!EBOOK ⚔ Princess Ben: Being a Wholly Truthful Account of Her Various Discoveries and Misadventures, Recounted to the Best of Her Recollection, in Four Parts ♫ PDF or E-pub free
!EBOOK ⚔ Princess Ben: Being a Wholly Truthful Account of Her Various Discoveries and Misadventures, Recounted to the Best of Her Recollection, in Four Parts ⚖ My gown suited me as well as I could ever hope, though I could not but envy the young ladies who would attract the honest compliments of the night My bodice did not plunge as dramatically as some, and no manno man I would ever want to meet, surelycould fit his hands round my waist What I lacked in beauty I would simply have to earn with charm Benevolence is not your typical princessand Princess Ben is certainly not your typical fairy tale With her parents lost to assassins, Princess Ben ends up under the thumb of the conniving Queen Sophia Starved and miserable, locked in the castle's highest tower, Ben stumbles upon a mysterious enchanted room So begins her secret education in the magical arts: mastering an obstinate flying broomstick, furtively emptying the castle's pantries, setting her hair on fire But Ben's private adventures are soon overwhelmed by a mortal threat to her kingdom Can Ben save the country and herself from tyranny?
I have got to say this keep me up at night Literally The urge to read the last word was so great I forced my eyes to pry open At first it was slow going, but that was understandable We needed the whole background I had mixed feelings going in because I had already gobbled and enjoyed reading Dairy Queen and The Off Season by the same author This series has one of the best protagonist I've seen in young adult books, so my expectations were almost unreachable but I was pleased to find that I was thoroughly satisfied This is an incredibly different style for this author, but when you are gulping the pages down you forget that Murdock has great talent; that much is for certain.One point that has to made is that this has the typical fairy tale elements but at the same time it doesn't Let's talk about what made it so different from the others First off our heroine is rotund Not the typical princess protocol It was refreshing to see, but at times got to be too much for my taste Don't get me wrong I love food, but you got to draw the line somewhere I think it was to show how much she indulged herself, so it was reflective of her behavior in general Anyways Ben (or Benevolence) is a bit whiny and well frankly immature in the beginning, but I for one liked that Most of the time the princesses are almost already perfect Which is fine, but can get boring sometimes At the end we find that she had a lotto do with her own predicaments than what she thought Kind of like owning up that you have a lotto do with what happens in your life than anyone else That's a fine lesson to learn at any age.I truly enjoyed the magic in the story I want to own the mirror in that tower darn it!(You'll see what I mean when you read it) The plot was done well, even though I would have likedcharacter development in Prince Florian We didn't get to see as much of him as I would have liked You could see some things coming from a mile away, but you always need a little predictability in fairy tales I can't finish without saying that Queen Sophia is the most interesting character in the book by far Props to the author for being able to show us the many shades of her persona.So go forth fairytale lovers! Enjoy, savor, and relish in reading the tale of Ben. YA alternateworld fantasy Chubby Princess Benevolence had a scrappy, indulged childhood: she was heir to the throne, but she was the daughter of only the king's younger brother, and therefore didn't actually have much to do with the court When her parents are killed and Ben falls into the custody of her pitiless aunt the queen, she is entirely unequipped to deal with the strict and interminable lessons in courtesy, the tiny portions of ladylike food her aunt allows her, or, when relations with her aunt reach an impasse, her imprisonment in a bare tower room for everything but meals But that little stone room has a secret, and soon Ben is learning magic from on an old and dusty book magic that gets her in worse trouble than she's ever been in, but might also allow her to save her kingdom from the danger besetting it.For most of the length of this, I thought it was a fun read not great, but inoffensive and nice, in a notquitefairytalethemed way My only real complaint was with the narrative voice: the frame is that the heroine is recounting these events as an old woman, and the voice really did feel like an old woman's Which is a valid style, but not what you expect from YA, especially given the very contemporaryYAish cover.I finished it with some niggling annoyance at a couple of character choices, but still with the impression that it was a fun, harmless read But the niggling annoyance has grown, to the point that I'm actually angry at the book at this stage and I didn't think I'd cared about it enough to be angry, but there.The general gist of the book's message is that people aren't blackorwhite, and that a rather immature sixteenyearold's idea of wickedness is probably going to be rather overblown Ben grows up a lot over the book, and realises that she's been doing several people rather an injustice, and making things worse for herself In particular, she realises that the queen is actually admirable in a lot of ways, and that a good part of why they got on so badly was Ben's own immaturity and stubbornness Which, all right, as far as it goes, complex characters are a good thing except that the queen doesn't have any similar revelation, and never suffers or feels badly for her treatment of Ben She locked up her niece for months and denied her enough food to eat To turn around and say that this was her niece's fault and they're all going to get on like wildfire now that Ben's grown up some is, actually, incredibly disturbing.The other character I wanted to strangle was the love interest, a prince from the warlike kingdom over the other side of the mountains He and Ben fail to get on from their first meeting, and continue failing to get on through all their subsequent meetings The author seems to be working with the idea that enmityturnstolove isinteresting than admirationturnstolove, but the thing is that there has to be a reason for the enmity to turn to love Prince Florian is a warmongering, arrogant, petty boy, who treats the heroine appallingly when he knows who she is, and evenappallingly when he thinks, as he does for a good part of the book, that she's a fat little peasant boy his soldiers have taken prisoner and chained in the kitchen tent He also tries to invade her kingdom, and makes free comment to the fatlittlepeasantboy about how doltish and repulsive Princess Benevolence was We as readers are let in on how he's really misunderstood and a true prince when the two of them have a hearttoheart one evening in which Florian makes some atrociously sappy and entirely outofcharacter revelations about his ideals for true love, which do nothing to establish his decency as a human being, only his rather tenuous grip on reality When Ben confronts him later about the gap between his ideals and his plan to marry somebody he barely knows and dislikes, he has her thrown into jail with a death threat hanging over her head, for her disrespect.Somehow she gets over all this when she thinks he's dying, and they have a rather rapturous kiss This doesn't even need the Stockholm Syndrome thing to be a terrible romance, but I might be OK with it if there was even some acknowledgment that he was desperately unlikeable but she liked him anyway Instead we just have Ben feeling terrible and apologising about having accidentally done something to humiliate him once, without even mentioning that maybe she's still ahead in the humiliation stakes, as far as their personal interaction goes Just Angry reader fists, all right? A fat princess gets thinner and everyone likes her wayand treats her way better once she's thin Also she marries a prince who kept her as a prisoner slave and thought it was funny to starve her, work her to the point of exhaustion and taunt her all the while And it's apparently totally fine that the queen locked her away in a tiny room for months because, don't you know, she was under a lot of pressure and Ben was being such a BRAT after her parents died What in the world did I just read? Please, can someone tell me? This was really disappointing I'm a huge fan of her Dairy Queen trilogy, so I was expecting to enjoy this Unfortunately it has tons of enormous gaping plotholes, impossible characters, and a bad habit of showing something entirely different to what it tells And the thing is this was her third novel published (and, as far as I can tell, written), so she'd already done vastly superior work.(view spoiler)[So why is it set up as though the important thing is that his feelings are hurt because she embarrassed him in front of his troops when he was INVADING HER COUNTRY AT THE HEAD OF AN ARMY at the time? I mean, surely normal social rules of rudeness no longer apply! Why did Ben's parents apparently teach her nothing about ruling a country? She's fifteen, not five Why are all Sophia's lessons directed at making her into a good courtier when they don't have a real court? Why the whiplash between WE ARE AT WAR WITH DRACHENSBETT and we must play nice with Drachensbett! Be polite! particularly the mindboggling passage where it turns out that the important thing is that Ben embarrassed Florian in front of his troops, despite the fact that it happened during the course of what was ostensibly a secret military invasion of her country so what, it's OK to INVADE and KILL PEOPLE but heaven help you if you are RUDE? WTactualF Also, when did she fall in love with him? How? Why? It makes no sense in the context of the book, and it's virtually unsignalled.The real shame is that there are the bones of a great story here I love stories about lazy and unsatisfactory children turning themselves around, and this could have really done something with that The secret magic room was great and could have had an interesting story of its own, but it pretty much gets dropped as soon as Ben escapes the castle There's certainly the potential for a gripping novel about intrigue between the kingdoms and Ben having to negotiate the complex rules of social politeness with the Drachensbett party while simultaneously planning or fighting a secret war against them Even the story of Ben vs Sophia could have worked in a bunch of different ways But as it stands? No (hide spoiler)] I remember something Diana Wynne Jones wrote that went something along the lines of this:In Fantasyland, a princess is either a1 Wimp, or 2 Rebellious spunky swordswoman with a sprinkling of freckles across the bridge of her tiptilted nose.Needless to say, the rebelliousprincess character has become something of a cliché So it's quite refreshing when an author takes this setup (of an ordinary princess rejecting the froufrou court, then escaping and having grand adventures) and can make it new again indeed, Murdock turns it almost on its head In this gentle fantasy, we learn that sometimes learning good table manners, smalltalk, proper dancing, etc are tools of statecraft just as powerful as magic spells or fencing Ben's emergence from dowdy teen to responsible leader is just a few steps shy of becoming The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Princesses, but steers clear of becoming too preachy Indeed, it's something quite fabulous The second half of the book demands constant pageturning.Bonus Points: the language uses the grand epislatory style of a Victorian novel, and carries it off well Many, many ways to beef up your verbal SAT score here Kudos all around to what may be my favorite YA fantasy of 2008. I wish I could give half stars because this book deserves four and a half As the inside jacket says, this isn't your ordinary fairy tale Princess Ben (short for Benevolence), is a whiny, overweight, spirited girl who recently mourns the loss of her parents Her country is threatened by a neighboring kingdom, who claim no part in the murdering of the king and Ben's parents Orphaned, Ben is put under her strict aunt's wings, Queen Sophie Completely miserable, locked up and starved until she can behave properly, Ben has many unforgettable experiences that may be familiar to fairy tale lovers The only reason that this book did not get a 5 star rating is because I feel like the author forgot to mention/ wrap up a few points in the epilogue (MAJOR pet peeve of mine If you have an epilogue, DO IT RIGHT DARN IT!!!) I was pleasantly surprised by this book First let me say that I'm not a fan of these realistic book covers, which seem to be all the rage recently I much prefer theartistic covers that allow me to imagine what the main character etc look like I'm also usually a little skeptical of fairy tale retellings because it seems that they can so easily go awry.This one, however, did not Yay! Murdock takes all the most familiar parts of the princess fairytales (the tower, the sleepenchanted princess, the glass coffin, the wicked stepmother) and skillfully adapts and transforms them Ben is a feisty and independent main character who is able to take charge of her own destiny and her own story And while she is spoiled at the beginning of the story (as some of the reviews have complained), that is the whole point Plus, it makes her a refreshingly complex and multifaceted character I'm also a big fan of Murdock's narrative style, which sounds a lot like the epistolary novels of the 16th and 17th centuries It started off a little strong, but either I got used to it or it became less selfconscious as the story went on Murdock includes all kinds of challenging vocabulary in her narrative, and I think it's wonderful to challenge teen readers that way.So the moral of this story is: don't judge a book by its cover! I have to tell myself that repeatedly, and I'm glad Princess Ben had a chance to prove its importance to me onetime. I liked the premise immensely, but was disappointed by how it was handled I mean, dragons Magic Locked in a tower Arranged marriage to the prince of your country's enemy, same enemy that probably killed your parents Lots to love, but somehow these elements did not come together as I had hoped they would I wantedone on one time for the two protagonists and felt that, honestly, Benevolence was really a little too spoilt She had next to no self control and even less of a desire to try and be a better person for such a long time throughout the story that you begin to get frustrated with her character I really loved how her aunt was written throughout though! At first you think she is the typical evil stepmother/ guardian figure, out to ruin Ben's life and make her thoroughly miserable for no good reason Then you realize that, however flawed her methods and behavior toward Ben, she was really and truly trying to help Ben and prepare her to rule the country when the time came She recognized many of the foibles in Ben's personality and was trying to get Ben to exert some self determination to improve herself Ben's constant self pity was tiring and I can imagine why Auntie S was getting royally fed up with her childish and immature fits But I loved that although she is a villainess in the reader's eyes, at first, by the story's conclusion, we can see that she is just a very well portrayed character, with her own flaws that rival Ben's, just at opposite ends of the spectrum.Overall, a decent enough story for a one time read, but I doubt I will reread this offering anytime soon, if at all. I found the heroine extremely childish and intolerable in the first 3 parts, but I suspect Murdock deliberately made her that way However, I do not think Murdock meant her to be so unlikeable that readers would not be able to stomach her I did not truly like Ben until the last part when she finally grows up and recognizes the purpose behind the princess lessons, her responsibilities as the sole heir to the kingdom When she got over herself, acted less spoiled, and actually got some spunk Part 4 made up for my early disappointment in Ben.I guess I have mixed feelings for Princess Ben On one hand, I did not enjoy it the first time through okay, I could not even get through it! On the other hand, I enjoyed watching Ben grow up into a wonderful and thoughtful princess once I did make it through If only she had grown up a lot earlier in the book I think I might have liked it even better.Complete review on my blog