Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Princetta

So we all know the story about the rebellious princess who runs away from home because no one *~understands her~*. She's a special snowflake, and once she's out of the restrictions of royal life, she blossoms like the rare exotic flower she is, and finds true love with scenes bordering of stuff from a Harlequin novel, blah blah blah. The Princetta by Anne-Laure Bondoux takes the idea of a runaway princess and plays it out a bit more naturalistically. Our heroine, Malva, is the princetta of Galnicia, which seems to be sort of based on Spain. The whole world of the story is a skewed version of our own, but with enough alterations to make it its own place. Anyway, Malva is not content to live the life her parents have planned for her. And, to be fair, her dad's kind of a jerk, mocking her writings and making her burn them. I mean, jeez. And so Malva and her handmaiden Philomena escape with the help of Malva's tutor, the Archont. Free to explore the world, Malva makes her goal Elgolia, a mythical land she hears about in a sailor's tale. But her quest is hindered by the vastness of the world and the enemies it holds, as well as by the rescue mission mounted by her parents which includes among its members the young sailor Orpheus, who provides the second viewpoint of the story.

So I really like that while Malva is a rebellious princess, she's also not stupid and is mostly not so stubborn that she ends up shooting herself in the foot. Realistic consequences ensue from Malva's decision to run away. She's not perfect, and she suffers, and she learns from what she endures. The whole sequence in the Archipelago was well-done, and while Malva and Orpheus are the main characters, the supporting characters on the Fabula were all sufficiently developed that their struggles and sacrifices were moving. The ending, too, was original and executed well. I honestly didn't expect it, but it worked for the type of story which this is.

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