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Elena Likes Books

I am an avid reader of YA, fantasy, and romance, a librarian, and a writer of fantasy short fiction.

Currently reading

Cut & Run
Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Shel Silverstein
The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius
John Joseph Adams
The Thousand Names
Django Wexler
The Duchess Hunt
Jennifer Haymore

The False Princess

The False Princess - Eilis O'Neal 2.5 stars. This book reminded me strongly of something I would have read 10-12 years ago, before the YA speculative fiction field was so diverse, something that would have been at home with Robin McKinley, early Tamora Pierce, Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles, and Ella Enchanted. This is a book set in an as-generic-as-it-gets European-inspired fantasy world, and is about princesses and wizards, with some romance thrown in. If I had read it 10-12 years ago, I probably would have liked it quite a bit. But the field has exploded in the past decade, and this book is no longer up to snuff. Unlike the books/authors I listed above, this one wasn't terribly memorable.For me, "okay but a bit out of date and not memorable" would usually get a three-star review. This one got knocked down half a point because even judging it on the standards of a decade ago, this book has some flaws. I actually found the main character to be pretty consistently stupid. In the beginning, I expected that she would grow out of it, experiencing character growth. But I found the character growth to be very artificial--she accomplished things within the plot, but she did so using skills and personal qualities she had at the beginning of the book--basically, nerdiness and devotion to the kingdom.I also had a problem with the king and queen. Within the first pages of the book, they inform their faux daughter that her entire life has been a lie, that she's not really their daughter at all, and that there's some other girl out there who is going to come and be the princess for real. And they do it in a formal audience, sitting on their thrones and not making eye contact. And then some servants pack up a trunk of dresses, she's given a bit of pin money, and she's chucked into a carriage and dumped in nowheresville with an aunt who hadn't even known she existed. They do this to the girl who has been raised as their daughter for the past sixteen years. And yet, they are still portrayed as fundamentally good people who did what they thought best and made some difficult choices, as rulers must. WTF? No. Their treatment of her was outright cruel, and not understandable in the least.So, yes. This is a bland, generic fantasy with nothing new to offer. It's constructed well enough on the prose level, and might be worth it if you're feeling nostalgic for ye olden days of the YA genre circa 1998-2000, but otherwise I'd recommend giving this one a pass.