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THE PRINCESS AND THE BEAR by Mette Ivie Harrison Kirkus Star

THE PRINCESS AND THE BEAR

By Mette Ivie Harrison

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: April 28th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-155314-1
Publisher: Eos/HarperCollins

Although this follows directly from The Princess and the Hound (2007), both stories are complete in themselves and can be read independently. This beautifully understated tale is of magic and “unmagic,” human and animal, forest and town. A bear and a hound circle each other, warily. He was once a king; she was once a princess. The bear does not know his magic yet; the hound is uneasy with hers. When they see unmagic (think antimatter) sucking the life out of their world, they both return to the past, to King Richon’s devastated kingdom, to save it. Richon the bear and Chala the hound move between animal and human existence; the relationships between animal and human, and the magic in being both, are exquisitely delineated, and the love story between the two strong protagonists is all the more powerful for being intensely restrained. There’s a fair amount of bloodshed and violence, but that, too, is understated. Not for every reader, but an absorbing tale for the right one. (Fantasy. 12 & up)