Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Princess of the Wild Sea

Blakemore, Megan Frazer. Princess of the Wild Sea
January 24th 2023 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus
Harbor Rose is a princess who was cursed by a fairy, so to prevent the prophecy of war and death from coming true, her mother and aunts have taken her from the main part of the Lands of Lapistyr and hidden on Small Island with the eccentric residents, none of whom are children. It's an interesting but somewhat lonely life, and when a small boy is washed ashore, she is enthralled with Peter. He is only six, and sent back by the aunts, but remerges a short time later. He's now twelve, Harbor Rose's age, so she knows that there is something odd with her situation. Small Island seems like something out of the late 1800s, with pinafores over calico vests, and men in woolen vests. The aunts have magical powers, and Harbor wants to learn some of them, but is told she is too young. When things start to go wrong, and the danger that they have all feared seems to have found them on the island, Harbor isn't interested in trying to avoid pricking her finger. She tries to embrace her fate and fight it on her own terms. Will it be enough to fight the Frost and the other problems endangering Lapistyr?
Strengths: Like Wolk's Beyond the Bright Sea, Princess of the Wild Sea drops the readers right into a quirky and magical world. We accept that Harbor Rose is an exiled princess and enjoy seeing her interact with the townspeople and her family. We know that something bad is coming, but don't know exactly how it will arrive. There's a lot of feminine knowledge and power in Harbor's family, and I felt right away that no matter what occurred, they would be able to handle it. The twists on the classic tale were interesting, and I don't want to say too much about how the issues are resolved and spoil things! Blakemore knows her way around fantasy, with titles like The Water Castle (2013), The Firefly Code (2016) and The Story Web (2019). 
Weaknesses: I started this not knowing that it was a take on Sleeping Beauty, but quickly figured it out when the aunts starting having magical tea in scenes that reminded me Disney's Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather. 
What I really think: This is a perfect book for readers who like Barnhill's The Ogress and the Orphans, Ursu's The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy, Colman's The Gilded Girl, or other reimaging of classic stories with modern sensibilities and fantastical twists. 

Ms. Yingling

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