All right, so this is a fairly typical classic epic fantasy comin of age princess story. It’s complete with a book nerd princess who loves to gossip. At the start of the book we’ve got our MC, Princess Cistine turning 20 years old which is apparently this world celebrates the end of childhood and into adulthood. Despite turning 20 I felt like this princess was really, really naive and immature for her age. I honestly can’t tell if this was purposeful or not, it might have been considering just how sheltered this princess has lived her life. Typically, both in real life and in fantasy novels, the heir to the throne usually has to go through some kind of royalty training before you hit the coming of age ceremony. Like, you sit in on meetings, you get to know the people of your land, you’re getting educated on all the different political nuances, maybe taking on some smaller projects on your own etc. Well, this girl has literally just been reading books, galivanting around with gossip being her main hobby in life. She’s at least aware enough to know she’s painfully unaware of a lot of the workings of the world.
So, her coming of age party is expected to be blow out party with half the kingdom in attendance. It was a perfect way for the King to disguise the fact that he actually needs to talk to all his lords and ladies because there’s war on the horizon. There’s been a very tentative peace that’s been held on to for years but could be coming to an end here shortly. Cistine has a best friend/guardian/mentor/personal body guard who tells her, hey, look, your birthday is actually just this veil to throw over the civilians eyes so they don’t get alarmed that all the generals and lords are here talking to the king. They sit there and eaves drop on the king and his plans and then go right against those plans by making a trip to the north to try and go save her country on her own terms. This is not a great idea, as naïve princesses with no worldly knowledge setting out on a quest is a generally fantastic way to get yourself kidnapped, and lo. She gets herself kidnapped, lol.
I did eventually set this one down since the pacing was going a little slow for me. Unfortunately, I don’t tend to connect to these younger, more impulsive characters that get themselves into trouble through poor decision making. I also really, really bounce off of hot-and-bothered UST (unresolved sexual tensions). Cistine has a love interest who she pines over inwardly a fair amount and there’s more UST than is my style. Sigh, and I really do not want to beat a dead horse but I also bounced off the word choice and prose style. This is more subjective than anything else, but I have a very hard time visualizing scenes with a writing style that predominantly uses adjectives/adverbs/descriptors and is less reliant on simile/metaphor.
Despite being a cut I’d say that the audience here would be YA readers with a big interest in Going on a Quest, Reluctant Heir, Coming of Age, and Classic Epic Fantasy