Source: Bought from Amazon
Back Cover Blurb:
Teen-aged king Leander Tlennen-Hess has barely ruled a year when he and his step-sister Kitty (or Princess Kyale, as she wishes to be known) are surprised by two visitors. The first is an adventure-loving girl, Faline, who helps Leander defend his tiny kingdom from invasion by the menacing warrior kingdom Marloven Hess, using only imagination and a bit of magic. The second visitor is a nice, friendly boy... who asks too many questions about the recent defeat of those evil Marlovens.
The nice, friendly visitor turns out to be Senrid, king of Marloven Hess.
But Senrid is king in name only. His uncle, the regent, holds power and Senrid must prove himself to be sufficiently strong by abducting for execution the two kids who thwarted the invasion.
The only way to save them is to enter the stronghold of the enemy, in flimsy disguise...
This book really is a fantasy book written for younger teenagers. The kid heroes don't seem to think to highly of adults. ;) If you haven't read Sherwood Smith's Crown Duel book, read that before reading this one.
This book is a lot less polished than Crown Duel (for good reason). While the characters and adventures are interesting, I really only found them so interesting because I wanted to read more adventures set in the same world as Crown Duel.
World-building is one of Sherwood Smith's strong points, but the world building in this book is only "good." The pacing is also good. The characters are engaging and the adventures interesting, but somehow the threat never really felt real--I never worried the 'good' characters would die or felt they really were hurt, even though they got into some pretty dangerous positions.
The was no romance and, while there was a lot of inventive name-calling, there was no cussing. I'll also mention that a lot of the names were very long and sometimes I couldn't even figure out how to pronounce them. If you like Sherwood Smith's other books, certainly give this one a try. Overall, it was a "good, clean fun" novel.
Excerpt: Chapter One
In a tiny, rural kingdom called Vasande Leror, the new ruler and his stepsister were busy with books. The castle where they lived was small, built stolidly of gray, unadorned rock, and mostly empty. The ruler, Leander Tlennen-Hess, sat in his library working hard at magic studies; down the hall in her suite of rooms, Princess Kyale Marlonen lay curled up on a couch reading, two cats nestled against her and one stretched along the headrest. Kyale's mind galloped through the pages of historical record written by a long-ago princess not much older than she, whose life had been fraught with danger.
She'd sunk so deeply into the past that she failed to see the face peering in at her through the window.
Tap! Tap! Tap! came the sound of knuckles on glass.
Kyale jerked her attention from the book to the window, where a round, freckled face peered in.
"Yagh!" Kyale shrieked, flinging up her hands , and the book sprang into the air.
So did the cats. Before the ancient book (and the three cats) hit the rug Kyale had already dashed out the door. She ran straight to Leander's study.
He looked up, hating to be distracted; when he saw his stepsister's frightened face, he vaguely remembered hearing a scream.
Wondering if the horrible ex-queen Mara Jinea had come back from Norsunder to threaten them again, he set down his book. "Kitty? What is it?"