Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Princess and the Hound

He is a prince and heir to a kingdom threatened on all sides, possessor of the forbidden animal magic.

She is a princess from a rival kingdom, the daughter her father never wanted, isolated from all except her hound.

In this lush and beautifully written fairy-tale romance, a prince, a princess, and two kingdoms are joined in the aftermath of a war. Proud, stubborn, and bound to marry for duty, George and Beatrice will steal your heart—but will they fall in love?

Beth says 4 Stars...

One of the biggest things I didn't understand about this book was that it's billed as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. To that I say a resounding, what? I saw basically no overlap in the two tales and just found the description bizarre. That being said, this is an incredibly interesting novel. What I think might turn some readers off is that it's slow, as in slower than molasses flowing uphill in winter for the first third or so. That whole chunk of the book is background information, but I honestly didn't mind that much. Yes, it is something of a flaw, but at the same time could be considered a strength. This book isn't based on a thrill ride of a plot that moves fast enough to give you whiplash. Instead it's about speculation and the world Harrison creates. Almost all of the information is necessary to understand George as a person, although I was not a fan of the disjointed nature of the forward progression of the narrative. Quite frequently it was difficult to determine where in time the action was taking place.

The characters were interesting. I'll say as much as I can without getting spoilery, because there are some big ones. As much as I understood George I just wasn't able to connect with him. I honestly can't say why, but it changes nothing. Beatrice was interesting, but kept at a distance from the reader because she was viewed through George's eyes. Also, I think the fact that there wasn't very much dialogue put some distance between the characters and the readers. This isn't to say that anything's bad, it simply is.

Overall, I think that this is the type of YA that we need. It isn't concerned with being ordinary and dares to do something different. It isn't going to be a universal crowd pleaser, but it's a worthwhile novel. It has musings about the nature of power, and how our parents and everyone else's expectations can shape our lives and personalities.
book bought


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