Book Review: Royal Wedding

Image via Goodreads

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Every now and then, something happens that makes you feel old. And yes, I’m aware that at only 25, I have no room to talk because I am not anywhere near old. However, after reading this book, I realize that I’m getting closer.

Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries series is one of my all-time favorites, and 15 years have passed since its debut. 15 YEARS! Much like my experience with Harry Potter, I have literally grown up alongside Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo, Princess of Genovia–otherwise known as Mia.

In Royal Wedding, the 11th installment of the series, Mia has quite a lot going on in her already hectic life. She’s turning 26 and is finally engaged to her high school sweetheart Michael Moscovitz, but planning a wedding proves much more difficult than expected when she also has to run a non-profit, avoid the paparazzi, and help her father win the Genovian election for prime minister.

Oh, and speaking of her dad, it just so happens that Mia has a long-lost half-sister. I was thinking of adding a spoiler alert disclaimer to this review, but Cabot can’t exactly keep this plot twist a secret when she’s also recently published From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess, a children’s book starring Mia’s new sibling, Olivia Grace.

And honestly, the appearance of Olivia isn’t even the biggest surprise in this book, but I’ll keep quiet on those particular details. That’s the exact problem that I have with Royal Wedding–it packs so much in one novel that it’s difficult to savor each development. By the time you adjust to a new change to these characters, you’re bombarded with yet another. There hasn’t been a Princess Diaries book in six years, and it would have been nice if readers could have experienced more gradual exposure rather than become overwhelmed all at once.

It’s also worth pointing out the a third Princess Diaries movie is rumored to hit theaters in the future, although nothing is in development at this time. Considering that the second movie, “Royal Engagement” (2004), diverted completely from the books by depicting a 21-year-old Mia becoming Queen and betrothed to someone other than Michael, I’m not sure whether the movie will be an original adaptation, a reboot, or something different (if it’s made at all).

I’m actually hoping that if Disney pursues a third movie, it will feature Olivia, because then a new generation call fall in love with the Princess Diaries. And since the 12-year-old is half-black, it would be great to see more characters of color on-screen. Ultimately, though, after 15 years, dare I say that I’m getting a little tired of Mia? I rapidly lose interest after the ‘happily ever after,’ and I have no real desire to see her in all her domestic bliss.

Don’t get me wrong: Royal Wedding is an entertaining addition to the series, and despite its flaws, I still gobbled it up in about a week. Meg Cabot is a wonderful writer, and I will remain a devoted fan no matter what. But if it’s up to me, I declare–bring on the new princess!

Top Ten Literary Characters I’d Like to Check in With

Image via The Broke and the Bookish

Have you ever wondered what certain literary characters are up to nowadays? How did their lives turn out after they conquered that villain or got married? Even when we get to “The End,” we know that it’s only the beginning for the stories we don’t get the privilege to read.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, discusses which literary characters we’d most like to check in with. It’s like when you run into someone from school you haven’t talked to in forever, and you both agree to grab coffee sometime, but you never do, because let’s face it, neither of you is really that interested. Instead, in this case, you genuinely care what these characters have been doing all this time!

To get right to it, here are the top ten literary characters I’d like to check in with:

Ladies Bouncing Back from Bad Situations

 

 

1. Daisy from The Great Gatsby
2. Jane from Jane Eyre
3. Medea from Euripides’ Medea
4. Violet from A Series of Unfortunate Events

Happily Ever After?

 

5. The All-American Girls
6. Mia from The Princess Diaries
7. Lyra and Will from His Dark Materials

Growing Up in Their Golden Ages

8. The Ringbearers from The Lord of the Rings

9. Artemis from Artemis Fowl

10. The students of Hogwarts from Harry Potter

Top Ten Favorite Film Adaptations of Books

When it comes to blogging memes, I don’t follow any consistently, but I like jumping in when I like the topic (not to mention, when I’ve got the time!). It’s rare that I post on a Tuesday, but Alison Doherty at Hardcovers and Heroines inspired me to discuss my favorite movie adaptations of books.

Without further ado! In order from good to greatest:

  • Fight Club, based on the book by Chuck Palahnuik

I was surprised to find out that Daniel Day-Lewis starred in two of these films…but then again, I shouldn’t be because he’s an amazing actor! So which movies would you add to your list?

If you’d like to follow this Top Ten meme, check out The Broke and The Bookish!

2011 Book Review Catch-Up: Part 3

The time’s come to review my final two books of 2011, which I read this past summer. Both books are young-adult fiction, Abandon by Meg Cabot and Matched by Ally Condie.

Abandon by Meg Cabot (Rating: 4 out of 5)

One of the first books I reviewed on this blog was Cabot’s vampire sequel Overbite, which I would not recommend unless you absolutely cannot get enough of anything vampire-related. However, I have read almost every single one of Cabot’s novels, and for the most part I love them to bits. Her most famous series, The Princess Diaries, is excellent, and I also love her Runaway and Queen of Babble trilogies. So naturally, when I heard that she’d be releasing a novel during the spring based on the ancient Greek myth of Persephone and Hades, I was excited. I wrote my 20-page senior project on two poems about Persephone (Tennyson’s “Demeter and Persephone” and Swinburne’s “Hymn to Proserpine,” which I’ll probably discuss in a Masterpiece Monday sometime). As a Classics minor, I was ready to get my nerd on with this modern adaptation.

Persephone and Hades are reincarnated in this story as 17-year-old Pierce Oliviera and her love interest John Hayden. After a near-death experience a couple years earlier, John is determined to bring Pierce back to the Underworld. The novel suffers from weaknesses seen in other Cabot works, namely predictability and cheesy dialogue. However, she nicely infuses folk tales from Florida’s history and incorporates other mythical elements like the Furies. While many might find Pierce annoying and John more of a kidnapper than boyfriend material, I didn’t mind it because their relationship should be more like Phantom of the Opera at first, because what girl with any brains would willingly choose death over her loved ones? (*cough*Bella Swan*cough*). I could be wrong, but I trust that Cabot will have their relationship grow some more before Pierce makes her decision. Can’t wait for the sequel Underworld to come out in May 2012!

Matched by Ally Condie (Rating: 4 out of 5)

This dystopian novel which was published last year ponders the idea of having the government choose your significant other. At her Match Ceremony, 17-year-old Cassia Reyes is partnered with childhood friend Xander Carrow, which proves to be a rare match since they live in the same borough. All the teenagers receive a microchip with their match’s personal information, but when Cassia insert hers in her home port, another boy named Ky Markham pops up on the screen. Unfortunately, because Ky is known as an Aberration for a crime his father committed, he’s not supposed to be matched with anybody. So what explains this anomaly?

In this world, people survive on soma-esque pills to cure anxiety and erase memories, all their time is scheduled, and they are euthanized on their 80th birthdays. Only 100 poems and 100 songs have been approved to exist, but Cassia comes across a forbidden copy of Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,” which sparks her need to rebel against the system. While some may call this yet another love triangle tale like Twilight, I enjoyed the mystery–and of course the literary references. I’m looking forward to its sequel Crossed, which I received for Christmas. Keep an eye out on this trilogy, because Disney bought the film rights before the book was even released! What’s up with Mormon authors like Ally Condie and Stephenie Meyer making major bank on their young-adult novels? Coincidence? Or should I seriously think of converting to board this success train? Well, either way, Matched was worth its hype, and I hope Crossed doesn’t disappoint!

Now that I’ve caught up, I’ll be posting my master list of 20 books, from best to worst, by Thursday. Hope you enjoy it!