Read by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Orphaned Princess Benevolence ends up under the thumb of the conniving Queen Sophia. Locked in the castle's tower, Ben discovers a mysterious enchanted room. So begins her secret education in the magical arts. But when the castle and the country are threatened, it's up to Ben to save her kingdom from annihilation.
My Thoughts: A princess locked in the tower who discovers magic? Sign me up! I was looking forward to start listening to this book. I wanted a fairy tale type of story that would be enjoyable. Unfortunately, this book was a disappointment.
The concept of the story was promising but the execution was poorly done. Benevolence, aka Ben, lost her parents and was then locked up in a tower. She soon discovered a secret room where she learned to control magic. Afterward, she ran away trying to avoid an arranged marriage, got kidnapped and was treated as a servant, met a prince, and so forth. My head was spinning on all the things that were happening. The loss of the parents was very interesting because I was curious to find out what really happened to them. When the magic began to happen, I found myself scratching my head because it felt as if the author could not decide what the plot of the story was. Was it about who killed the parents, about her acquiring magic, or her getting married? My interest to the story began to wither.
The most disappointing thing about this book was the message: in order to succeed, you must slim down to conform to people's ideal on true beauty. Ben was gluttonous throughout the book. It was sad to listen to how her actions and descriptions were portrayed in a mocking way. She would binge eat and was constantly talking about food. Her clothes were also constantly ripping because she was fat. Because she was a spoiled princess who would throw tantrums if she didn't get her sweets, her weight was looked upon as something undesirable. At the last part of the book, Ben was told to eat like a "sparrow" so she could lose weight, catch the attention of a suitor, and be a great ruler. The fact that she was encouraged to starve herself, which caused her character to change for the positive, made me nauseous. It was as if the author was telling readers that it was okay to be anorexic.
I would have given up on this book about halfway, but I kept hoping that it would get better. The author read the audio version herself so she made the events go smoothly. However, when I found myself with about two hours left of the story, I simply gave up. I began to skip many tracks so I could get the gist of how the story ended. I didn't miss much.
Overall, I would have wished to have liked this book and its production. Unfortunately, I have to give it a low rating. The story got sour and I disliked the theme. I rate it: 1 star
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