Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Becky's View: The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist + Giveaway!

The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist
♦publisher: Running Press Kids
♦release date: October 22nd, 2013
♦paperback, 352 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: The Opal Mask, book 1
♦source: from publisher for honest review
Every Fairy-Tale Ending Has a Price. . . .

Orphaned as a child in the crumbling village of Tulan, Elara is determined to learn her true identity, even if it means wielding a dagger. Meanwhile, in Galandria's royal capital, Princess Wilha stands out as someone to either worship or fear. Though no one knows why the king has always made her conceal her face--including Wilha herself.

When an assassination attempt threatens the peace of neighboring kingdoms, Elara and Wilha are brought face to face . . . with a chance at claiming new identities. However, with dark revelations now surfacing, both girls will need to decide if brighter futures are worth the binding risks.

Review: Upon turning the last page of The Princess in the Opal Mask, I couldn't help but wish for a copy that was leather-bound, edges tipped in gold, maybe an illustrated copy full of gorgeous hand-drawn pictures to give it the outside that matched the beautiful tale inside.  Not that the cover isn't gorgeous---it definitely is and fits the story so well---but this story feels like one of the fairy tale classics.  Vast kingdoms with deep legends and histories, intrigue and secrets, royalty and their advisors, each with their own hidden agendas.  And in the midst of it all, two girls who are searching for their true selves.  One has been raised to rule, the other seems born to, but both are lost in the chaos of conspirators all around them.  

The story is told in alternating points of view.  Elara is a poor girl living with a cruel adopted family. She has endured solely by her own strength of mind and by putting on a good act, and her treatment has only made her stronger and able to cope with any situation, and also more determined that ever to find out where she came from. She knows how to guard herself and her emotions and do what needs to be done to survive, whether that means manipulating those around her or wielding a dagger.   Wilha is raised as a princess in the opal palace, but also as nearly a prisoner. No one will tell her why she must wear the masks. Rumors fly around the kingdom, even among her own servants, about her hidden ugliness, or her ability to curse or bless anyone who sees her...or the horrible tale that her mother died, cursed just from looking at Wilha's uncovered face.  She is not thick-skinned and the way she is feared hurts her deeply, leaving her feeling completely alone.  When they meet, the truth about who each of them is and why they were raised the way they were will come out and their lives will both change forever. 

The story really kicks off when the two are brought together and both are sent to the kingdom of Kyrenica, a rival kingdom.  I loved seeing how both cities are set against each other based on rumors and prejudices, how both sides have hatred for each other based on nothing but an old legend. With dangerous war-mongering men determined to keep the two kingdoms at each others throats, and loyalties constantly in question, both girls will learn that who you can trust is not always obvious or instinctual.  Elara and Wilha and the paths they take not only break through all of that, but help them find their own places in the world and they both end up thriving in lives that neither could have ever imagined. 

So much love for this book!  It's a fun and fast read, gorgeous world-building of two very different kingdoms, all with the feel of a grand fairy tale adventure. There is more to come from this series, and I can't wait to see where Elara and Wilha's lives will lead them!
Find Jenny Lundquist online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase the book:  Amazon  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound

This is definitely a book I want to share!!
I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader! 

•US mailing addresses only
•Must be 13 or older
•Ends 12/17/13
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. It really depends. For some it is the bitter-sweetness of them and for others it is just the beautiful tale that you can find yourself lost in <3 Really it is who it is written and the story that decides what way I feel :)

  2. To be reintroduced to fairy tales I have forgotten. Plus I always love a new take on an old story.

  3. My favorite thing has to be the magical feel of fairy tales. They're written in a specific, enchanting way that I just adore. They can be romantic, heartbreaking, enlightening and thought-provoking, admist all the sparkle! I love all of the lost princesses, hidden kingdoms, evil magic. All of it. It's great to rediscover old favorites and be introduced to new ones as well. That's why I like fairy tale retellings so much too :) Familiar stories wrapped in new ones.

  4. My favorite thing about fairy tales is that there are always happy endings. And I also like how there's always the perfect balance between good and evil. Even the magical properties of some stores is awesome :D Thanks for the giveaway! ^_^

  5. My favorite thing about reading fairy tales is that they are often childhood favorites that you are familiar with and you can relive the story in a new way! I find it exciting to see all the similarities and differences :)

  6. I also love fairy tales b/c it's a flashback to when I was a kid :) Thanks for sharing!

  7. There is beauty in the simplicity of fairy tales. :)

  8. I love darker twists on my favorite fairy tales. I think my favorite so far was the Blue Beard retelling (The Strands of Bronze and Gold), it had an amazing setting and gorgeous, dark atmosphere. I am a sucker for anything dark, gothic and atmospheric! I also really enjoy Jackson Pearce and her retellings :) I guess my favorite thing about reading retellings would be discovering how my favorite fairy tales can be twisted and re-invented. The potential is enormous!

    I'm really happy to hear that you loved Princess in Opal Mask, Becky! Your review makes me very excited for this title.. that cover.. it's just.. gorgeous! :) The cover alone would be enough to have me drooling, but your review makes me even more excited for this title for sure! Thanks for sharing :)

    Evie @Bookish

  9. That they all have happy endings and how magical they are. I'm so excited for this book the cover is so gorgeous!

  10. A book that feels like a fairytale classic, I know enough! :D Kingdoms, princesses, I'm already in love.

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