Two Moon Princess, by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

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Publication date – April 15, 2010

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) In this coming-of-age story set in a medieval kingdom, Andrea is a headstrong princess longing to be a knight who finds her way to modern-day California. But her accidental return to her family’s kingdom and a disastrous romance brings war, along with her discovery of some dark family secrets. Readers will love this mix of traditional fantasy elements with unique twists and will identify with Andrea and her difficult choices between duty and desire.

Thoughts: I tend to like stories that have the “two worlds colide” theme going on, so when I heard about Two Moon Princess, I thought that it would be a YA book that’s right up my alley.

Unfortunately, it turned out to have some glaring oversights and flaws that turned what could have been a good book into one that straddles the line between “merely okay” and “blah.”

Princess Andrea is a girl who would much rather be a knight than a lady, and even though she seems to have the talent for it, she’s denied the chance to pursue knightly training by her parents. Frustrated with her family and the way they keep trying to force her into a place for which she isn’t suited, she runs away. And through a magic gateway, finds herself in modern California.

It’s not a story that hasn’t been done before, and it doesn’t see that the author did much with it that was new… unless you could the fact that Andrea was a spoiled girl who didn’t know half of what she thought she did. She runs off with half-formed plans in her head and is so sure she’s right about everything she does. Most of the time when characters do this, it’s because they actually do know something that other people don’t. In Andrea’s case, it was repeatedly demonstrated to her that she doesn’t know half of what’s going on, that her elders actually do have a better grasp of the situation and do have experience backing what they tell her. It’s not often you’ll find an author who essentially says, “Yeah, kids, you really ought to listen to your parents sometimes because they may actually know what they’re talking about.” Sometimes adults may have appeared harsh in their treatment of Andrea, but quite honestly, I read that as them losing their patience with her determined ignorance and self-righteous attitude.

The romance, at least, was also more believable than I see in many YA novels. Andrea doesn’t fall head-over-heels for an impossibly handsome guy. She gets a crush… and that doesn’t work out so well. She meets another guy, and crazy events take priority, and only when she thinks she’ll lose him does she start to think that she really doesn’t want to. She has teenage overreactions regarding him. It was quite realistic in its portrayal of teenager affection, actually.

But what really killed this book for me was the sheer amount of suspension of disbelief required. Andrea lives on another world, and her ancestors came from earth hundreds of years ago, and there are magical doorways between the worlds. Fine, that much I can accept. That’s not outside my capabilities. But when a woman from this world, who trained as a doctor, who has been in the world of Gothia for 20-30 years or so, gives somebody antibiotic pills she brought with her and hid the whole time, I start to question whether the author even knows that medications have expiration dates for a reason. And when a culture has been around for over a millennium, has tamed horses and built castles with functioning drawbridges and can make good swords and armour, why is it that it took an engineering genius “who’s far ahead of tis time” to build that society’s first bridge over a river? They can make a drawbridge, but not a regular bridge? It smacked of clumsy editing and fact-checking, an oversight that nobody expected readers to even notice.

But even if a lot of the oversights were fixed, this book still wouldn’t be anything special. Not bad, but not anything that would stick out in my mind as being worthy of attention.

I might recommend this book to girls between the ages of 10 and 12. Maybe. There are plenty of books, though, that I could recommend to someone in that category that are far better than Two Moon Princess, though. It could have been so much better than it was.

(Received for review from the publisher via NetGalley.)