Find it at a local indie!
- Why I read it: I honestly have no idea. My desire to restore my faith in the fantasy genre?
- Disclosure: Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley. Thanks!
In this coming-of-age story set in a medieval kingdom, Andrea is a headstrong princess longing to be a knight who finds her way to modern-day California. But her accidental return to her family's kingdom and a disastrous romance brings war, along with her discovery of some dark family secrets. Readers will love this mix of traditional fantasy elements with unique twists and will identify with Andrea and her difficult choices between duty and desire.Little known fact about me: Once upon a time, I hated all science fiction that wasn't Star Wars. Really. Hated with a passion. This was partly because the animatronic alien from Alien on the Great Movie Ride in Walt Disney World scarred me for life. It was also partly because I was fiercely loyal to the fantasy genre, and considered any speculative fiction without elves or magic to be a crime against humanity. If someone had told me that sci-fi would eventually be my favorite genre and the one I chose to write in when I'm not writing literary fiction (another genre I hated), I would probably invent a time machine and murder my future self, thereby paradoxically becoming the stuff of science fiction.
(See what I did there?)
I do still read and adore good fantasy. There are too many truly incredible authors of it, especially within the YA genre, to list. They continue to move the genre forward, experiment with old mythologies, and invent new ones. Unfortunately, as I realized halfway through the eighth Robert Jordan novel just before I put it down, there are also too many truly terrible, nigh unbearable authors of it. And not a lot of middle ground.
Now picture Maggie sitting in front of her computer, proud new owner of a NOOKColor, having just figured out how her NetGalley account is supposed to work. Picture her realizing that she is a college freshman. That her childhood is already gone and her adolescence is slipping very quickly away. Picture a very nostalgic Maggie reading the blurb for a fantasy novel and thinking, for old time's sake. Two Moon Princess, I convinced myself by its premise and the use of "unique twists" in the blurb, would belong firmly in the "truly incredible" category, and the Nostalgia Beast would be satisfied.
And now, after what is quite possibly the longest set-up in Bibliophila - Maggie's Bookshelf history, I get to the meat of review, and neatly sum up my thoughts in four words: Not so. Truly terrible.
Make that five words, because I should have gotten another truly in there. Not so. Truly, truly terrible.
We do not have a "mix of traditional fantasy elements with unique twists." We have a hot mess that could have been great, but has far too many tropes and twists and weak characters that I don't care about to come close to its "could have been." We have an obnoxious protagonist who acts more like a spoiled rotten ten-year-old than the teenager she is supposed to be. The plot and story universe are bent however they need to be bent to accommodate the story, without logic or coherence. We have a timeline that stretches far longer than I want anything but a Harry Potter novel to stretch, to the point where I was practically in tears wondering when it would end. To put it down would have been to admit defeat, because this was my nostalgia novel. This was my childhood. And it was in tatters.
And, in case you were wondering, the "disastrous romance" and "desire" mentioned in the blurb? Practically nonexistent. I had no idea who Andrea was supposed to be in love with until the very end, as everyone switches romantic partners almost as many times as the good/evil sides switch. Not exactly what gives me Romantical Tingles.
There are glimmers of hope, there really are. Andrea grows up - a little. We get a somewhat interesting explanation of the dynamics between stronger and weaker cultures. We get to see a different side of California than I've ever see YA explore. But they aren't nearly enough to counteract the horror of the rest. Next time I'm looking for a fantasy hit, I'll reach for Ursula K. Le Guin. Two out of five stars.