May 04, 2011

WCOB: Wicked Cool Overlooked Book Wednesday

It's WCOB Wednesday!

Formerly the first Monday of the month, WCOB has moved to Wednesdays to give me a moment to gasp, "WHA!? It's a new month already!?" and do that sort of full-body shuddering thing one does when one has a lot piled on one's plate and fears one will never finish it. You know that shudder.

WCOB on Wednesday also enables me to pull out a WCOB more than once a month, if the mood strikes. Why would I want to do that? 'Cause I've been thinking. I read -- a LOT, but not all the books I read make it to the blog in a timely fashion. Some of them I find disappointing in the last chapter or four, some have a lackluster beginning. I tend to blog about books which get me all squee-y, but there's enjoyment in the other mostly squee-y or somewhat squee-y books I read, too, and sometimes when I've read them for a second time, it ups the squee. And so, from time to time, I will be sharing those books with you, too.

Today's WCOB is TWO MOON PRINCESS, by Carmen Ferriero-Esteban. I ran across this book in 2007, my first year serving on the Cybils judging panel. We had an overwhelming number of good books, but I was reviewing YA Fiction, instead of SFF, and the fantasy books with "princess" in the title got taken by the SFF crew, as was good and correct. Back then, I was geeking on trying to read the ENTIRE Cybils nominees list, so I did get my hands on this one, albeit briefly. When I saw that Tanglewood Press had put out a new edition with a photographic cover I was curious. Had the book fundamentally changed, or was this just a paperback facelift?

Reader Gut Reaction: The novel hasn't changed - Andrea is still a princess; restless, resentful and desperately rejecting the life forced upon her by being the daughter of a king. Comforted by her Tío Ramiro's sympathetic indulgence and his stories of lands where girls choose their fate, she really believes that she can escape the path of her life. When her plans for knighthood fail, she bides her time as the dutiful daughter and lady - and runs away -- for the second time. The first time, her father had to send soldiers to save her from freezing to death. This time, disobeying her Tío and finding a way through a section of beach she's been forbidden to explore, Andrea finds herself in a new world -- on another planet.

The old world setting of the novel is wonderful - Gothia, as a mirror medieval Spanish kingdom, is lovingly depicted. The clothing, family relations, and court intrigues are beautifully detailed.
Concerning Character: Characterizations in this novel are somewhat uneven, and it's easy to be confused about motives and actions. Andrea is deeply and relentlessly immature through much of the first half of the book. Though eventually she makes a sacrifice on behalf of her kingdom, it comes through an accident. Her impatience, naiveté and pouting lead her into many an unnecessarily complicated misunderstanding and trouble. Depending on the reader, this might be something which amuses or annoys.
Themes & Things: War is declared between the kingdom of Gothia, and the neighboring kingdom. Rosa's older sister - as stereotypically beautiful and capricious as Helen of Troy - is the alleged cause of the war, but as voices on either side are raised in the quest for peace, it is clear that some are fighting for the love of war alone.

In the broadest of terms, most people don't fight in wars for the love of killing, but it is clear that the author is making a point that "war is not the answer" regardless of any question.

If You Like...: Princess fiction is fun for most middle grade readers who grew up on fairytales and love the idea of lands far away, tiaras, princes, and possibly the odd fairy godmother. There's a bit of romance in this novel, but there's a bit of action as well. Princesses who have adventures and do things are even more fun! If you enjoy adventure and action with your princesses, you might also enjoy Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede, Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale, The Thirteenth Princess, by Diane Zahler or the absolutely stupendous non-fiction book The Thinking Girl's Treasury of Real Princesses, by Shirin Yim Bridges.

This published book was read via .pdf, courtesy of netGalley and Tanglewood Press.
You can find Two Moon Princess at an independent bookstore near you!


aquafortis said...

I think I remember reading this one! I like the new cover.

Diane Farr said...

Came across your site - where have you been all my life? - because I was searching for hits on my new YA paranormal, WICKED COOL. Pretty funny! Maybe you should consider it for one of your overlooked books! :)

Diane Farr

aquafortis said...

Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment, Diane! What a funny coincidence. :)