Received: ARC from publisher, via NetGalley
Read pages: 115 of 400
I was really torn about DNF-ing this book because it has SO much potential and I really wanted to love it. I felt invested in the idea of it and I had a real hard time accepting that the reality didn't exactly mesh up with my expectations.
Just take a look at all of these awesome points:
- An adorable cover
- A princess
- A mysteriously missing queen who, we later learn, was up to all sorts of secret things.
- A mad king mourning his missing wife
- A kingdom on the cusp of revolt
- Political intrigue!
- A gardener boy who accompanies the princess on her quest to find her mother and save the kingdom
Doesn't that sound great?!
But...eh, the princess, while nice enough, was mostly "stock cute orphan" mixed with "stock precocious girl" and I was never able to connect with her or even care about her. The mad king was more the pathetic king and I couldn't care less about the missing queen. Actually, I kind of hated her and I don't even know why considering I never even got to meet her.
The gardener boy had the most personality and potential, but he didn't have much page time. Charlie takes a bratty approach to dealing with him. I wanted her to hurry up and get to the burgeoning crush kind of MG boy-girl relationship, which I'm sure happened eventually. Or, barring that, I wanted her to at least be nice to him.
I guess I could have overlooked all that if the plot were interesting, but it was sooo sloooow. This book is massive at 400 pages long, but almost nothing important happened in the 115 pages I read. I only got a tiny smattering of rumors regarding the revolt, but there was no sense of imminent danger and the political intrigue bits were practically non-existent.
By the time I DNF-ed, Princess Charlie had only just managed to break into her mother's locked room of secrets. I need a more intrepid MC than one who takes over a quarter of the book just to figure out how to snoop.
The story was nice enough and maybe at that point things would have finally started happening and Charlie would have finally grown a personality, but I was so mired in a a sludge of meh that I could not force myself to find out.
Bookworm1858 explained my feelings perfectly when she said, "...this book did not [have magic]. Not magic as in a plot point but as in casting a spell on me while I was reading."
And that's it exactly. No magic.