This was such a fun little book! It had all the magic and adventure that you look for in a middle-grade fantasy. It wasn’t anything deep and heart-wrenching, but it’s something that will make you smile!Twelve-year-old Lilia is not a very good servant. In fact, she's terrible! She daydreams, she breaks dishes, and her cooking is awful. Still, she hardly deserves to be sold off to the mean-spirited miller and his family. Refusing to accept that dreadful fate, she decides to flee. With her best friend, Kai, and his sister, Karina, beside her, Lilia heads north to find the family she's never known. But danger awaits. . . .
As their quest leads the threesome through the mysterious and sinister Bitra Forest, they suddenly realize they are lost in the elves' domain. To Lilia's horror, Kai falls under an enchantment cast by the Elf King's beautiful daughter. The only way for Lilia to break the spell and save Kai is to find a jewel of ancient power that lies somewhere in the North Kingdoms. Yet the jewel will not be easy to find. The castle where it is hidden has been overrun with princess hopefuls trying to pass a magical test that will determine the prince's new bride. Lilia has only a few days to search every inch of the castle and find the jewel—or Kai will be lost to her forever.
The plot was simple, but had enough to it to keep the reader turning pages. You can definitely tell it’s a retelling of the Princess and the Pea, but it has enough to it that it doesn’t have to depend on that aspect. I also thought it was clever how the “True Princess” stuff is incorporated.
The only thing I didn’t like was the dialogue, which felt stiff and awkward. I think the author was trying to make it sound like what you’d imagine fairy tale characters would sound like, but it didn’t flow as it should’ve.
The characters were all enjoyable to read. Each and every one was unique and kept me interested. Lilia was a strong character, not afraid to embark on a journey to find out who she is. Those who accompanied her made for wonderful companions. I found the romances going on kind of strange (Kai and Lilia? I saw theirs as a brother/sister relationship… )
Check out my review of The Thirteenth Princess