Review: Aurelia

Review: AureliaAurelia by Anne Osterlund
Series: Aurelia #1
Published by Speak on April 17, 2008
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Romance
Pages: 246
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

An impressive debut, equal parts commercial appeal and literary prowess.
Princess Aurelia is next in line to rule the kingdom of Tyralt, but she would rather be one of the common folk, free to learn and roam and . . . not marry the next tyrannical prince that comes courting. Naturally, the king wants Aurelia to marry for political power. Aurelia wants to marry for love. And someone in the kingdom wants her . . . dead. Assigned to investigate and protect Aurelia is Robert, the son of the king's former royal spy and one of Aurelia's oldest friends. As Aurelia and Robert slowly uncover clues as to who is threatening her, their friendship turns to romance. With everything possible on the line, her life, her kingdom, her heart, Aurelia is forced to take matters into her own hands, no matter the cost.

Aurelia is a book I selected primarily for the pretty cover and because it came up just below some awesome fairy tale revision I had read on Shelfari (although I don’t remember what book). The main genres to be found in Aurelia are mystery, romance and intrigue. They are all done quite well and convincingly. Another awesome element of the book: the horses. You can tell that Osterlund, like many other girls (like me), adored horses as a child. Many are lovingly described, such that you can get a really clear picture of them in your mind.

The story is satisfying, but is not what makes this a really great read; the characters were what really sold me on this book. Aurelia is not your typical princess. For one thing, she frequently dresses up as a boy and escapes the castle, so that she can familiarize herself with her city. On these journeys, her favorite place to go is the docks, where an old sailor will tell her stories. Aurelia is clever, sarcastic and stifled by court life. She is vibrant and full of life. Robert, too, is well-characterized. The other characters are a bit one-dimensional, but not enough so to detract from the story significantly.

If you’re looking for a good princess story, you’ve found one.

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