Title: The Princess Mutiny
Author: L.J. Surrage
Publication Date: March 13, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary,
Rating: 3.5 Stars
I was recently sent The Princess Mutiny from the author, L.J. Surrage in exchange for an honest review.
Dear fellow Babblers,
Hummm Diddddd Eeeee Dummmm. Yes, I did just start a book review with nonsensical jibber jabberish… Not so sure how I feel about this one or even where to begin. And I do not mean this in a negative way there is just so much that happens in this book and nothing is as I had anticipated. Good ? Bad ? Actually a mix of both. For readers looking for a mystical action-packed tale of with a twist of romance and happily ever after endings please turn away and go find Peter Pan because The Princess Mutiny just ain’t it. Now, with logistics out of the way lets get into it, as there’s so much to talk about.
Anastasia Windell is not your average princess. Even as an heir to the Eagen Empire, she craves adventure, fun, and excitement that her life as a royal simply can’t give her.
An arranged marriage to an unhinged Duke and a stubborn father is enough to send Anya over the edge, as she is forced to take her life into her own hands. By staging her escape in disguise, Anastasia makes a bid for freedom and sails to the West Indies, and unintentionally falls under the tutelage of notorious pirate lord Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. She doesn’t know what the Caribbean will hold for her, but she’s willing to bet that even piracy is better than life at the mercy of an abusive and powerful husband.
This is a fast-paced, sometimes too face-paced story of a young princess, Anastasia Windell, who takes her destiny away from those deemed to determine it and searches for freedom and adventure in on the Caribbean. She does not know what is in store for her, but the chance to do as she wishes and pleases – a free spirit – are enough to make her certain that the uncertain is better than the certain being chosen not by her, but by her kingdom. With an arranged marriage to a pompous Duke by her undeniably pigheaded father, Anastasia makes the rash decision to disguise herself as a man with the use of heavy makeup and set off to sea with little more than a glance back.
The setup and narrating of this book is enough to keep me in bed reading all day with a cup of hot tea on demand. It did not wander into tangents and there was so much to keep up with that I didn’t want to put the book down out of fear of missing something. This for me is both good and bad. It’s good because I never got bored or felt as though the plot was not going anywhere. However, the pacing got a bit too scattered at times. There were chapters that would jump time periods so drastically that it was impossible for me to really feel as though I could connect with the characters. Moments, days, months, even years go by with little background information so at times it was difficult for me to understand the characters’ actions and thoughts which is what I usually search for in a good book to begin with.
And then there is the matter about when this story takes place: the 1700s. Well for it to be taking place so long ago, the language sure sounds like yours and mine. For example, friends with benefits. Like, really ? I wasn’t living in the time of George Washington but I can say for a fact that the whole friends with benefits idea wasn’t really a “thing” back then.The speech and sentence structure should have been adapted to parallel the timing of the story. There was slang, puns and words of today where I would have expected to be reading something more poetic with a romantic or perhaps more harmonic melody. That is also something that blocked my exit from reality and into the fictional world. Throughout the entirety of the book I never felt like I really connected or could compare with the characters or even relate to the events that were happening due to all the time gaps and disjointed language.
There is a very little romance going on here but enough to send the girls swooning and looking towards the sea for love. With a romance that starts off as a friendship, almost neutral acquaintance I’m glad that it didn’t disturb the narration or that it turned into one of those “he saves her and they live happily ever after” sort of nonsense that we find all too often in Disney. Although Anastasia does depend a lot on others for help and takes very little risks, aside from leaving home, on her own. There always seems to be someone or something there to help her out. This characteristic added to the authenticity of the story as it wasn’t just a brave girl doing everything on her own but rather a brave girl using her resources to find happiness.
What is keeping me from rating this book lower than 3 stars is the writing. The authors fluidity and rhythm is breathtaking, and I do not say this very often, as I am a rather tough reviewer. The vivacity of the description such as the action scenes and the development of Anastasia’s surroundings was so real and wonderfully worded that it made me forgive all the minor issues I had with the timing and language. Anastasia’s thoughts and feeling come to life and her persona was made to be authentic and without hard-to-understand actions. I liked that the plot was often paused to really get deep into Anastasia’s thoughts which really helped explain her actions giving the unexplained and rather random time jumps that occur all the way through the book.
There aren’t many actual adventure scenes as one would expect reading a book about pirates, but I didn’t mind. I’m typically a young adult reader and this for me was a fun coming-of-age read. It did not go into a lot of hearty material such as mental illness which suits my interest level, with the exception of the gender crossings with Anastasia using makeup to disguise herself as a man. All in all I wouldn’t recommend this to someone looking for something to “open their eyes” or change their perspectives on the world. For that you’re going to want to visit some Murakami or even Sartre. The Princess Mutiny is a book you take with you on an airplane, the dentist office, or the park while you’re feeding the angry pigeons. It is original and authentic so I can’t compare it to anything I’ve read before. The flaws are simple flaws that can be easily ignored once the reader gets into the story with the help of Surrage’s evocative language and enchanting descriptions. For bibliophiles looking to get out of that end-of-the-year reading slump I would definitely say The Princess Mutiny is the way to go. With tinges of romance, self discovery and that little bit of crisp action it is a detailed story that will stay with you, not really in your mind, but just your senses – truly a tale to make readers wonder.
(Book image credits go to Goodreads)