical "ethnic" clans and mostly unlikeable characters. I couldn't muster up much emotional investment in anyone, not even Elske. Give me On Fortune's Wheel any day over this one.
Nancy Thornton
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another one I read of my daughter's. Enjoy young reader's selections very much. easy reads and well written.
Jassa Jalessa
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Every few years I read this book and out of the series this is my favorite. I can't say if it's because I read it first out of the 4-book series or not.

Maybe is it Elske and the way she is so open in her ways when everyone around her makes things so complicated. Not that her view point is so black and white but I think being born in a world that is so basic and straight to the point makes her so.

Why worry about which ground the wheat came from to make the bread when the only thing that matters
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
From what I understand, the books in this series stand independent of each other but are all set in the same world. My sister recommended this one to me as her favorite and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Elske, the protagonist, is admirable and unique. I enjoyed her relationship with the queen fighting for her throne, but was relieved when the queen was absent for the final third, as I really just wanted to follow Elske's story. A little violent and edgy in the beginning, it becomes more teen appropri ...more
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of fantasy, fans of non-magical fantasy
Raised among the barbaric Wolfers, thirteen-year-old Elske is saved from becoming the Volkking's Death Maiden by her grandmother, and flees north, where she becomes the servant and friend of Princess Beriel--who is determined to claim the kingdom that is her birthright, stolen from her by her treacherous brother.
The Tale of Elske (or 'Elske', depending on which version you have) is the fourth and final novel in the loosely-connected, non-magical fantasy series Tales of the Kingdom.

This is the th
To be clear, Elske is the fourth book in Cynthia Voigt's loosely tied together series called The Kingdom. The other three (Jackaroo, Wings of a Falcon and On Fortune's Wheel) are all set in the Kingdom that Beriel hails from, while Elske is set in Trastad, a small country to the north of The Kingdom. You don't need prior knowledge of the other books, except perhaps to understand the truth behind the 'legends' that Beriel mentions. The legend of Jackaroo for instance is covered in depth in the bo ...more
I first read this in 2003, after learning it was a conclusion to one of my favorite series as a teenager. The genre is fantasy only in the made-up medieval "Kingdom" setting; think wooded journeys and Robin Hood figures, and that's what I loved it for. I reread this now because I wanted to give it as a gift to Amy, and I was curious to revisit its themes. The first time, I was stunned by it being one of the most overtly feminist novels I'd ever read -- and for teenagers.

It is, producing not one
Apr 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
With immense power and compassion, Cynthia Voigt, Newbery Medalist, depicts the quests of two extraordinary young women. As Elske seeks to find her true self and Beriel battles to reclaim what is rightfully hers, both discover the value, and the price, of reaching the journeys end.

The fourth book in Cynthia Voigts Kingdom series. Elske offers a heroine who is very much her own person. Even though Elske has been chosen to be the Death Maiden of the Volkking, she escapes to begin life. Elske make
Apr 17, 2013 rated it liked it

Interspersed with gentle references to the mythical protagonist of a previous novel, JACKAROO, this story continues Voight's predilection for resourceful heroines. Set in an unspecified medieval world of fictitious geography this book presents a very young heroine who barely escapes rape and immolation as the chosen Death Maiden among the heartless Volkaric horde. Raised as a Wolfer this daughter of a gentler clime and culture avoids both fates thanks to the wisely int
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Synopsis: "Newbery Medalist Cynthia Voigt depicts the parallel quests of two extraordinary young women with power and compassion in this fourth and final book in the Tales of the Kingdom series.

Elske is a girl with no future—until her grandmother’s sacrifice saves her from certain death. Beriel is an imperious princess, determined to claim the kingdom that is her birthright. Fate brings them together, both exiles, one servant to the other. Elske offers Beriel steadfast loyalty and courage, preci
Nov 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Although a young adult novel, this read as well as any adult literature. The story of an adolescent girl, Elske, who's grandmother gives her life so that Elske can escape their heathen clan to find a life among the civilized Tradsters in a village to the north. Here, Elske learns a different way of life, weighing it against the customs and traditions she has grown up with, and uses her knowledge to her benefit to eventually serve as handmaiden to a would-be queen. As she continues to learn from ...more
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
A lot of reviewers mention how much they dislike Beriel, and how it altered their appreciation of the book. When I first read "Elske" nearly a decade ago as a teenager, I felt the same way. I liked the book but could not get over the unlikeable Fiendly Princess and Elske's loyalty towards her. However, after re-reading the book I come to a different conclusion. Beriel is not supposed to be likeable. The reader is not even necessarily supposed to understand why Elske and the other characters are ...more
Jul 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I read this book for the first time in my teens, drawn to it by the cover (who really thinks that judging a book by the cover is a bad thing?). I remembered loving it, so I picked it up at the library last month and I had to read it twice before returning it. And THEN I bought it, just in case I wanted to pull it off the shelf some random evening.

It is a story about Elske, the death maiden (essentially the virgin sacrifice to the Volkaric king) when he dies. She grows up among the Volkaric, a b
Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌
I read Elske a long long while back, and through the years, though I had forgotten the name, author and such, I never forgot how the plot of this story, and how wonderful it was reading it. I finally rediscovered this book after exhausting various search engines, joining dodgy websites, and asking around.

Reading this book, it hit me all over again how dear it is to me (despite only having it read one time before) and why it was so memorable. It's quite a breathtaking journey, and, like one revie
Sammie Pennington
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow, how I wish I had read this book when I was younger. Elske is an amazing character and so empowering for young women to read. My favorite scene is one in which Elske saves Beriel from a group of men who intend to rape her. Not only does this book write young women in a way I rarely see, but it also deals with tough topics in a very smart way. I think I may have been empowered to take some self-defense classes in high school if I had read this book because Elske is just such a badass!
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
The last book in the series. And like the last one - this starts completely differently. This book begins with Elske, a child of the Wolfers. She has been raised by her grandmother, a woman stolen by the Wolfers, and freed by the sacrifice of her grandmother to the big unknown world.

Elske has a worldview that matches no one. She is without most of the angst and neurosis of main characters. Instead, she simply lives her life as it unfolds - without guile and remorse. And because of that she finds
Jessica Rawden
The other two books I read from Cynthia Voight's Kingdom series, I recommended for ages 12 and up. However, the Elske book is a little different. It spans topics including racism, rape, the idea of incest, abortion, and pre-marital sex. While these ideas are explained and not presented in a pro or negative light, they are present, and children might have questions. Elske has to travel from one Kingdom to the next, eventually landing in The Kingdom. Her experiences are unique to the series, but a ...more
Jan 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookcrossing
Sheer impulse buy because I love the Vermeer painting on the cover and like the author. Apparently this is part of a series written by this author- though it stood alone quite fine. The story has stronf medieval overtones- and it's kind of surprising to realize the lands talked about aren't on any map of our world. It is the story of a very strong young girl, who withthe help of a strong and cunning grandmother, escapes a fated death to seek a new life in a new world. She is independent, intelli ...more
Feb 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Melody; CLM; Becky
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Cynthia Voigt is an American author of books for young adults dealing with various topics such as adventure, mystery, racism and child abuse.

Angus and Sadie: the Sequoyah Book Award (given by readers in Oklahoma), 2008
The Katahdin Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Anne V. Zarrow Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Margaret Edwards Award, for a body of work, 1995
Jackaroo: Ratte
More about Cynthia Voigt...

Other Books in the Series

Tales of the Kingdom (4 books)
  • Jackaroo (Tales of the Kingdom, #1)
  • On Fortune's Wheel (Tales of the Kingdom, #2)
  • The Wings of a Falcon (Tales of the Kingdom, #3)
“Night’s darkness cloaked Elske, covering her as the winter snows cover mountains, from peak to foot. Elske moved with the weight of darkness on her shoulders, on her head; and she tasted it in her mouth like the flavorless rills that ran so fast in spring melts.” 0 likes
“On this road they saw some other men, fishers and farmers Elske was told; some of the men were accompanied by women whose hair was wrapped around with colored cloths. These men and women stared at Elske, in her fur boots and wolfskin cloak, but when she stared back and them they looked away.” 0 likes
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