Ross Rosenfeld,
The Stolen Kingdom
(Fun Books, 2012)

When Queen Beatrice died giving birth to the prince, an evil schemer saw his chance to take the throne. Now the Dark Duke rules Belsden with an iron fist. Those who oppose him are bandits or in foreign lands.

Fortunately, one of them is the prince whose throne the Dark Duke stole. When Taylor James discovers the truth of his identity, there can only be victory for one of them.

The Stolen Kingdom has adventure, romance, giants, fights and giant cats. Unfortunately, it's very clear that this plot developed in an attempt to emulate The Princess Bride. Not that William Goldman's work shouldn't inspire other stories, but I spent most of this book noting what part of The Princess Bride it derived from. Moreover, Rosenfeld attempts to write in the same style as Goldman, right down to the flippant remarks in parentheses and a brief story about this being the edited version of a story told by his grandfather. This does make The Stolen Kingdom a light read with a number of amusing quirks. On the other hand, it feels strained and involves frequently restating things in order to use all the eccentric phrases available. Plus, it made me even more uncomfortable about reading something so derivative.

The characters in this book have no dimension. I honestly didn't care about either of the lovebirds, let alone their romance. A few of the later characters had interesting stories that could have made them fascinating people with more supportive writing. Unfortunately, the writing in this work drove me crazy. Word order was awkward. The word "lie" stood in for "lies" and "lay." People were "weary" when they should have been "wary" and they "shuttered" instead of "shuddered." And those are only the wrong word choices that happened too many times to be typos.

Those who haven't read The Princess Bride might find this story charming. Those who simply wish to read anything in the vicinity of that story might find it enjoyable. Sadly, I found it neither.

[ visit the author's website ]

book review by
Whitney Mallenby

4 August 2012

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