Book Review: The Last Princess
Happily ever after is a thing of the past.
A series of natural disasters has decimated the earth. Cut off from the rest of the world, England is a dark place. The sun rarely shines, food is scarce, and groups of criminals roam the woods, searching for prey. The people are growing restless.
When a ruthless revolutionary sets out to overthrow the crown, he makes the royal family his first target. Blood is shed in Buckingham Palace, and only sixteen-year-old Princess Eliza manages to escape.
Determined to kill the man who destroyed her family, Eliza joins the enemy forces in disguise. She has nothing left to live for but revenge, until she meets someone who helps her remember how to hope—and to love—once more. Now she must risk everything to ensure that she not become… The Last Princess.
A dark and deeply engrossing read, THE LAST PRINCESS is a post-apocalyptic study that will have you cringing in your seat when you least expect it. This is no Disney Princess story, no way… This is the dark side of royalty after life as we know has come to an end.
What a surprising little novel The Last Princess turned out to be. Sure, I expected it to be dark. It is a story about survival after a series of apocalyptic events have battered and darn near destroyed the earth. But what I didn’t expect was the brutality of the story. In the very first pages we are dealt with a blow that starts off a domino effect of events that eventually places the main character, Eliza, on a race for her life and ultimately on a race against time to save the ones she loves. With similarities to the historical downfall of the Romanov royal family, The Last Princess adds a bit more by putting this royal family into a post-apocalyptic time period when chaos reigns supreme and one girl must fight to keep those she loves (as well as an entire society) safe from a dark, new rule.
Eliza was a tough cookie to crack at first. Honestly, I kept forgetting throughout the story that she was a princess. Perhaps that was because of the fact that, due to circumstances, not much time is spent with her doing anything “princessy” or even remotely royal. Her family is forced to seclude themselves from the revolting public that wants the royal family to assume some responsibility for the battered state of society… Unfortunately for Eliza and her siblings (soon to be queen, Mary, and the youngest, James) their father, the King, may not be the man best suited to handle such a horrific situation. Because of this, Eliza is forced to head off on her own and to become one super tough cookie in a relatively short amount of time. Lucky for her she has skills with the blade and other defensive techniques, though I have no idea where that all came from, seeing as she is a “princess” (she does mention having some “training” in her life, though).
Each character is fleshed out fairly well, but in the end I still was not convinced about a few things. One: The love interest in the story (which felt too much like insta-love that was conveniently placed for dramatic effect) and two: Mary. Perhaps a sequel would help. The villain was spot on, though. Spot on and so eeevil.
I wish-wish-wish the author had spent a bit more time covering the “Seventeen Days” that brought about the current events in her book. But I suppose that placing us right into the middle of Eliza’s story and how she must fight for survival is more important than the death and destruction of the past and the “re-shaping” of the world. I find it terrifying to consider a word where fire falls from the sky and cannibals roam in the wild. The revolution painted a grim picture for the state of this society – and even in the end I couldn’t help but wonder how on EARTH one could ever move past the events of the book. It is a dark and deadly world that Eliza lives in, and you get to experience every bit of it along with her, bit by brutal bit. I also suspect that this is a story set not much later than our current time period, just set in an alternate version of our world.
This is one FAST PACED book for such a short story. Each fast scene leads to yet another fast paced scene. While exciting and surprisingly detailed for the number of pages, I felt that the story may have been a bit too rushed. In the end, I found myself wondering things like, “When was the last time Eliza ate/slept/etc.?” or “How on earth did she travel from London to Scotland so darn fast?”, etc. But still, I cannot say that it ever left me bored or wanting to put the book down. Too much was happening for that to even be an option. Just know that once you pick up this book, you likely won’t put it down until both you the reader and the character, Eliza, finally have a chance to catch your breath between events.
As you can see, I have given all components of this book an 8 in my review. This book is good, but does it break any barriers as far as the story goes? No. And for a story as devastatingly epic as The Last Princess could have been, I had hoped it would have broken those barriers. It is likely that you have seen individual components of The Last Princess in other stories. If you took the basics of the Romanov history, then mix that with a bit of McCarthy’s The Road, add in some Divergent, then top it all off with the craziest apocalyptic events you’ll ever find this side of 2012, you would have The Last Princess. Together, this combination of ideas makes for a highly entertaining read, though.
As a side note/warning: The brutality in this book, while not excessive, still may not be for the squeamish. It was borderline too much for a YA read – albeit realistic for such a destroyed world. On that note, I think that guys would enjoy this read as much as, if not more than, the ladies. DESPITE the title of the book.
A sequel is in the works, THANK GOODNESS. I know I will want to get my hands on it when it comes out. Why? Well, 1) to fill in some of the items I felt were lacking and 2) because the ending left the story so open, with yet another mystery hanging over our heads on the VERY LAST page, that I absolutely MUST find out what dangers await.
Posted on May 12, 2012, in Book Review, Four Star and tagged Book, Book Review, Dystopian, Four Stars, Galaxy Craze, Little Brown Books, London, Post-Apocalyptic, Princess, Romance, The Last Princess, YA, Young Adult. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.