Sunday, March 27, 2011

Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Filled with magic and adventure this is a great YA book.  In a story that is part fantasy, part fairy tale, there is plenty of action to keep the pages turning.

After 15-year-old Princess Benevolence's parents and her uncle, the king, are presumed killed by agents of a neighboring village, she moves to the palace to live with her widowed aunt, Sophia, now the queen regent, to be groomed as heir to the throne.

When Ben discovers magic within the walls of her castle home, she finds a means for asserting her independence and escaping her aunt's control. After a series of adventures and hardships away from the castle, including time spent as a prisoner and drudge in an enemy army camp, Ben ultimately returns to the castle to accept her royal duties.

Her previous behavior has led to questions about her suitability for the throne, so she must prove herself to her friends and enemies, using her magic and her wits to find her own adult role. At first, Ben is somewhat spoiled and childish, but the loss of her parents forces her to grow and mature.

The first-person narrative is presented as the writing of a much-older Ben, looking back at her life, which allows for both immediacy and frequent humorous comments.

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