Written by Anne Osterlund
Published April, 2008 by Puffin
Genres: Historical, Medieval
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Princess Aurelia is next in line to rule the kingdom of Tyralt, but she would rather be one of the common folk, free to learn and roam and… not marry the next tyrannical prince that comes courting. Naturally, the king wants Aurelia to marry for political power. Aurelia wants to marry for love. And someone in the kingdom wants her . . . dead.
Assigned to investigate and protect Aurelia is Robert, the son of the king’s former royal spy and one of Aurelia’s oldest friends. As Aurelia and Robert slowly uncover clues as to who is threatening her, their friendship turns to romance. With everything possible on the line—her life, her kingdom, her heart—Aurelia is forced to take matters into her own hands, no matter the cost.
I admit the cover hooked me in long before I read the storyline. How gorgeous is it? While Aurelia is an interesting enough read, I wish the plot had been somewhat more suspenseful and quickly-paced to hold onto my interest tighter than it did.
The problem with me and historical fiction is that it is often too ‘slow’ for me to really get absorbed in. It’s just a matter of personal taste, nothing to do with the writing skill of the author. I’ve had a great amount of luck lately finding quick-paced, fun historical fiction that has started to change that opinion. However, Aurelia was a reminder of the things I’m not so fond of in this genre.
I don’t think the mystery was as predictable as some people are making out. Sure, there were a few things to be wary of and things that got you second-guessing the characters, but nothing too drastic. I wasn’t finding out the mystery sooner than our characters, which was good. I really hate when things are so obvious and the characters continue to be clueless!
As for our main couple; Aurelia and Robert, I enjoyed them. If you’re going into this one with high hopes of over the top romance and obvious courting, you’ll be disappointed. The relationship between Aurelia and Robert is there, but it’s discreet. While the character’s feelings for one another are certainly behind most of the choices made in this story, don’t expect to see it exactly ‘play out’.
I enjoyed Aurelia’s independence. I loved how she was able to defend herself when the time came, how she was able to use her power to get what she wanted (or sneak out!) and just how ‘normal’ she was beneath it all. She knew what was right and hoped to use her position to recorrect the wrongs.
Now, there is a second book coming out in April this year. Entitled ‘Exile’, it tells the story of Aurelia and Robert after the events of this book (obviously). I think I WILL be reading it, for curiosities sake. The premise intrigues me and I feel it may prove to be a more entertaining and thrilling journey than the first. Even so, this book could definitely stand alone without a second installment.
Recommended to: Fans of YA historical reads will enjoy this one!