Princess in the Opal Mask
Running Press, 2013
Part fairy tale, part classic literature (blurb suggests Man in the Iron Mask, which I haven't read, but it makes me think of Prince and the Pauper), this is a story of intrigue and spunk. And, thankfully, just the first installment -- because I've got to know what happens next!
First we meet Elara, orphaned as a young child, and being raised in a not-so-wonderful environment. When she is given a mysterious old book by the local schoolmaster - who is promptly arrested by royal officials - she is determined to find the answers to her questions. And her identity. Thick in the mix of all the intrigue and mystery is the Princess in the Opal Mask (her real name is Wilha, but people rarely refer to her by name). Nobody ever sees the Princess's face, and rumor has it if she looks at you unmasked, you are cursed. When Elara and Wilha meet, startling things are revealed.
Faced with a difficult truth and an increasingly complicated reality, Elara and Wilha must come to terms with their new identities. What ensues is a dangerous adventure that tests the courage and loyalty of both girls, as well as helping them find their true selves. As they navigate the tricky waters of international relations, to say nothing of interpersonal relationships!, the girls find themselves stretching and growing into their new positions and roles. It's an interesting, engaging story and I enjoyed watching Elara and Wilha grow and interact. I'm very interested in seeing how things will play out in The Opal Crown later this year.
Book provided by publisher for review.