PRINCESS BEN: Book Review

I picked this book up rather randomly off a library shelf based on the title. Though the cover art did not do much for me, I liked the promise of an interesting story that the blurb held, so I took it home. I’ve been on a bit of a YA kick lately – but have been disappointed by how formulaic the newer YA stories have become lately. Princess Ben, however, was something rather unique.

I really enjoyed this book – despite it being told in first-person (not my favorite). As it is sort of memoir-style, the past tense helps the first-person not be terribly annoying.

In an era when it feels like every new YA book is following a set “formula” it is incredibly refreshing to find one that steps outside of the mold. (besides it being told in first-person by a female character… it really did step away from the formula when it came to plot/story/characters)

This is not your typical love-triangle, macho heroine (who we’re not sure why she has two fabulous boys fighting/swooning over her), survival-of-the-fittest type stories.

Instead, Ben (Benevolence) is a reluctant princess, who at first gets everything wrong. She eats too much, she has no manners, she refuses to learn anything a princess should know, and she ends up putting her country in great peril.

Along the way, she learns some very hard lessons – mostly about herself – and has to make a concerted effort to change. This change is hard won, and comes about after great personal danger and trial. However, when she puts her mind to it, she shows herself to be quite capable of being – if not the perfect princess – then at least fully competent, intelligent, and able to learn from her mistakes. Which is why the reader will end up growing to love her.

Although here is a romantic aspect to the novel it is one of those slowly forming, subtle romances that comes rather reluctantly to the two main characters. There is nothing inappropriate or offensive about the way the relationship is told or the way it unfolds between the two characters who eventually end up falling in love. And I must admit, it was quite pleasant to read a YA novel with a bit of romance in it that will not in any way incite its readers to pick a “team.”

I gave the book 5 stars and would definitely read it again.

~ jenelle

One Comment

Jack

I’ve been eyeing this book for awhile, but never picked it up because it was about a princess who went by the name of Ben. Also, it was young adult, so I assumed it was like all the other princess young adult books. (Which you mentioned, a story about a macho girl who for reasons we don’t understand has two very dashing and wonderful heroes fighting over her.) But, it actually sounds like it might be good. I will have to add it to my list and give it a try. (I am like you, I don’t like first person view points…but if you don’t like them either and liked this book, there must be something good in it *grin*)

Thank you for the link you left on my blog! I am going to look into it, anything helps right now.

In answer to your questions about how I found authors to read my book. First I looked for authors who wrote the same genre. I mostly looked for ones who were kind of well known, but not famous. (For example, there is a man named Scott Westerfeld who wrote a Steampunk series, but he is very famous and I doubted he would have time or be willing to read and review a book by an unknown author.) Instead, I researched authors who were kind of just starting out, but had more books out than me. And who hadn’t self published.
Basically in my emails to them I explained I was a new author and was looking for anyone willing to read my book and write a review I might be able to put on the second book. (I made sure to mention that I wanted to put something of their review on the second book, that way they could let me know if they wouldn’t like me to.) I also contacted as many authors as possible. Some of them said they didn’t have time to read and review but would be willing to have me guest post on their blogs. Actually, only one author had the time,
So, that is kind of my advice. Usually you can find their emails on their websites, but sometimes I have found that if it isn’t there you can contact them through twitter or facebook an they are willing to send them. And I was surprised at how helpful most of them were. Even if they weren’t able to review they had advice they were willing to offer. (Actually, I have found it helps a lot to get in contact with at least one author who has a few books out and isn’t self published. It helps with marketing and also helps in keeping you informed what new books are coming out in what genres and what is doing well in the non self publishing world.)

I hope this helps! And I hope you can find an author willing to do it!

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