Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
I picked out The Princess Spy for what promised to be a welcome switch-up in my reading: a young adult retelling of a fairy tale with lords, ladies, and dangerous intrigues. I’m not sure it’s so much a retelling as it is a novel with a couple of aspects loosely inspired by a fairy tale (note the frogs depicted on the front cover), but it’s definitely got its lords and ladies and intrigues, along with a good helping of faith at work.
What did I most like about this novel? In a word: Margaretha. In such a story, it would be so easy to turn this chatty heroine into a damsel ever in helpless distress, only too lucky because of the sudden arrival of an invincible Prince Charming who rides in to save her from everything. Margaretha, however, has spunk and backbone, demonstrated through her actions and words. “We’re at war, or shortly will be,” she tells her cousin Anne, “and we cannot be squeamish about such things.” And yet, Margaretha’s spunk doesn’t cancel out her compassion or her conscious dependence on God. Her hero is strong, but not invincible, and his humanness allows for a balance of give and take in their relationship.
The story might have benefited from a subplot running alongside Margaretha’s adventure, if the book needed “more” in it, as the story seems to rely much on repetition, either in the characters saying the same things over again in different conversations or in the narrator repeating the same information about the characters’ thoughts, feelings, and attributes. Also, even with the book’s title, Margaretha doesn’t do very much spying.
Yet, anyone looking for a nice piece of YA fiction with danger, romance, and faith would do well to give The Princess Spy a try.
The Princess Spy is the fifth of Melanie Dickerson’s retold fairy tales.