Friday, February 4, 2011

Princess Ben

Princess Ben
Catherine Murdock
March 2008

Benevolence is not your typical princess and Princess Ben is certainly not your typical fairy tale. With her parents lost to unknown assassins, Princess Ben ends up under the thumb of the conniving Queen Sophia, who is intent on marrying her off to the first available “specimen of imbecilic manhood.” Starved and miserable, locked in the castle’s highest tower, Ben stumbles upon a mysterious enchanted room. So begins her secret education in the magical arts: mastering an obstinate flying broomstick, furtively emptying the castle pantries, setting her hair on fire . . . But Ben’s private adventures are soon overwhelmed by a mortal threat facing the castle and indeed the entire country. Can Princess Ben save her kingdom from annihilation and herself from permanent enslavement?
This book, divided into four parts, was not exactly what I was expecting.

First of all, I absolutely loved Dairy Queen and The Off Season by Catherine Murdock. If you have not read them, I would definitely recommend them. While they may seem strange at first glance (at least, to me they did) they are definitely worth picking up.

However, I would not recommend Princess Ben quite as much as Murdock's first two novels.

That's not to say that it didn't have it's charms. I quite enjoyed reading about a character who has a similar addiction as I do: an addiction to food. I enjoyed her adventurousness and her stubbornness.

So, I enjoyed the characters. Ben was an interesting and complex narrator, and the other characters also had their unique qualities that I found intriguing.

However, the rest of it was just lacking for me. It took much too long to get into the novel- it wasn't until the beginning of part 2 that truly exciting things happened, and even when exciting things did happen, they all seemed sort of anti-climactic and- to be quite frank about it all- dull. It seemed almost like the ending of every part was the introduction to something that made me much more interested... and then it just flopped back into the same pattern.

The structure of having four parts, I think, is what I didn't enjoy. Simply because the elements of fiction didn't apply as they should have. There was a conflict, and complications, but the climax was nothing exciting and the conclusion was not really what was expected. It was almost like the author forced it to be a certain way so that there'd be a happy ending.

That being said, the book wasn't horrible. It just didn't have that spark of something special that Catherine Murdock's other books have. I would still recommend this book to fans of Gail Carson Levine, or if you've been wanting to read this for awhile I certainly wouldn't discourage you from giving it a shot on your own. It's just not going to go on my list of favorites.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy it as much ... and the title seemed to indicate it might be a fun read ...