Book Review : The Princess and the Hound
By Mette Ivie Harrison
He is a prince, heir to a kingdom threatened on all sides, possessor of the animal magic, which is forbidden by death in the land he’ll rule.
She is a princess from a rival kingdom, the daughter her father never wanted, isolated from true human friendship but inseparable from her hound.
Though they think they have little in common, each possesses a secret that must be hidden at all costs. Proud, stubborn, bound to marry for the good of their kingdoms, this prince and princess will steal your heart, but will they fall in love? (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
The Princess and the Hound had an old fairy tale quality, while still being completely original. Though inspired by Beauty and the Beast, the reader would easily be able to enjoy the book with out any background checks for information.
One of the things I liked the most was the complexity of the two main characters. Prince George, is young and inexperienced to take on the role of the king. He has experienced a difficult childhood, primarily because of the loss of his mother. His father didn’t know how to be the kind of father George needed, though he wasn’t distant to be cruel. George has also been set aside by others in the nobility, mocked and never befriended. Finally, he has animal magic – is it a blessing or a curse. Regardless, it has changed how he interacts with others.
Beatrice, has also had a difficult childhood. Her father, King Helm, has intentionally belittled her because she wasn’t a son to be his heir. She was unexpectedly befriended by the hound, Marit, who became closer than a normal companion. Because of how she has been treated she is fearful to allow George into her tight-knit world. George is the one who recognizes the similarities they have experienced, though through different means.
I don’t want to add any big spoilers, but I was interested in Dr. Garn. I was curious to his motivations. He was very odd, and yet the king trusted him. He had been able to move through the layers that insulate a king from the people, however, even the trusted servants had very little interaction with the doctor. Nobody felt like Prince George was in the right to be distrustful. He even doubted himself. I liked how Dr. Garn showed the reader other sides of the personalities of different characters.
The world building, and character building for Prince George felt a little slow. Once George has agreed to marry Beatrice the story takes off at a great pace. I enjoyed seeing how George approaches problems; he could have been a psychologist in a different world. I would also be intrigued to hear what others’ thoughts were on the relationship between Beatrice and Marit….. I thought Harrison had a clever approach for George to fall in love.
I enjoyed this book and it is appropriate for a broad audience. The psychology of a fairy tale was to teach a principal or a fear to children. What lesson is taught in this story? Perhaps, the moral lesson of doing the right thing, even when its hard. Would it be a good example of thinking through problems of multiple personality disorder. For one thing, think of how the two kings, Davit and Helm, represent two polar opposites, but still distance themselves from their only child. Like many fairy tales, there is romance at the end of the tale. It was a satisfying experience.
4 out of 5 stars
- the Mother
If you like this one try some of the older books of retold fairy tales, such as, Beauty by Robin McKinley and Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia Wrede. A modern tale to try is Cinder by Marissa Meyer and The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale.