Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: The Last Princess

Galaxy Craze
Young Adult/Dystopian
295 pages
Available Now
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.

The 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.

Rating: 3/5


  1. I was intrigued by this concept and .. quite frankly, having "Princess" in the tittles is totally a selling point to me. However, I think I will wait until book 2 to see where the story goes and how it develops, seeing that you were not completely sold on the story...

  2. I love your analogy to a quick look through an art museum. It really gives me a good idea of the plotting. Like Danny, having Princess in the title is a big draw. I love royalty stories.

  3. There's something about this cover that I LOVE and I have thought that I want it even if its just for that. However I have seen a few reviews that say its mediocre, and could be so much more. So maybe I will wait for now. Still loving that cover though...

  4. I haven't heard of this one at all. Sounds a bit shallow for the first book. Too bad as it does sound promising. Still, I might check it out if I ever get the chance. I bet the next book is deeper. Great review! Did I say glad you're back and safe? I am!


  5. It's a shame that this book didn't blow you away! I was interested in it at first because I loved the idea of the English royalty in a post-apocalyptic setting but I've seen that a lot of people have been having the same mixed reactions as you. I usually like fast-paced books but it seems that this one might just be a little too fast-paced haha! Thanks for the review :)

  6. I hadn't heard of this one at all before your review! I like the premise, although it sounds as though it didn't really pay off in the end, so I may put this one on the backburner for now!

  7. I rated this around the same, Jenny! It had such a cool idea, but I wished we could've seen more of a developed side to Eliza too. She was such a sweet princess and I loved how she cared about her younger siblings -- so much potential! Same with the world :') But I'm really hoping that the second book will bring all too! *hopefully waits on the sequel*

    Beautiful honest review, Jenny! :) <3

  8. This book sounds very interesting and yes, I love the cover. I haven't heard lots about it. Too bad that there wasn't a lot of information, but I do like the sound that it's a quick read. I like that. Great review.

  9. The premise of this book sounds very intriguing, even if there wasn't quite enough info this time around.

  10. Danny - I'm hoping we don't bounce around quite as much in book 2 and get to know Eliza a bit better. Still, I enjoyed this one:)

    Alison - Thanks! Things just happened so quickly I couldn't quite keep up.

    Candace - I love the cover too, and it was a good story I thought. I'm still looking forward to book 2.

    Heather - Thank you, I'm glad to be back with power:) I'm not sure when the next book comes out, but I'll let you know if we get more information with it!

    Kim - Exactly! I'm all for fast paced books, but I missed out on so many details because it was so fast and that left me wanting.

    Leanna - It's worth a read I think, you may just want to wait until the next book to see if things develop a bit more. I did really enjoy Eliza though:)

    Mimi - I'm waiting with hope for the sequel too! I want to know more about the Seventeen Days.

    Nina - I blew right through it, so it kept me entertained for sure:)

    Amanda - I loved the premise, that's why I wanted so many more details--the world was so dark and gritty:)

  11. I want to read about these "sun-balls"!!! The book sounds super good and I always love a quick fun read...:)

  12. The cover and title of the book absolutely intrigued me and I love how it's set in futuristic London! I've read a few mixed reviews and most bloggers said it's too fast-paced as well. I hate reading books that miss out too much detail - I always find myself wanting at least a back-story provided, otherwise I just get a bit sceptical. However, it must have been a very adventurous read if you finished it in one sitting so I'm glad you liked it :)

    Another amazing review, Jenny!

  13. See here's my "issue".. I see the world 'Galaxy' and immediately back away! Like "no, no! Not aliens with THAT amazingly awesome cover!!!"

    But it doesn't sound as if it's a sci-fi based read... Still really sort of comes across as, "been there-done that." though!

  14. I've heard that its a quick read. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this that much! My sister loved it (but it was her first YA after all). Great review!

  15. This sounds like it'd be the perfect quick read for a Saturday afternoon. While I like to get emotionally invested in a story, sometimes I just like something quick and simple. Great review!

  16. hmm.. it seems like Eliza wasn't a very developed character. I really liked the cover for this book, but I'm not sure if i'll pick this up soon. Great review Jenny!
    - Farah @Majibookshelf

  17. Aw, I was so looking forward to this one. I'll still probably read it but on a day when I'm not feeling so critical :) It's too bad you felt that Eliza lacked depth and that the plot was so fast-paced that it doesn't give you time to process information.

  18. "...jogging through an art museum..."

    Okay, that made me laugh. I've read a lot of meh reviews for this one--sad because the premise is awesome! But, you know, if you can't connect with the characters and the plot is all go-go-go, it just doesn't earn the deep love of its readers.

  19. Tina - The sun balls were kind of strange - they were a link to the Seventeen Days, but that was it and they weren't really mentioned again.

    Beverley - It definitely kept me interested and I flew through the whole thing, there was just some detail missing that would have made the story a bit richer in my opinion.

    Ashley - I saw the word Galaxy and blinked for a minute as well, but it's the author's name and there are definitely aliens or space adventures present:)

    Tara - Exactly! I think it's worth a read, it just won't be one of those that blows you away:)

    Farah - She could have been, I just felt like I needed more time with her you know? Hopefully we get that in the next book!

    Z - I liked the fast pace, I just wish we could have slowed down in a few areas like the romance and the world building, things were just kind of there and then gone and we were off to something else.

    Mary - Hahaha I try:) I won't rush to buy the sequel, but I'll definitely be picking it up:)

  20. I haven't really considered this book, but think I might give it a go as a library read. It sounds interesting enough, but it's a shame a few aspects remains unexplored or underdeveloped. Still, hopefully the second book will deliver where this one hasn't. Great review, Jenny! :)

  21. Hi Jenny! I am back! I have just briefly seen this one around and didn't know much about it. I know that I would agree with you over the frustration on the lack of detail. Sun balls sound interesting, though. I kind of think the grit blowing away before it settles is not all bad, Call me chicken but I can only handle so much anxiety in my reads, especially right before bed!

  22. Awesomw review! I was totally consumed by Eliza transformation into a kick butt heroine.

  23. I had never heard of this before but it does sound like a unique twist on the Post-A type of story. I may have to recommend it to a friend who is more into these stories than I am :)

  24. I like apocalyptic books, but I'm a bit on the fence with this one. I'm thinking about waiting until the second book comes out before I make my decision. I like my questions answered! LOL I gotta have more info on those sun balls. I just know it would bother me.

  25. I must say that in spite of the obvious sounding flaws of the book, you've definitely managed to capture my interest. Eliza sounds like one of those characters whose story and character will gradually unfold. However, I reckon I'll probably wait until book two is out before I pick book 1 up, that way, the story may flow a little more seamlessly. Beautifully written review as always Jenny!

  26. I would have wished for more but it still sounds so cool :D And would want to try it

  27. oh, interesting review. I've read a lot of bad reviews for this one so it's kinda put me off from reading it, but I'm willing to give it a try. I have it for review from LB anyways, so I guess I should give it a try. . .

    Your review does sway me a little, though! May have to squeeze it in this week.

    Ashelynn @ gypsy book reviews.

  28. Fantastic review Jenny! That is sad that you weren't able to connect to the main character at all. The sun balls sound interesting, too bad they don't have a purpose.

  29. Love that simile of "jogging through an art museum"!

  30. GREAT review! I really want to read this, even though I do NOT have high expectations... (Maybe I'll love it, lol) But your review definitely made me want to read it! Sun balls falling from the sky? Sounds amazing, albeit random. ;) Sounds like you enjoyed it, and I'm hoping I will too! :)

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

  31. I don't like it when I don't connect with the main character. I can't really enjoy the story if I don't care what happens to them. Sorry this didn't turn out better for you Jenny. Great review. :)

  32. Your perspective on the fast pace of The Last Princess was more favorable than mine. I agree that it made for a shallow relationship with Eliza, but I never felt like I wanted to see more. It lacked those intriguing bits and pieces that made me want to slow down. Still, I like the concept of the book. I just wish it had been more successful in its execution.

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