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The Princess in the Opal Mask Paperback – October 22, 2013
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Lundquist’s debut YA novel combines elements of Cinderella with The Man in the Iron Mask to create a page-turner about twin princesses separated at birth. Told in alternating chapters by Wilhamina, the masked princess of Galandria, and Elara, a clever, resourceful foster child working as a servant, we follow their parallel stories as they intersect when Elara’s true identity as Wilha’s twin is revealed. Wilha has been promised to the prince of neighboring Kyrenica, a border country with whom Galandria maintains an uneasy peace. But political maneuvers set up Elara to pose as her sister on the journey to Kyrenica, while Wilha discovers that life as a commoner, although challenging, has many advantages. Meanwhile, Elara finds the power available to her as a ruler heady, and she steps forward as a thoughtful and decisive leader, unlike her twin, who has lived a life cowed by fear. With its swift pace, charismatic heroines, and all kinds of intrigue, Lundquist sets up a compelling and detailed history for her kingdoms, with legends of strong women rulers. Fantasy readers will eagerly await the promised second title. Grades 8-12. --Debbie Carton
Light romance and strong female characters make it an ideal choice for tween girls, and the dual viewpoint narration aids the plot's momentum. This delightfully fanciful tale will find a captive audience among fans of Gail Carson Levine.”
School Library Journal
Lundquist's debut YA novel combines elements of Cinderella with The Man in the Iron Mask. . . . With its swift pace, charismatic heroines, and all kinds of intrigue, Lundquist sets up a compelling and detailed history for her kingdoms, with legends of strong women rulers. Fantasy readers will eagerly await the promised second title."
A novel of royal intrigue.”
This fairy tale, told from the alternating perspectives of Wilha and Elara, is engaging and action-packed...plenty of intriguing twists to keep the pages turning. Fans of romantic fantasy will be left begging for a sequel.
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I really liked the POV from both Elara and Wilha. You get to see into both of their worlds and see what each one is going through and feeling. I really can't wait to read the second book. I had to make sure that I ordered it right away.
Secondly, the books are incredibly well written. The writing is flawless, the pacing excellent, and the characters are well rounded. Their weaknesses and strengths naturally unfold with the story and the reader finds him/herself completely engaged and deeply invested in their lives. I immediately cared about them and everything that happened to them. It's been a long time since I cared so deeply about characters in a book and it felt good to be so completely pulled into a story.
What I loved most about this book, however, is that the story stayed with me. I thought about the world Jenny Lundquist created long after I left it-- I missed the main characters and couldn't wait to dive into the second book. Then, once I finished the second book, I was blown away once more (which I'll cover in my review of The Opal Crown) by the depth and emotion of this story.
I went into this story looking for a fun, clean YA fantasy and I came out so grateful for writers like Ms. Lundquist. She not only created a tale rich in imagery, character and world building, and emotion, but the story leaves the reader thinking about the importance of choices and the ripple affect our decisions have on those around us, the value of family and loyalty, the importance of honesty and the courage it takes to be honest even when you fear what may come from it, and so very much more.
Thank you, so much, Ms. Lundquist. In reference to your last comment in The Opal Crown's acknowledgments, I have to say you absolutely did the story justice in every possible way. I'll be recommending this book and it's sequel to everyone I know.
Just like The Birthstone books by Melanie Atkinson, (Sea dweller and Heiress) I would love to see this book made into a movie.