Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE PRINCETTA by Anne-Laure Bondoux

THE PRINCETTA

By Anne-Laure Bondoux (Author) , Anthea Bell (Translator)

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-58234-924-X
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Fifteen-year-old Malva, Princetta of Galnicia, has been educated by the Archont to chafe against the constraints of her position, and escapes her parents, the Coronado and Coronada, on the eve of her wedding. She and her maid Philomena, close as sisters, run away, are shipwrecked, rescued by fisherfolk and fall in with nomads from the steppes. The Archont turns out to be Malva’s sworn enemy, and pursues her through her many adventures. She and Philomena are separated about halfway through the tale, and the brave young Orpheus goes in search of Malva at her parents’ behest. Things get swirlingly complicated, with sea beasts, mysterious lands and new allies (a pair of twins, a silent giant, a girl named Lei from the harem of the Emperor Temir-Gai, who can heal but who speaks without articles). Stuffed as it is, the language is extremely clunky; characters appear and disappear without much development, and plot points tend to hinge on things previously unmentioned in the narrative. Additionally, Malva and Orpheus have little warmth or depth. Plodding and unsatisfying. (Fiction. 10-14)