Author: Anne Osterlund
Publisher: Speak Books
Read Time: 4 Days
Tag Words: Princess, fantasy, kingdoms, murder plots, investigations, horses
Someone is out to kill the crown princess of Tyralt. Can her former classmate discover who before it is too late?
I cannot decide if this book is a case of "too much," or, "not enough." Either the writing style of tell-don't-show overshadowed the action and the chain of events that led to a logical conclusion, or Osterlund left too many details unattended for too long.
I don't know; what I do know it this, there was too much book and too little plot and character development. I read more about horses than I did about the character’s emotions, or reactions to anything of great importance!
Robert and Aurelia were a most infuriating couple. Aurelia is not likable, she’s headstrong, and a tad snobbish in my opinion, so I don’t understand what Robert sees in her, but frankly neither does he. The book just finally reached that place where either they were going to have to kiss, or the ‘romance’ would be completely void in the book. Robert was bland, boring, and one dimensional. Aurelia was defined by a single characteristic, which never developed much further than the author telling the reader that she is, in fact, too stubborn to be a Crown Princess.
The details of the murder were both contrived and transparent at the same time. The puzzle pieces, as they were, didn’t quite fit together, so Osterland took a pair of scissors to the rounded ends and in the end mashed them together. Not a wise solution to a big problem.
It is frustrating to me that this book turned out to be so poorly written, it had been on my bookshelf for a long while, and on my wishlist longer still. I am going to attempt reading Osterlund’s two other books, hopefully they will be far more satisfying.
Notes on the Names:
All the boys received monikers that can best be described as ‘classic,’ though ‘tired’ is another word for them, while the girls got odd made-up sounding names, besides Aurelia.
Another disappointment! I thought Aurelia’s sister might be Beatrix, Evangeline, or Marigold, for instance, but instead she was Melony. An odd mashup of Melanie and Melody. Oh, my heart.
Thoughts on the Cover:
The absolute best part of the book, besides Aurelia’s name. A masked ball does take place in the book, and the model is perfect for Osterlund's description of Aurelia, I just wish the book had delivered.
Parental Book Review *spoilers*
One chaste kiss.
Attempted murders, all plans foiled before Aurelia was even aware of them. Very non-violent.
Death of a jockey from a horse trampling him.
Robert kills Chris with a sword to the heart. The ‘battle’ is not violent. It is a series of fencing terms before Robert’s sword pierces Chris’s heart.
I consider this book Squeaky Clean!