Author: Anne Osterlund
Series: Aurelia (#1)
How Received: bought
Princess Aurelia is next in line to rule the kingdom of Tyralt, but she would rather be one of the common folk, free to learn and roam and not marry the next tyrannical prince that comes courting. Naturally, the king wants Aurelia to marry for political power. Aurelia wants to marry for love. And someone in the kingdom wants her dead. Assigned to investigate and protect Aurelia is Robert, the son of the king's former royal spy and one of Aurelia's oldest friends. As Aurelia and Robert slowly uncover clues as to who is threatening her, their friendship turns to romance. With everything possible on the line, her life, her kingdom, her heart, Aurelia is forced to take matters into her own hands, no matter the cost.
Great First Line Alert: "Death disturbed the night."
Gorgeous cover? Masquerade carnival? Court politics? Headstrong badass female character? Clever badass romantic interest?
Let's face it, there wasn't going to be any way I wasn't going to love Aurelia. It's too damn good.
From the moment the book starts to the moment the book ends, Aurelia kicks ass. Not in the literal Katniss Everdeen way - she's not going around shooting people with a bow and arrow or anything - but in the way that dynamic, fully-fleshed out characters do when they're put in strenuous situations. She rebels. She manipulates. She's debates. She's clever and smart and wants to be a good leader, and I love her for that. She may have worked her ranks up to one of my favorite female characters of all time.
And Robert! Oh, Robert! (Yes, that was the sound of me swooning.) The romance between him and Aurelia is set up from the first pages, but seriously, watching the two of them was fantastic. He matches Aurelia in wits and cleverness with the added ability of swordfighting and a love of horses. If you expected me not to fall in love with him, you were wrong.
My only debacle is the plot - though I was conflicted about who the attempted murdered might be at parts, I was pretty sure of who it was throughout. And dang it all, I was right. There are too many overly-dropped clues, and the observant reader should be able to figure it out within the first few chapters. I would have liked a little more mystery!
Overall Rating & Final Comments: 9/10. Ignoring the predictability of the overarching plot - or maybe that's just me? - it's a fantastic world, and the brilliant characters more than make up for the plot oversights.
Cover Comments: GAH IT'S SO PRETTY. She looks like Aurelia should, and even though the mask doesn't match the one in the book - Aurelia wears a falcon mask - the dress does match, and the cover itself is so pretty that I'm willing to forgive it.
Aurelia or The False Princess?: I haven't done a comparison in a while! The False Princess reminds me a lot of Aurelia in terms of writing style and badass main characters, and both had slightly predictable plots. I think the choice wins in whether or not you prefer magic over court politics. For me, I'd choose Aurelia - I love me some magic, but I love court politics even more!
I have no idea what category to throw this over - it's a fantasy world, but it reads like it could be historical fantasy, so I'm tagging it as both!
Have you read it? How'd you like it? (Do you WANT to read it?)