Thursday, August 28, 2008

Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Ben (that's short for Benevolence) probably should have died with her parents on the first page of the novel, but instead, she was home in bed with a cold when the assassin from the neighboring country attacked her parents' traveling party. During the course of the next year, Ben learns to be a proper princess, discovers she has magic powers, and of course, because it's a fairy tale, realizes that she's fallen in love with the prince of the country that allegedly murdered her parents, kisses him and marries him just in time to stop her country from being taken over.

In a lot of ways this is just another fairy tale, but there are some scenes that are laugh-out-loud funny, and I really like the character of Ben, so for now, a MAYBE.


Katie said...

I am a much more enthusiastic YAY! I thought Ben's growing maturation mixed with the fiary-tale-with-a-twist made for a fabulous book. This one reminded me of a slightly less cerebral, but certainly as entertaining, McKinley tale.

Deb Motley said...

I liked it, too. It reminded me of Shannon Hale who is very popular here. I agree with Katie, that Ben's growth from total self-absorption, to acknowledging the reason for the queen's toughness made this a thumbs up for me.

kathy said...

Princess Ben is less than charming under Queen Sophia who is wracked with grief presenting a cold and unrelenting exterior. She develops into a likable character, strong throughout. Her methods of rebellion against her aunt are believable, although I gasped at her stinging retort about the queen's highest duty to her king. zing - ouch

I like the intertwining of other fairy tales such as the Jack's magic beans, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and probably others I missed. Princess Ben has the flavor of "Ever After" where she saves herself and others around her - partly through strength determination, errors and sheer dumb luck. How she returns to the castle after facing the army, I'm not entirely clear on (and neither is she) but the story wraps up nicely and satisfyingly. I am curious to see if this makes it to the top 20 - YAY

Allison said...

I we delighted to see that the queen didn't turn out ot be the ultimate villain. But of all of the fairytales retold books out there this didn't stand out a whole to me. I'm a maybe.