Once a Princess (Sasharia En Garde) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is the first half of the "Sasharia en Garde" story. I would NOT recommend starting this book unless you also have the sequel, Twice a Prince (Sasharia En Garde), ready and waiting to be picked up as soon as you finish; this book ends right when the story really gets going!
Now, on to the review. Without giving too much away, Sasha, a princess born in the kingdom of Khanarenth on the planet of Sartorias-deles, has lived the last fifteen years of her life on Earth in California. Although a princess from another world, she doesn't act like it. On Earth she's a waitress who loves to read fantasy novels; they remind her of home. Sasha and her mother, Sun, or Atanial as she is known on Sartorias-deles, were forced to flee to Earth because of political unrest when Sasha was a child. They spend the next fifteen years constantly moving, changing names, and hoping that if and when someone comes for them from Khanarenth that it's Prince Mathias, Sasha's father and Sun's husband, and not one of King Canardan's people.
Sasha is sucked back through a portal to Khanarenth, against her will, by a couple of resistance fighters. There she learns that her father has been missing since she and her mother fled to Earth. Sasha's kidnappers want her help to find him. Sasha has her own ideas about what she wants to do though.
As soon as Sun realizes Sasha has been taken, she returns to Khanarenth herself with the intention of rescuing Sasha. She ends up a "guest" of King Canardan - as attractive and charming as she remembered him, he's still scheming and determined to hold on to his ill-gotten throne at all costs.
While Sun plots a way out of Canardan's clutches, Sasha ends up on a pirate ship with Zathdar, the fashion-challenged, but kind of attractive, pirate.
What follows are sword fights, intrigue, some heavy-duty attraction, and even a little bit of magic!
Overall, it's a light, fun read. Fans of Smith's Crown Duel (Crown Duel / Court Duel) (also set on Sartorias-deles) will most likely enjoy this book as well.
The story and the characters are fun enough, if a far cry from Smith's other books like the Crown duel and Inda series, but the plot is rather superficial. Again and again I found myself thinking that the author is asking for a lot of suspension of disbelief from me.
What I found hardest to believe is that a prince could have a double identity as a pirate admiral and even ends up fighting his own men, thinly disguised with a bandanna and colourful clothes. Not one of them recognizes his face? And nobody in the prince's entourage notices he's absent an awful lot - as he has to be playing pirate? As they say, if more than one person knows a secret, it's a secret no more.
End of spoilers
In conclusion it's an okay read if you're not looking to engage your brain too much, but if you're a critical reader, I'd recommend the Crown duel series instead (Crown and Court duet). Also keep in mind that you have to buy two books to get a story that could easily fit in one!