young adult book reviews & more

Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Princess BenPlump Princess Benevolence, sole heir to the throne of Montagne after the sudden death of the sovereign, her uncle, and her parents from unknown assassins, is not enjoying her new situation. Her cruel aunt, the Queen Sophia, is subjecting her to a strict education consisting of all the skills necessary for Ben to achieve to become the proper princess including comportment, dance, penmanship, and needlework, among others. But Ben only wants to mourn her parents’ deaths and comfort herself with food; her refusal to cooperates causes her to get locked up in a high tower. While in this cell, Ben accidentally stumbles upon a hidden room with a spell book, and so she teaches herself magic. But, tensions with a neighboring country, Drachensbett, escalate the need for an alliance between the two countries, which Ben becomes caught up in, resulting in a disastrous ball, mountainous escapades, and unforeseen romance, and this amazing story.

I was immediately drawn into Ben’s story about how she matured and saved her country. She is amusing and clever although sometimes single-minded. Ben’s adventures were very fun to read about, especially the ones involving magic. It was interesting to watch how Ben came to terms with that some of the people she thought were bad, such as Queen Sophia, actually had good intentions. What I found a little strange though were references to world history, such as the building of the Great Wall of China, because the magical aspect of the story made it seem as if the location of Montagne and Drachensbett should not be on Earth. I would’ve preferred anonymity as to the exact location like in many other fairytales, but I don’t really mind because this story was so fantastic.

Catherine Gilbert Murdock is a superb storyteller, and while I have not read her other novels Dairy Queen and The Off Season, I do plan to do so. I was very impressed with Murdock’s writing style and unique ideas, and I absolutely loved this story. Princess Ben is definitely high on my favorites list, and I highly recommend it to all readers, and not just only fans of fantasy and fairytales.

Rating: 4.75

Review copy from personal collection

3 munch(es) :

Carolina said...

Sounds like a good book.I'm going to try to get a copy of it.

Khy said...

Great review. I've had this on my wishlist and I can't wait to pick it up.

And I see you're reading Life as We Knew It. That book is absolutely wonderful.

RR2 said...

I really want to read this book. I just read The Off Season and it was incredible.

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