Monday, April 21, 2014

The Wolf Princess

The Wolf Princess is a middle grade contemporary fairy tale of sorts by Cathryn Constable.

Sophie, orphaned without a family and only a distant friend of her late father’s as a guardian, lives at a boarding school in London most of the time.

Yet she dreams of snow, of silver forests… of Russia.

Her friends, fashionable Delphine and academic Marianne, are the only things that make life at school pleasurable.

Yet Sophie’s mind still wanders to winter and log cabins warmed by a roaring fireplace…

When, as if by magic, Sophie and her friends are offered a trip to Russia she cannot believe it.

And then when a blizzard leaves the three abandoned and fearing for their lives, they are rescued by a lovely, regal, mysterious princess named Anna Volkonskaya who takes them to a magnificent, dream-like winter palace that is now in disrepair.

Among the wild white wolves and snowy surroundings, Sophie feels her dreams have come true.

But underneath she cannot help but wonder - why is she here? Has the princess truly rescued them… or placed them in more danger?

For some reason, before I read it, I had thought that The Wolf Princess took place in a different historical period and was actually more of a traditional, but new, fairy-tale.

Personally, I feel the cover supports that belief – but girls in contemporary times can wear dresses too, I suppose! Ha!

Anywho, as you bibliophiles know – when you’re expecting one thing and get another, it can be a little disconcerting. It can either be for the best… or not.

Sadly, I had a very tough time becoming involved in The Wolf Princess.

Just like in Tandem, I felt there was a level of self-pity to the main character – dare I say whininess? – that left me rather cold. I’m not saying being an orphan doesn’t mean you’ve had a tough time of it, but it just didn’t work in making me sympathetic.

Also, the plot was unbelievable without being entertaining to me. The characters didn’t feel fresh or captivating in any way. Sort of cookie cutter, floating blobs of cliché descriptive adjectives.

Just as with Tandem, The Wolf Princess has fans – and you should read it for yourself! Possibly younger girls may enjoy the twist of the story and find Sophie a likable protagonist.

On my end, I did end up having to skim it (I know!! But so many books, so little time!!!) and except for the glittering sense of winter and wolves, nothing felt truly distinct to me.

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