- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 9, 2008

Princess Ben” is about a princess named Benevolence who becomes the heir to the throne in Montagne after her uncle, the king, and her mother are killed and her father goes missing. The author creates the setting in the medieval time period. In this fictional story, the author shows excellent examples of maturing and becoming self-aware, as Ben learns life’s valuable lessons. She experiences the loss of loved ones, anxiety and love; all in this book that keeps the reader turning the page.

Even though this book had many lessons, there was one lesson that stood out the most. Princess Ben finally learns not to be judgmental. She had become critical of Queen Sophia (her uncle’s wife) because she and Princess Ben’s mother had never gotten along due to personality collisions.

After losing her parents, Princess Ben moves into a castle where she begins a new life in “princess training.” At first it is hard for Ben to adjust to this new lifestyle because she is more down to earth than any other lord or lady or queen that roams the corridors of the castle. But she finds a broom and a spell book that help throughout the story in many ways.

The part of the book that had me turning the pages the fastest was at the end, which I considered to be the climax of the book.

We all know that princesses get their princes, but they have to go through a lot before they are able to live with one another, and you cannot have eternal happiness-ever-after because life always has tough patches.

My favorite part of this book (without giving too much away) is when Princess Ben gets her prince after many hardships and rude remarks from both sides. In this scene, there is so much passion and raw emotion. I hear a picture is worth a thousand words, but it takes much more vivid language for an author to paint a picture in the reader’s head.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read something with meaning rather than just a splatter of words, and one who likes the story displayed before their eyes. I think this book would interest girls more than boys because it is being told from a girl’s perspective. However, there is always some piece of action that keeps the book alive and attention-grabbing.

I would recommend this book to some of my friends because it takes the medieval time period, an older setting, and brings it to the future by adding a modern twist to the plot.

RATING: Three stars

BOOK: “Princess Ben: Being a Wholly Truthful Account of Her Various Discoveries and Misadventures, Recounted to the Best of Her Recollection, in Four Parts”

AUTHOR: Catherine Gilbert Murdock

PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Co. (May 2008), hardcover, 344 pages

READING LEVEL: Young adult

PRICE: $16

INFORMATION: hougtonmifflin.com

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