Goodreads: Rose and the Lost Princess
Series: Rose #2
Now apprenticed to the king’s chief magician while still serving as his maid, Rose believes that life couldn’t get much better. Unfortunately, the other servants seem resentful of her change in status and the populace has begun murmuring about the unchecked powers of the nation’s magic workers. Tensions are running high both on the street and below stairs when news leaks that one of the country’s beloved princesses has disappeared. Can Rose save the day one more time or will this political plot prove too much for one child to solve?
Rose and the Lost Princess is one of those books that I may have liked as a child, but that I find both unappealing and unbelievable at my current age. Rose as a character failed to capture me while the plot seemed obvious and pat. These issues, combined with the idea of a child solving an international crisis while the nation’s top magicians either stand idly by or get themselves incapacitated, made it a struggle for me to reach the end. Though I am sure many readers have loved this book and also loved Rose, I am afraid I am not the audience for this book.
As a disclaimer, I have not read the first book in the series, Rose, though Briana has previously reviewed it. Webb provides enough background information, however that I never felt lost–the characters, the events of the last installment, and Rose’s strange social standing are all explained. Perhaps if I had journeyed with the characters before I might have felt more attached to them, but otherwise this book works as a standalone. I jumped immediately into the story with no problems.
However, I also immediately felt I was not much going to enjoy reading about Rose. I understand she’s a child, but she occasionally struck me as a little whiny and oftentimes incredibly naive. I think she’s around the age of seven (though I could be wrong), so it makes sense that she get caught up in silly revenge games with her coworkers and not understand the ways of the world, so to speak. Yet she comes from orphanage and already solved a dastardly magical plot–so how can she really not recognize the cruel streak in human nature? How can she not realize that striking people afraid of magic with more magic will make them even more afraid?
My suspension of disbelief was stretched to the utmost as the plot continued. It’s really quite obvious that an international plot against the crown is about to unfold–Webb doesn’t waste time inserting any red herrings or trying to make things mysterious. Yet all the characters remain blissfully unaware of the obvious villains in their midst. They are a little worried, however, so they make seven-year-old Rose the body guard of the princess. Because who wouldn’t want a child as their last line of defense against a powerful evil magician?
Things fall out pretty much as one might expect from there. The adults mysteriously disappear and the children save the day. The evil plot turns out not to be so clever and the villains conveniently expose themselves to the masses. Al political troubles in the nation are conveniently smoothed over so the book can wrap up on a happy note. Seriously, the princess makes an announcement that she likes magicians and suddenly the populace drops all their fears and prejudices to agree with her.
Even children, however, might find this a little too pat in the end. Children know the difference between good and evil and they also know that evil is not so easily overcome. Pretending that complex issues can be solved by saying “why don’t we all just love each other?” is a disservice to them and a little insulting to their intelligence. This book could be a powerful statement on prejudice and fear, but instead it falls prey to its own fear–that it might scare its young readers. Had Webb followed through on what her plot promised, the book would have been so much stronger–and I might have been encouraged to continue reading the series.