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Book Review: The Last Princess

The Last PrincessThe Last Princess
By Galaxy Craze
May 1, 2012
Ages 14 and up
Poppy/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Reviewed: Hardcover Copy

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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.

JENNA’S REVIEW

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.

Plot: 8

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.

Characters: 8

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.

Setting: 8

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.

Pacing: 8

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.

Style: 8

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.

Grade: 90

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Make it a Movie Monday (13) + Giveaway: The Immortal Rules

This meme is a way to discuss the books that have made their way to film, or to talk about the books we wish would be made into a movie. You are open to talk about any book out there in any way that you want. For example: Who would you have play the leads in the movie? Who would direct? Animated or live action? Etc. For more info about how to include your own Make it a Movie Monday (MiaMM) on your blog, click here.

This week my meme will focus on The Immortal Rules – This book was a daring, new direction for Julie Kagawa, author of the Iron Fey series. Luckily, The Immortal Rules is a brilliant dystopian story that has already been optioned for film. Here’s hoping that it actually makes it into production and to the big screen! Needless to say, I am beyond thrilled to showcase this title on my Make it a Movie Monday. Click here to read our review of The Immortal Rules.

We’re giving away a finished copy of The Immortal Rules!
Entry information is located at the bottom of this post.

StartersThe Immortal Rules
By Julie Kagawa
April 24, 2012
Harlequin Teen
Author’s Website
Purchase from Amazon

In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity. Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die…or become one of the monsters. Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad. Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike. But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

Jenna’s The Immortal Rules Dream Cast:

Brenda Song Orlando Bloom Colton Haynes

(Left to right)
Allison Sakamoto – Brenda Song – Actress, Singer (The Social Network, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody)
Kanin – Orlando Bloom – Actor (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Zeke – Colton Haynes – Actor (Teen Wolf)

David Carradine Christopher Walken Cillian Murphy

(Left to right)
Jeb –
David Carradine – Actor, Deceased (Kill Bill)
Sarren – Christopher Walken – Actor (Pulp Fiction, Balls of Fury)
Jackal – Cillian Murphy – Actor (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight)

Enter to Win a copy of The Immortal Rules!

This giveaway is OVER. Congratulations to Sara Slattery, who won the finished copy of The Immortal Rules! You have been emailed. Please respond to the email within 72 hours or a new winner will be selected. Thank you to all who entered and commented below!

STARTERS: Author Interview + Giveaway

STARTERS
By Lissa Price
March13, 2012
Random House / Delacorte Books
Author’s Website
Order from Amazon

Read Our Five Star Review

In the future, teens rent their bodies to seniors who want to be young again. One girl discovers her renter plans to do more than party–her body will commit murder, if her mind can’t stop it. Sixteen-year-old Callie lost her parents when the genocide spore wiped out everyone except those who were vaccinated first–the very young and very old. With no grandparents to claim Callie and her little brother, they go on the run, living as squatters, and fighting off unclaimed renegades who would kill for a cookie. Hope comes via Prime Destinations, run by a mysterious figure known only as The Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to seniors, known as Enders, who get to be young again. Callie’s neurochip malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her rich renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, even dating Blake, the grandson of a senator. It’s a fairy-tale new life . . . until she uncovers the Body Bank’s horrible plan…

THE INTERVIEW:

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a big believer in dreaming big because whatever it is you want to do, someone has to do it. But of course hard work is part of it. But if you love what you’re doing, then you’re on the right path. I love that I get to write books now and transport readers to this place in my head that combines with their vision to make an entirely new experience.

What do you do when you’re not writing? (For fun, that is!)

I’m not sure I can picture a time when I won’t be writing 24/7 as so much going on now. But back before the book sale, I used to love kayaking, snorkeling, swimming (seeing a theme here?), travel that involves wildlife, films, going out to eat with my friends, and NBA basketball (watching, not playing).

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you either growing up or as an adult?

I was influenced by so many books, but most recently by THE HUNGER GAMES and the UGLIES series. I read many YA  science fiction and fantasy books before I started writing my own.

What are you currently reading?

Ha, you think I have time to read now? I have a huge TBR stack and at the top is CINDER, WHAT’S LEFT OF ME, and many more. But with ENDERS at the first stage of revisions, two e-shorts to write, and other projects in the future, my reading time has been limited.

Regarding STARTERS, what inspired you to write a book that essentially pits the world’s youth against the elderly? How did you come up with this idea?

I was trying to get a flu shot and found out there wasn’t enough. So the government set up a triage system and only the very young, the very old and the infirm could get it. I went away thinking what would happen if this were a killer flu, how there would only be the weakest members of our society left. What would that landscape look like?

And there were the beginnings of STARTERS.

What was your favorite chapter (or part of the book) to write and why?

Probably the confrontation between Callie and The Old Man at the end. Because when it came to me, it felt so deliciously creepy.

Can you reveal anything about the next installment? *eye wink*

Just that you will have more big surprises!

Tease… Well then, if there is ONE THING you would like readers to know about the STARTERS, what would it be?

I was happy to learn from my national tour that STARTERS has broad appeal. Of course I wrote it with teen girls in mind, but it is also appealing to boys from middle grade to teens, to adults.

If you could live to be 200 years old, what would you do to pass the time?

I’m living life at warp speed right now, with little time to do normal things like exercise. So I’d have no trouble filling up time – I’d write more books!

This is your debut novel. How has the road to publishing been for you? Is there any memory that stands out?

I have been so lucky, I’m very grateful to all the wonderful people – agents, my editor, everyone at my publisher, librarians, booksellers, bloggers and newspaper reviewers. And to Kami Garcia for giving me that wonderful quote. I have also just received another quote from Dean Koontz.

The highlight might be getting the call from my agent that the 10-publisher auction had been called off because Random House made a pre-emptive bid at 8:30 at night.

Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate. Life’s too short for vanilla.

Pepsi or Coke? Diet Coke with extra lemon.

Tom or Jerry? Peeta.

Is there anything more you would like to say to fans?

Yes, we hope to announce some film news in the next couple of weeks!

LissaPrice.com (Free Game & Cover Apps) |  StartersBooks.com
Facebook (Contests & News) | Twitter

Enter to win an ARC of STARTERS!

One winner will receive an ARC of STARTERS.
Open to US residents aged 13 and older only.
Giveaway ends at midnight on Tuesday, May 15, 2012.