Received from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)Happily ever after is a thing of the past.
A series of natural disasters has decimated the earth. Cut off from the rest of the world, England is a dark place. The sun rarely shines, food is scarce, and groups of criminals roam the woods, searching for prey. The people are growing restless.
When a ruthless revolutionary sets out to overthrow the crown, he makes the royal family his first target. Blood is shed in Buckingham Palace, and only sixteen-year old Princess Eliza manages to escape. Determined to kill the man who destroyed her family, Eliza joins the enemy forces in disguise. She has nothing left to live for but revenge, until she meets someone who helps her remember how to hope-and love-once more.
Now she must risk everything to ensure that she does not become . . .
The Last Princess.
MY THOUGHTSThe Last Princess is a darker tale, presenting us with a futuristic London ravaged by seventeen days of unexplainable natural disasters to render it a barren wasteland plagued by poverty, unrest, and even cannibalism. However, in the middle of the ash and the rot stands the still beautiful Buckingham Palace, home to the Windsor royal family and symbol to those ruled by greed of what they crave most. Eliza’s story begins with tragedy, causing us to hit the ground running from the prologue and granting us not a moment’s breath until we reach the last page of the epilogue, swept up in a tidal wave of death, rebellion, and change as the royal family’s bountiful tables disappear and their beautiful fabrics turn to threadbare rags.
Eliza is a young woman who has our sympathy from the first page, watching through her eyes as her mother breathes her last breath after a successful assassination attempt, and she remains a young woman we root for throughout. Though we certainly care for her–the abrupt separation from her family bringing out our protective instincts–a connection to her remains purely superficial, our desire to see her reap her vengeance one we could attribute to any heroine experiencing the loss Eliza suffers rather than being a unique and poignant thread connecting us to Eliza herself.
Our reaction to the plot is similar to our more shallow relationship with Eliza, events extremely engaging but we seem to bounce from one situation to the next before we’ve really had time to emotionally invest and sink our fingers into the dark nuances of this story. Reading this first installment is a bit like jogging through an art museum; we’re able to cast quick, appreciative glances at the beauty or the pain depicted, but we miss out on all the exquisite intricacies we’d otherwise notice if we could take the time to stop and look. There’s so much potential in this story, the horror of Eliza’s situation right in front of us waiting to stampede across our hearts in shoes with spiked soles, but things move so quickly the grit doesn’t have time to settle, the wind caused by our rapid movement sweeping it off before that critical layer can build.
Overall, The Last Princess is an extremely quick read that’s easily consumed in a single sitting, we just can’t help but wish we were allowed to linger in a few places before we’re forced to move on with Eliza. So little information is provided with regard to the sudden rise to power of the man responsible for the queen’s death years prior, his army suddenly appearing thousands strong with little warning that trouble was even brewing to such a degree. Additionally, there are random “sun balls” that fall from the sky in this post-apocalyptic world, leftover remnants of the Seventeen Days, but they play such a minor role that we have to question the necessity of their presence at all. All the pieces that makeup The Last Princess are fascinating, and because they are so, we naturally want to know more about them only to find ourselves denied at every turn. Despite those flaws however, hope is ever present that book two will bring us the grittiness we seek, and give us those few extra moments to linger in Eliza's shoes.