Thursday, July 9, 2015

A True Princess by Diane Zahler

Living as a servant on the Jorgen's farm is not easy for twelve-year-old Lilia. But Lilia's hardship is subdued by her deep friendship between two of the Jorgen children: Kai and Karina. One day Lilia overhears Mrs. Jorgen say that they need to sell Lilia. Upon hearing this, Lilia decides to runaway to the Northern Kingdom. As Lilia is sneaking away, Kai and Karina show up to join Lilia on her quest. However, problems arise for the group when their trail leads them to the dangerously enchanted Bitra Forest--the Elf-King's domain. While they travel through the forest, Kai is entranced by the Elf'-King's daughter and joins the king's spell-bound, stolen children. Lilia and Karina escape, but it is up them to find help in the Northern Kingdom to rescue Kai and the other children.

Zahler mixes Hans Christian Andersen's "The Princess and the Pea" and Goethe's poem "The Erl-King" to create this suspenseful, middle-grade read. Because of the combination of these two tales, Zahler addresses two driving themes in her book: uncovering a person's true identity and avoiding the deadly enchantments of magic. Lilia leaves her servitude to uncover a life that most likely started in the Northern Kingdom. This is due to her looks and her baby blanket. But when Lilia loses Kai to the Elf-King, Lilia's love for him causes her to place her plans on hold until she can rescue him. A True Princess is a great fantasy read showing the importance of fighting for friendships and searching for family. Appropriate for ages 9 and up.

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