Richly-imagined fantasy romance from the author of Princess and the Hound, a tale of two princesses--one with magic, one with none--who dare seek love in a world where real choice can never be theirs. For fans of Megan Whalen Turner, Catherine Fisher, and Cassandra Clare.
Ailsbet loves nothing more than music; tall and red-haired, she's impatient with the artifice and ceremony of her father's court. Marissa adores the world of her island home and feels she has much to offer when she finally inherits the throne from her wise, good-tempered father. The trouble is that neither princess has the power--or the magic--to rule alone, and if the kingdoms can be united, which princess will end up ruling the joint land? For both, the only goal would seem to be a strategic marriage to a man who can bring his own brand of power to the throne. But will either girl be able to marry for love? And can either of these two princesses, rivals though they have never met, afford to let the other live? (From Goodreads)
Princesses! Princesses who actually understand princess responsibilities re: kingdoms and marrying and having kids. These princesses aren’t the frou-frou, super modern romance princesses you may be used to from other YA books. I found that very refreshing. It was SO NICE to have more realism in a book with royalty and romance and magic! The realism balanced out the fantastical bits, and I think it made the story more exciting than it would have been had either of the princesses been more like someone transposed from today’s society into an early medieval-ish era.
That said, I DID have a problem with the development of one of the romances. I don’t know if my ARC was missing a section or what, but it basically went like this:
Princess: Hello! I am a princess.
Dude: Hello! I am here to get you married to a prince (who is not me).
P: Okay, I accept.
D: YOU HATE ME YOU HATE ME I CAN’T STAND IT
P: NO I LOVE YOU I SWEAR
D: OUR LOVE IS DOOMED
P: WOE IS US
Followed by various depressing scenes were they have lots of unadvised (as it could get them killed if someone noticed it) sexual tension followed by an improbable happy ending.
Didn’t help that I didn’t like the characters (they annoyed me), but my main problem was that it developed from relatively nothing into BAM, doomed romance! They met once and Dude was already rolling in the romantic angst. Princess took some time to get to know him before falling in love (good!), but I still felt like I missed a step somewhere.1
I’ve read a few posts lately that talk about unlikable female characters, and that WHY we find them unlikable is because they make bad choices. Like real people, they do the wrong things for what they think are good reasons (or for no reason, or for bad reasons) and you as the reader can get frustrated and even hate them, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re not perfect. That really struck a chord with me, because I frequently hate characters who make bad choices– and I think I’m harder on female characters than I am on male ones. (That’s something I need to work on, maybe.)
Plus, if characters always made perfectly reasoned out decisions I’d be terribly bored, haha! So maybe Princess and the Dude made bad decisions, and I don’t like them because they did, but I WILL say that they kept me entertained anyway. And just because I don’t like them doesn’t mean that they aren’t good characters! They’re just kinda stupid and melodramatic people.
Anyway, I didn’t realize when I started reading The Rose Throne that it was the start to a series. Which would explain why nothing much happens in this one except for getting all the characters together to meet and stuff. Sort of like an intro to the rest of the series– which while hopefully have more developments about the prophecy that’s so danged important.
There’s something for everyone in The Rose Throne. Magic, and romance, and realistic princesses who’re both selfish and self-less! There’s death and a fair amount of violence, too, and the pseudo-historical time period was neat. I very much enjoyed this book, and I’m for sure going to read the sequel when it comes out.
Read: April 29, 2013
- Also, and this is what makes me think my ARC might be missing something, but Princess is described by everyone else as being headstrong and angry-ish but I didn’t get that impression AT ALL. Hm. ↩