Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Review: The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

This was a nice change of pace, as rather than a pauper turning into a princess, a princess turns into a pauper.
The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

Source: Public Library

Rating:  4/5

Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history, forever. (Goodreads synopsis)

My Thoughts:
This was a nice change of pace, as rather than a pauper turning into a princess, a princess turns into a pauper. Seemed a little cruel though, the way the King and Queen simply turned out the girl they had treated like a daughter for 16 years. And Sinda (a homage to Cinderella?) wasn't your usual princess, as she was on the clumsy side and, having been raised a princess, could barely function in the real world. But she learns to stand up for herself, rather than keep on meekly accepting things. It isn't easy, and I liked that she made mistakes and was a little hard-headed, impulsive, and stubborn. Just like a real teenager!

Nalia learns that she is a false princess and that her real name is Sinda rather abruptly. One moment she is enjoying the day with her best friend, and the next she is in a carriage, on her way to live with an aunt she never knew existed. Her aunt is not a cruel woman, just one who is used to living alone and not really sure what to do with a new-found niece. She tries to teach Sinda, but a former princess is rather helpless when it comes to practical tasks such as cooking and cleaning. Sinda tries, but tends to break things due to her innate clumsiness. I really liked this about her, as most heroines are gorgeous, graceful stereotypes.

Sinda learns that she has a talent for magic, but it's been hidden for so long due to the princess-spell that she is a danger to herself and others. She needs training and needs it fast, so she returns to the city, seeking help from the wizard's college. Unfortunately, as she is not of noble birth and has no money for tuition, they turn her away. Sinda really had no back-up plan, so is unsure what to do next.

The plot had a few too many coincidences for my taste, such as being in the right place at the right time to overhear something important or be noticed by the right person, but it didn't ruin the story for me. I liked most of the characters, but would have liked to have learned more about the other girls, but I understand that this was Sinda's story, so the focus needed to remain on her.

Gave this one a 4/5 as it was an enjoyable story with interesting characters and a nice twist. I really liked the whole reverse-princess idea, and the coincidences and character stereotypes didn't really take away from my enjoyment of the story. Would like to see what happens next, as I'm sure that Sinda has more adventures in her future!

1 comment:

  1. You gotta love a good story about an ex-princess. Thanks for the honest review!