Monday, April 30, 2012

The Last Princess ~ Galaxy Craze (eARC) review

The Last Princess
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
May 1, 2012
295 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

After the Seventeen Days destroyed almost all that Eliza - and the rest of England (and likely the world - knew as modern civilization, people are left struggling for things they used to find commonplace. Clean water to drink is now a luxury, nearly all of the animals (save the snakes, worms and leaches) have died out of the forests, a coal powered train had to be brought out of a museum and used for transportation. Electricity is gone. People are scavenging for food.

Isolated from the rest of the world and what may or may not be going on there, Britain is a desolate place.

Meanwhile, though, Eliza and the rest of her family, the British royal family, is still living relatively well. They have more food than the others. They're still throwing a ball. It will be a far cry from the balls thrown for previous courts, but it's still a ball.

And it angers some people. Including the revolutionaries determined to overthrow the royals.

When blood is shed in the palace, Eliza is the only one able to escape. Determine not only to rescue her family - whom she hopes are still alive - but also to extract revenge on the man who has caused her grief, Eliza sets out on a journey. A journey that will cause her more pain, lead to more bloodshed and cause her to make choices she never thought she would have to make.

A great mix of a young royal - almost like Anastasia with shades or Marie Antoinette - with a bit Joan of Arc thrown in to the mix. With family relationships, friendships and personal struggles mixed in with the violence that comes and the post-apocalyptic Britain, The Last Princess should appeal to a wide audience - in both and gender.

With The Last Princess readers get a bit of the royal flavor - that bit extra that Eliza and her siblings enjoy thanks to their father being the King of England - but it's tampered  by the book being set after the Seventeen Days. While we never get an exact description of all that the Seventeen Days entailed, it all but destroyed the world. Britain is still reeling from it and trying to recover - and perhaps the King could make a few more concessions than he has.

Perhaps it's the way Eliza is forced to go out on her own and feels vengeful but it reminds me almost of Avi's Cripsin series a bit or perhaps of Darren Shan's Larten Crepsley series (just, you know, minus the vampire bit). I will say that Eliza seems stronger than both of those characters. (Likely due to her starting circumstance and the writers goal for the characters.)

The characters - Eliza, especially - in this novel are well written and their relationships are strong and not only make sense, but assist the story. The plot was great (a revolution much like the French moved to England after a sort of apocalypse) was incredibly logical and fun to read about. There were things that seemed to not ever get completely explained (like what the Seventeen Days was, who the Roamers were - or how they came to be) that left me wondering a bit and a few things were predictable. Other than that, though, things were greatly enjoyable and the little details (the lamps, the snakes, etc were nice inclusions.

While Eliza is a princess - and the title, of course, mentions that - The Last Princess' content should appeal to male YA (and possibly upper MG) readers as well. She's a female main character, but she's a tough  one - both physically and mentally - as she fights to make sure she is not, in fact, The Last Princess.

Rating: 9/10

thank you to LBYR and NetGalley for my egalley of this title

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