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Friday, 9 April 2010

Review: Aurelia by Anne Osterlund

Synopsis: Taken from the back of the book.
Mystery. Romance. Danger
Aurelia, the crown princess of Tyralt, wants control over her own life. Robert, her former classmate wants Aurelia. And someone wants her......dead.
There have been several narrowly escaped attempts to assassinate the princess, but the king has no desire to incite panic by making the information public. Instead, Robert, the son of the kings former royal spy, is allowed into the inner circle to secretly investigate and watch over Aurelia.
Robert is determined to help, if only Aurelia would let him! But the princess will not heed the danger around her, and she does not need Robert to save her.
Just as their friendship begins to grow into something more, the threat on Aurelia's life becomes paramount. With everything possible on the line - her life, her kingdom, her heart - Aurelia must take matters into her own hands, what ever the cost.
Beautifully descriptive writing throughout the book, really brought the images to vivid detail within my imagination. I actually felt hungry with the sensory description of the marketplace.
The tension and suspense starts from the first page of the prologue. A lot of information can be discerned from the narrative within a short space of time really bringing all the characters to life. The change of tone within the 1st chapter was amusing.
Written in 3rd person narrative but generally focalized from Aurelia or Robert's point of view giving in depth insight into their thoughts, feelings and actions. All the characters were extremely well developed. As a reader I became thoroughly entangled in the lives of Robert and Aurelia, they were that life-like.
For the first part of the book I had images of the renaissance era popping into my head, the age of chivalry with the descriptions of the clothes, food and dances. The narrative took on a fairytale feel with the description of Aurelia's Stepmother, I had visions of the Snow Queen or the wicked stepmother from Snow White.
Lovely changes of tone and pace keep the reader's attention, you have to stay alert not to miss any of the clues given within the story. Intertwining antecedent chapters add depth. Fantastic mix of genres blended seamlessly. My heart was pounding with the description given of a nightmare and the reaction to it. The Gothic imagery used for the castle and team of horse was dramatic.

The second half of the book moves from the fairytale feel into mystery, intrigue and suspense. As I have stated before I am generally very good at guessing the 'villain' so it didn't come as a surprise to find out who it was in this case. The real shock for me was the relationships that were uncovered and past secrets divulged.
I thought the ending was well executed and moved into the area of an adventure story, images of pioneers entered my imagination. I can't wait to see how the story develops from here.
I really enjoyed this story it had romance, intrigue, suspense and adventure all rolled into one. I am looking forward to the sequel/s to follow Aurelia and Robert's adventures.
The BookDepository

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