Title: Two Moon Princess
Author: Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
Pub Date: 04/15/2010
Category: YA Fantasy
Two Moon Princess is an excellent, interesting and well-executed young adult novel with all the hallmarks of a good read, as well as a rare depth in its underlying themes. The twists and turns in the story kept me so enthralled that I read late into the night in order to finish it.
To Andrea, the life of a princess is not a dream; it’s tedious and stifling. But the certainties of her life, both good and bad, are thrown into chaos when she accidentally travels to an alternative world, from a cave on a forbidden beach in her family’s kingdom to the warm and carefree life of Southern California. Then a careless visit to the cave results in terrible consequences: a brewing war between kingdoms, her sister’s love for the wrong man, Andrea’s own conflicted feelings for an enemy leader, and dark family secrets exposed. Andrea needs to act to resolve problems which she helped to create, and she faces many difficult choices, torn between duty and desire on so many levels. Readers will enjoy the mix of traditional elements of the fantasy genre, with fresh ideas and a look at our culture through the eyes of a stranger.
The story weaves a web of events that develop as the surprising consequences of Andrea’s innocent actions. The author skillfully lays out the telling details of Ariel’s family history like a trail of addictive crumbs that lead us deeper into the story and whet our appetite for more.
I particularly liked the idea of two worlds, separate but accessible each full moon via a door hidden in a cave. The door is kept secret for good reasons. Reasons that relate to every clash of cultures throughout time, and that Andrea discovers when she visits the modern world through the doorway. Her perception of our world, and John, a young Californian’s, reaction to being in her medieval world is believable and thought provoking.
The characters are all richly rendered, enjoyable – or interesting – company and easy to relate to. Andrea’s development throughout the story is one of the novels strong points. We watch the process of a teenager growing up as she discovers that the world does not revolve around her. She goes from thinking only about herself and what she wants to a much greater understanding of how her actions affect others. She also learns that there is a lot to the world that she doesn’t know about, and there are some powerful moments in the story when her perception of a person or situation changes as she discovers new knowledge.
As the story progresses the concept of friends and enemies become delightfully blurred. Andrea discovers that there is good and bad in both her family and their supposed enemies and that people who act as a friend in one instance may suddenly act as an enemy in another situation, especially if they aren’t aware of the full truth of a situation.
The romantic element was beautifully teased out and the ending made a satisfying conclusion to all the story threads.
The first few chapters didn’t grab me, but I became hooked the moment the story took it’s first turn. From that point on, the writing also became more immediate.
I give this book 5 stars and recommend it for all lovers of YA fantasy, especially those who like a mix of modern and ancient worlds.