Sunday, August 8, 2010

Persy -- The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison

In this world of fantasy, animal magic is both feared and hated. Anyone even suspected of the magic is burned at the stake. Prince George learns early on to hide his magic, especially when his mother, who also possesses the forbidden magic, ends up dead and he has no one to confide in.

Many years later, Prince George turns seventeen and becomes betrothed to Princess Beatrice to restore peace between the rivaling kingdoms. When he finally meets her, he finds her cold, and there's definitely something odd about her hound.

Prince George must try to earn Princess Beatrice's trust, and figure out the mystery of her relationship with her hound, Marit. Meanwhile, Prince George's father is dying of a curious sickness, and Prince George is having strange dreams...

I was very excited to read this book, and not just because of its beautiful cover. Mette Ivie Harrison also wrote Mira, Mirror, a retelling of Snow White that I found absolutely fantastic. So, naturally, I had high hopes for The Princess and the Hound. Unfortunately, they weren't all met.

The first half or so of the book was very good, though I figured it out way before Prince George did. Prince George, Princess Beatrice, and Marit are all okay characters, but there's not a bunch to them that makes them really likeable. The deeper George gets into the mystery, the stranger and just plain weird it gets. It almost seems like the author didn't take the time to really tie it all together. By the end of the novel, I was just tired and wanted it all to be over and done with.

If you don't want any spoilers, might not want to read anymore. But almost as soon as you meet Beatrice and Marit, you know what's going on, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Most of the time, Beatrice is your typical female character: always striving to show she's just as good, if not better, than all the men. And really, this is understandable. Her father wanted a son, so Beatrice did the best she could to accommodate him. And then when you realize Beatrice is actually Marit transformed into a human, it makes even more sense. She just doesn't know how to be human. And then when you meet the actual Princess (who has been transformed into a hound, and is Marit), she's not like that at all. She's meek and timid, but not exactly weak.

What really bothered me was the ending. Love ended up saving them all. Now don't get me wrong, I love love. Love is good. But the novels where the characters just have to have enough love bother me. They just do not make sense to me.

So I would definitely recommend Mira, Mirror, but not The Princess and the Hound. There are two more books that go along with 'Princess', The Princess and the Bear, and The Princess and the Snowbird. Both of them have the most beautiful covers, but I doubt I will read them. I hate it when books that don't interest me have such gorgeous bindings.


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