Wednesday, March 10, 2010
published April 2008 by Penguin
246 pages (paperback), YA
Aurelia is a princess (please suppress your groans, I happen to like princesses), a crown princess for that matter, with the hope of becoming queen of Tyralt, a land that she loves. She is the people's princess, sneaking off in disguises to browse the market or walk the neighborhoods. She is also in mortal danger. She has unknowingly dodged murder attempts twice already, but that is twice too many. Enter Robert, Aurelia's childhood classmate and friend who has been living the frontier life for the past four years. He has come back to Tyralt to act as a spy and a protector - to figure out who is behind this assassination plot and to keep Aurelia safe. But matters of the heart distract him and Aurelia both.
In the first 20 pages of this book, I knew Aurelia, and I knew that I wanted Robert and Aurelia to be together. How is it possible to develop a depth of character in 20 pages?! I don't know, but Ms. Osterlund certainly did. Through conversations at a ball, we learn about Aurelia's character, her stubborness, her defiance and spirit. She is passionate and forthright - she will speak her mind even if it is not befitting for a princess. She is the dark one, perceiving herself as unattractive compared to her stepsister's blonde-haired, fair-skinned beauty. She's adventurous and curious, empathetic and humble. And this book is only 246 pages.
Although I didn't love love love the story, I certainly enjoyed it and finished it rather quickly. I would have liked Aurelia and Robert's relationship to be developed more, but I can imagine the constraints of living in a palace and fearing your life make this a bit difficult to accomplish. I was also surprised that this is a mystery - I suppose I expected fantasy just because it had to do with princesses, but a murder mystery was a nice twist. Part of the reason I read this one so quickly is because I needed to know who wanted Aurelia dead and if she would be killed. I'll say nothing more about that. :)
So, I'm a fan of Anne Osterlund, and I can't wait to read more from her!
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