By Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Brilliance Audio, 2008. 7 hours. Teen fiction
Princess Benevolence, or Ben for short, is the niece of the king, and as he and his wife have not produced an heir, she, after her father, is next in line for the throne. When Ben’s mother and uncle are killed and her father lost after a brutal attack, Ben is set to be her country’s next leader. Her aunt, the Queen Sophia, rules as regent until Ben reaches her majority, and seems cruel, evil, and utterly disappointed with Ben’s failures to act as Sophia sees is becoming for her country’s next queen. When she is locked in a tower, Ben finds an entrance to a room where she learns magic, and, once she has mastered a few spells, she attempts to save her kingdom from their neighboring kingdom, a ruthless country that has always wanted their land.
I listened to the CD version, read by the author, and while I didn’t always like her reading of it, it was satisfactory. I like how Ben is not the typical princess—she’s chubby, doesn’t like needlework or courtly duties, and has grown up somewhat distance from castle life. I didn’t necessarily find the romantic aspect of the story believable (I wasn’t sold on Ben’s attraction to her suitor, nor his for her), but as far as fairy tales go, it was enjoyable.
3.5 stars. Clean read.