Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Ugly Princess: The Legend of the Winnowwood by Henderson Smith Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

""In the tradition of The Princess Bride (with somewhat less whimsy) and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Smith's debut is a fairy tale in a new world.... The twists along this charming road make for an enchanting journey." -- Kirkus Reviews -- The Ugly Princess is an unusual fairytale that centers on an ugly, brave princess who teaches us the true meaning of beauty. Princess Olive is not like most princesses. She is the last generation of Winnowwood, an enchanted people with magical powers, dominion over nature, and the ability to communicate with animals. They are a people as ugly as they are extraordinary, and Olive is one of their ugliest. Her face is covered in bumps and warts, and her own father despises her for her ugly appearance. Olive has lived most of her life confined to the castle, away from the public eye. But when war breaks out between her kingdom and its neighbor and her father is captured, Olive courageously steps up to help him despite his cruelty. In transit, she is kidnapped by a band of highwaymen led by the mysterious Black Bart, and then kidnapped again by an even greater enemy force determined to overtake the entire mainland surrounding her father's kingdom. Will anyone come to rescue Olive? Does she have within herself what it takes to break free and save her people? A story that teaches us that there is more to a person than meets the eye, The Ugly Princess encourages young women to look within themselves to find beauty and power, and to open their eyes to their own magic. This coming-of-age must-read is based on the multi-award-winning screenplay of the same name."

The Ugly Princess is not really ugly. It is actually a bit humorous in some points, but this book is mostly for the Middle Grade readers. The older readers would probably see the holes and little annoyances in character, but the young ones would probably be delighted by all those warts and ugliness. And of course, they would probably like the prince in the end. Or the ugly princess.

Princess Olive isn't that easy to connect with. Honestly, I was never called ugly (unless you count those mean boys back in elementary, who are just trying to look cool in front of their friends). I'm pretty sure none of my pimples lasted longer than two months, and the warts on my face are nonexistent. Besides, she has that magical power that didn't really made any sense. I don't understand how it works, other than what Princess Olive said (it comes from within). I'm sure that helping others feel good (after all, I have been a recipient of it), but Princess Olive is just so unselfish. Until you realize about the legend.

The facts in this book is that the more you use magic, the more uglier you get. The legend says that if you find someone (true love) who sees who you are within, then your ugliness will be taken away. So perhaps deep, deep, deep inside of Princess Olive, I think there is a part of her that believes that legend is truth, and that she takes much comfort in that fact.

And a lot of the characters are archetypes or a mixture of them. I could name some of them like arrogant father/ignorant father, spoiled/bratty sister, and beautiful but also weak mother. How about idiots?

Okay, I'll stop talking about the characters.

The Ugly Princess (and its very long subtitle) is very entertaining. The plot isn't always clear, and there are some parts where I get lost even though The Ugly Princess is really fun. However, I don't really think it is the plot's fault. It is the writing.

The writing, unfortunately, falls short sometimes. There are some annoying dry spots and bumps in the road. Sometimes, there are these really quick parts that seem to go by so fast! And I wasn't even speedreading, darn it.

Overall, The Ugly Princess is a better fit among the younger readers. Honestly, I think I'm criticizing this book too much. Oh, and it is clean romance. Actually, romance is just... Light.

Rating: Three out of Five (Two Point Five)

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