The Princess in the Opal Mask: A Book Review

Hello!

Quick note before the actual review: While I am super excited to write up some other types of reviews {like my first “Making the Grade” HERE}, I thought it would be best to space them out with some regular ones too! Hence, today’s post :)

The Princess in the Opal MaskTitle: The Princess in the Opal Mask

Author: Jenny Lundquist

Published: October 22nd, 2013 by Running Press Kids

Pages: 352

Genre: Could be considered Young Adult and Middle Grade / Fantasy

Source: Sister {a huge thank you to her!} / Paperback

Series: The Opal Mask: Book Two comes out in October!

Summary: Orphaned as a child in the crumbling village of Tulan, Elara is determined to learn her true identity, even if it means wielding a dagger. Meanwhile, in Galandria’s royal capital, Princess Wilha stands out as someone to either worship or fear. Though no one knows why the king has always made her conceal her face—including Wilha herself. 

When an assassination attempt threatens the peace of neighboring kingdoms, Elara and Wilha are brought face to face . . . with a chance at claiming new identities. However, with dark revelations now surfacing, both girls will need to decide if brighter futures are worth the binding risks. {from Goodreads}

My Thoughts: I used to be a huge fantasy/fairy tale reader, but as I went into the YA genre, and read more and more of it, I’ve noticed that my fantasy reading has most definitely declined. Granted, I have quite a few fairy tale themed novels that my sister has recommend waiting in my always large to-be-read pile, but nevertheless, fantasy is one of my more overlooked genres. And, so, I decided to try out Jenny Lundquist’s The Princess in the Opal Mask {It even made my fall TBR list!}. While the gorgeous cover is quite memorable, I can’t say the same about the story. It was enjoyable, yes, but after finishing it, I couldn’t help but want something more.

Elara is an orphan, stuck with a riches-obsessed “foster” family. More a servant than a daughter, she wants nothing more than to learn of her own background. In the palace, Princess Wilha is having difficulties of her own. Always asked to wear a mask in public, she too wants to know more about her past and rid of the rumors that her face is both a curse and a blessing. The basic premise of this story caught my attention right away; I really wanted to know the connection between the two girls and why in the world Wilha needs to wear a mask all the time! However, the actual plot lacked a lot of development, especially for the first book in a series. I’m perfectly fine with cliffhangers {book anticipation is the best, yes?!}, but loose ends with no seemingly continuation just doesn’t cut it for me.

The characters were another element I had mixed feelings about. I loved Elara’s attitude – she took everyone’s false {or only partially true} stories with a grain of salt until she could figure it out on her own. She was also a refreshing character to read about, as she was independent and fierce. {yay! :)} Wilha also had some positive qualities to her. She, out of the two, showed a lot of growth in finding herself, and I hope we see more of that in Book Two. However, with both girls, I never felt the emotional tug that usually makes me love a book. At the end of the story, I was almost at the point that I didn’t truly care what happened to either of them. It sounds bad, I know, but it’s true.

While the plot seemed a bit rushed and all over the place, it’s no match to some of these characters’ ranging personalities. Specifically, I was frustrated that the prince acted like two entirely different people depending on the situation. This can be done well and even add to the character’s development, but done poorly, it disrupts the consistency of the story.

Overall, I think my major complaint with this story is that it just wasn’t memorable. The plot needed some work, and although the main characters were solid, many of the supporting characters had nothing going for them. I plan to read Book Two {or at least skim it} because I want to see how Elara and Wilha end up, and hopefully, I will find something to love, and not just like.

Pros: The two main characters had some great chapters together, and I really enjoyed seeing Wilha’s growth as a person and reading about Elara’s quick-witted personality.

Cons: The supporting characters that were crucial to the storyline either needed more fleshing out or not disappear halfway throughout the story. I also wished the plot had more development, so readers weren’t left with some many loose ends.

Heads Up: Nothing big.

Overall: I give it 3-ish stars {***}, and I recommend it for ages 12 and up.

Have a wonderful night!
Bella

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