E.D. Baker, the author who brought us the beloved Frog Princess series as well as The Wide Awake Princess, is back with a new series featuring an intelligent, headstrong, and kind princess (Bloomsbury Press, November 6, 2018)
More Than a Princess introduces readers to Aislin of Eliasind. Aislin is half-fairy and half-pedrasi, a new being created by Baker who get their power from rocks. All of the magical creatures – fairies, pedrasi, sprites, gnomes, trolls, et. al. – live in a realm kept separate from the humans by a magical passageway. When Aislin finds a group of humans have entered her kingdom, she passes herself off as human to save her kingdom from discovery. Unfortunately, she winds up being taken back into the human realm “for her safety.” In their castle Aislin finds lies, back-stabbing, and generally awful people. She has to be the bigger person and rely on her own inner strength (and some stowaway friends) to get back to her family.
I wasn’t certain about this book when I first started reading it. We love the Wide Awake Princess series, but I couldn’t really get into Aislin and her story. Then right around page 100 the whole thing came alive and I was completely sucked into the story.
When Aislin finds herself in the human castle, the depth of her character, her ingenuity, and an immense inner strength really shine. Aislin figures out early on that King Tyburr was not to be trusted and then she quickly realizes that his entire court is also cruel and backstabbing. In order to survive, Aislin has to be the bigger person and let their unkind words and deeds roll off of her back. She also has to dig deep in order to keep her emotions in check due to her pedrasi power. The pedrasi are tied to stones and the earth and Aislin has so much power that when she gets angry it can make anything of stone around her shake – like the entire castle.
But Aislin learns that even though it can feel like it, she is not alone in the castle and not everyone is against her. With a few loyal friends, Aislin manages to stand up for herself and get free. This is the start of a series, however, so when she does get free she discovers the root of one her problems and knows that she has to find a way to make things right. Full of adventure, suspense, and touches of magic, More Than a Princess is a good start to a new series with a very strong female lead.
* Thank you to the KidLitExchange Network for a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.