Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Review: The Princelings of the East

There are very few children's books that I will pick up and actually read. I can read young adult until my fingers are numb and my eyes scale over from reading too much. But the likelihood that I'll read most children's literature is very slim to none. The exception to this is The Last Apprentice Series by Joseph Delaney and now The Princelings of the East by Jemima Pett.

Although it is characterized as children's literature, there are enough similarities in Pett's writing style to that of J.R.R. Tolkien and Anne McCaffrey with just a hint of Brian Jacques that will make it a good read for all ages.

Summary:

The Castle in the Marsh is preparing for King Vlad's birthday when suddenly the power goes out and the royal chefs cannot finish preparing the food for the celebration. When it's discovered that another energy drain has lead to the King's dinner being ruined, King Vlad begins destroying the machines in the castle that he feels are consuming more than their fair share of the Castle Marsh's energy supply.

Knowing that something isn't quite right with how the energy is disappearing, Princelings George and Fred decide that it's up to them to find out just who or what is draining the energy supply.

Traveling through a tunnel near the castle causes them to become separated. Fred wanders off with a stranger he meets in the tunnel. George awakens later and begins looking for Fred, it isn't long before he realizes he is far from home. Nothing is familiar about this place called Castle Hattan; their machines, what they eat, and even how they live seems foreign to him.

George realizes that the tunnel he and Fred passed through while on their journey has taken them to another time. Separated in this strange new land, George and Fred must continue their quest to solve the energy crisis with help from the characters that they meet along the way. It soon becomes apparent to both George and Fred that the key to solving the mystery of the energy drain in Castle Marsh might lie within Castle Hattan.

Review:

This was an entertaining and quick read. The characters were easy to like, and as an animal lover I adored the fact that they were based on Pett's guinea pigs. George and Fred are inquisitive at heart and it's their curious nature that makes them excellent main characters; but Victor, the barkeeper, quickly became my favorite.

It was easy for me to settle into Pett's writing style; it's been a while since I've read anything by Anne McCaffrey or J.R.R. Tolkien, and Pett's writing is a welcomed reminder of how that style of writing can really add to a good plot-line. I have to say that I was impressed with the novel overall. Although it is for older children, it's still written in a way that will appeal to many adults.

The story itself starts off rather quickly, so it's important for readers to pay attention to the details; but the story wasn't so fast paced that I couldn't keep up.

Pett is the author and also illustrates each chapter. Definite bonus points there. The illustrations help to give the book a sort of whimsical feel that adds to the overall fun and adventurous element of the story.

The story wasn't extremely action packed but more of a mystery. Some parts were a little slower than others but in the end everything ties together nicely--including a side plot involving Victor.

By the end, George and Fred are convinced that they will go back to their boring, mundane routine after the adventure that they had at Castle Hattan. I have a feeling that that couldn't be further from the truth.

Rating 4.5/5

The Princelings and the Pirate, the second book in the Princelings of the East Trilogy is avaliable on Amazon.com. Look for The Princelings and the Lost City later this year!
Reactions:

2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much! It's great to hear what people think of your writing - and I hope I can learn from your thoughts. In case you want to get to know Victor better he is now blogmaster at http://guineapigging.wordpress.com

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  2. Jemima - Thank YOU! I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. I love Victor's blog, and I hope it's not too late to wish him Happy Belated Birthday! He is so cute!

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