"An empowering read for middle-grade girls; it presents strong female characters, a fun and smart lead, and it rolls with themes about harmony between people who are quite different from each other. Baker is a superstar, well versed in writing princesses who are more than what's typical or expected. . . . It's an added delight that the story's world is so vividly described and well fleshed out, making any reader wish they could visit." - Booklist online
“Aislin is unfailingly brave and resourceful . . . Baker's world building is perfectly attuned to young sensibilities as she presents a realm of physical beauty, interspecies harmony, and mixed-race familial love for readers to visit and for Aislin to call home.” BCCB, on More Than a Princess
“Aislin's journey to self-acceptance is rewarding, and readers will easily draw parallels between Aislin's world and their own.” Publishers Weekly, on More Than a Princess
“Whenever Aislin heads outdoors, [the] author's gift for synthesizing nature and magic comes into play.... A quirky, imaginative tale.” Kirkus Reviews, on More Than a Princess
“Self-esteem building in a lively package for younger middle grade readers who enjoy light magical adventure tales.” School Library Journal, on More Than a Princess
“Baker (the Frog Princess series) gives this series starter a familiar, Disney feel, which will engage younger readers, while themes of courage and self-acceptance give it a powerfully positive message.” Booklist, on More Than a Princess
“Full of fun and whimsy. A delightful romp through a truly unique fairy tale world!” Jessica Day George, New York Times bestselling author of Tuesdays at the Castle, on The Fairy-Tale Matchmaker
“Annie is an enjoyable, independent, and undaunted character, who uses wits and skills rather than spells in her endeavors.” Kirkus Reviews on A Question of Magic
“Slyly combines fairy-tale tropes . . . The humor and relationships created by Baker are happily reminiscent of such classics as Howl's Moving Castle.” Kirkus on A Question of Magic
Gr 4–6-The second installment in the series follows Aislin and her friends as the Fey return to the human world to tidy up some of the lingering issues after Aislin's first visit. The slow pace and labored world-building of the first half of the book may make it hard for young readers to stay engaged. Aislin is never out of temper and her only mistakes come from her good intentions. In fact, all the good creatures are very good and all the bad ones are very bad, so none of them feel like fully realized characters. The positive messaging around looking beyond surface-level beauty to value strength and kindness is welcome but hardly new. The action picks up in the second half of the book, as a new villain rescues an old one and Aislin and her Mestrasi (a mixture between bodyguards and ladies in waiting) set out to stop them, but it is likely only fans will make it to that point. VERDICT Purchase only where the first book is popular.-Gesse Stark-Smith, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR
In the series' second installment, Princess Aislin draws on her pedrasi powers to confront a powerful enemy.
Exploring Mount Gora's tunnels at the behest of her royal pedrasi grandfather, Aislin discovers vicious trolls collecting dragons' eggs for a mysterious being they refer to as "her." Using pedrasi powers to dispatch the trolls—with help from cavern-dwelling spriggans—Aislin, her guards, and her doll friend, Twinket, return to the pedrasi palace. On the way they meet angry fairies, upset that Aislin's royal fairy grandparents are moving to the human world and opening the borders for humans to enter the magic realms. Asked to help with the transition, Aislin travels to the fairy palace, where, ignoring relentless lobbying from fairy wannabes, she selects her own multispecies ladies-in-waiting, provoking more fairy ire. Her royal relatives, too, realize mischief's afoot. When, after the move, human nobles visit—including odious Rory and Aislin's friend Tomas—events prove harm is intended, but by whom? After a strong opening, the story quickly loses steam, remaining flat and nearly action-free until the final 30 pages. Exciting events are summarized, not shown. The author's tendency to repeat what readers already know in dialogue that's long on introductory greetings and action summaries and short on plot advancement and character development doesn't help. Aislin's gifts—exceptional magical powers, wide popularity, and prodigious beauty—deprive her of challenges, leaching her story of suspense. Human characters default to white; nonhuman but human-seeming Aislin has brown skin and long, dark hair.
Strictly for princess-culture devotees with a high boredom threshold. (Fantasy. 8-11)