Today, I am reviewing two books: Queen in Exile by Donna Hatch and The Healing Spell by Kimberly Griffiths Little.
Queen in Exile by Donna Hatch
Rumors of war hang over Princess Jeniah's peaceful country of Arden, a land that shuns both magic and warfare. Following a lifelong dream, Jeniah forms a telpathic bond with a revered creature called a chayim, who is prophesied to save her kingdom. But when a Darborian knight comes upon Jeniah with her chayim, he sees only a vicious monster about to devour a maiden, and he slays the beast.
Devastated by the loss of her chayim, and fearing that her own magic is evil, Jeniah doubts her destiny. When an enemy invades Arden City, they slaughter the people, storm the castle, and execute the entire royal family except the princess. Rescued by the knight who slew her chayim, Jeniah is now heir to the throne of Arden and the only hope for freeing her people from tyranny.
On the run and hunted by enemy soldiers, Jeniah must place her life and the fate of her kingdom in the hands of this trained killer. Torn between embracing her destiny as queen of Arden, and her love for a mere knight, she must ultimately rely on her magic to save herself and her people from death and tyranny.
I was actually leery about reading this book. From the description, I wasn't sure if this was really a book I'd enjoy or if it was more on the fantasy/fight side, which I just don't connect with. But Donna's PR person, Amy, convinced me to give it a try. And I'm soo glad she did! I absolutely enjoyed Queen in Exile. There's a great romantic line that goes through the story, which made me so happy (yes, I'm a romantic fool). But I also really liked that this wasn't just a fantasy-overcome-all-obstacles book. Yes, there are fantasy or magical elements which I liked. More importantly, I felt really connected to the main character, Jeniah. When her country is bombarded and her family put to death, she has to reach deep down inside herself to find the courage and strength to keep moving, to look past her grief and help her country and her people. I sincerely hope there will be a sequel to Queen in Exile! You can read the first chapter here.
The Healing Spell by Kimberley Griffiths Little
The Healing Spell was an intriguing story. The first chapter was a bit confusing for me. There were just so many characters introduced - the family, all of the neighbors who were gawking as Livie's dad brought her mom home from the hospital - still in a coma - and all the church ladies, gossiping with their casseroles. My mind swirled with all these different faces and trying to figure out what was happening. But I imagine that's exactly how Livie felt, too. Not sure what to think or how to feel with her Mama coming home and wondering if she'd ever wake up. I enjoyed the story line and plot twists. I think this is a book my ten-year-old daughter would love. The Healing Spell is exactly what you would expect from Scholastic - a great book for pre-teens to enjoy!
The Healing Spell book trailer: