Author: Anne Osterlund
Age group: 14-18
Rating: 7 out of 10
My third choice of book was inspired by a viewing of a fairy tale movie that came out in theaters this last week. I wanted a princess story and lucky for me I had already bought one in my shopping spree.
Aurelia is the willful and outspoken crown princess of Tyralt. While she worries about an itchy ankle at her sister’s coming out party something much more sinister goes on behind the scenes. The body of Aurelia’s taster is quietly taken away, another assassination attempt kept from the princess.
The next day the son of the king’s former spy master returns to the palace to investigate the attempts on her life. Robert once went to school with Aurelia in the palace and easily renews their friendship. Most importantly he is determined to protect her and discover who is behind the plot on her life.
Soon he is forced to tell her of the danger just to get her to stop foolishly putting her life in danger. Yet even with her help will he be able to discover the culprit before it is too late?
Betrayal comes from the most unexpected places in Anne Osterlund’s first novel. The plot will keep you guessing even as a tentative romance develops between Aurelia and Robert.
I enjoyed this book for the most part. Osterlund shows her story telling abilities well in this novel, weaving a mystery that does not reveal itself until the last moment. The romance felt a bit forced to me and the changing perspectives between Robert and Aurelia was sometimes confusing.
The part that probably bothered me the most was Aurelia’s habit of running away when something bothered her. Everything from an unintentional insult to an unexpected kiss sends her running. I wished to see her grow up a bit more in the course of the book.
Thank goodness Osterlund wrote a sequel, to come out in April of next year. Otherwise I would want to toss the book at a wall for the way it left so many questions unanswered.
It is an interesting coming of age story with a good mix of mystery, intrigue and romance. Aurelia sees more and more in the story how she would like to lead her country and how tradition can sometimes stand in the way of progress. She grows some but I am interested to see how she will grow in the sequel to come. I’ll have to let you know how I feel after I have a chance to read it.
Until then I would still recommend this book. I think many young readers can enjoy the writing style of Osterlund and her development of the plot. By April I hope to not be the only person awaiting the publication of the sequel: Exile.