The Princess of Cortovaby Diane Stanley
With tensions rising between the kingdoms of Westria and Austlind, Molly and Tobias accompany King Alaric to Cortova, where he hopes to form an alliance with the powerful King Gonzalo—an alliance that would be sealed by Alaric's marriage to Gonzalo's daughter, the beautiful princess Elizabetta. But the devious Gonzalo has many surprises up his sleeve,
With tensions rising between the kingdoms of Westria and Austlind, Molly and Tobias accompany King Alaric to Cortova, where he hopes to form an alliance with the powerful King Gonzalo—an alliance that would be sealed by Alaric's marriage to Gonzalo's daughter, the beautiful princess Elizabetta. But the devious Gonzalo has many surprises up his sleeve, beginning with the revelation that Alaric is not the only suitor.
As the days pass, Alaric is trapped in a nightmarish bidding war in which the price keeps spiraling up and the terms become ever more outrageous. Yet he cannot afford to walk away. Then comes the first attempt on Alaric's life.
Through it all, Molly is powerless to help him, for her magical Gift sends her nothing now but terrible forebodings—and visions of an enormous talking cat. And as for Princess Elizabetta, who is as clever as she is beautiful—is she really Molly's friend or just another player in her father's crafty game?
The thrilling story that began with the acclaimed novels The Silver Bowl and The Cup and the Crown comes to a spectacular and surprising conclusion in The Princess of Cortova.
Molly, Alaric and Tobias return to share a final adventure that will intrigue, sadden and ultimately satisfy admirers of their earlier escapades (The Cup and the Crown, 2012, etc.). Having gained his throne (though it's still a bit precarious) and possession of a magical loving cup, Alaric has decided to strengthen his position by courting his brother's widow to create an alliance between the countries of Westria and Cortova. He's unhappy, to say the least, when he discovers that his uncle (and rival for the crown) seeks to marry his son to the princess. The return of this former adversary as well as the introduction of two clever and unpredictable characters whose intentions and alliances are unclear keeps the suspense high despite the length of the text and the fact that much of the action is relatively subdued. Flowing naturally from prior events, Stanley's complex plot allows her main characters to display their hard-won wisdom and maturity. Magical elements aren't woven in quite as seamlessly as before and are likely to seem as confusing to readers as they do to Molly. By contrast, using the game of chess as a framework succeeds splendidly, echoing the complex political maneuvering that is at the heart of the tale. Like the earlier volumes, this is an excellent blend of familiar fantasy tropes and original ideas and elements that will please readers while giving them plenty to ponder. (Fantasy. 10-14)
Gr 4–8—An ancient seaside villa is the setting for this follow-up to The Silver Bowl (2011) and The Cup and the Crown (2012, both HarperCollins). The previous books featured Molly, a commoner gifted with magic who became King Alaric's most trusted advisor, but this novel focuses on enigmatic Princess Elizabetta, the only daughter of King Gonzalo of Cortova. Her scheming father contrives to pit King Alaric and Prince Rupert, rivals from neighboring kingdoms, against one another for Betta's hand in marriage and an alliance with the Cortovan kingdom. Betta surprises her father by proving that she is not just beautiful, but is also a brilliant strategist. When Alaric and his court arrive, Molly immediately senses great danger and is on her guard, but finds she can't resist Betta's candid warmth. Their growing friendship is tempered by the political tension, but their cautious and clever conversations over chess are one of the book's delights. Each section begins with definitions of chess terms, all metaphors for the action that follows. Like a chessboard, the cast is large and the plotting takes precedence over characterization. Apart from Betta, a real understanding of the players must come from the previous books, and the writing labors a bit to get readers up to speed in this third book. Still, it's a story full of political intrigue, deep friendships, and undeclared loves that begins with the princess enjoying the solitary quiet of a morning and builds to a tumultuous, violent, and triumphant ending. This trilogy should be a staple in school and public libraries.—Martha Baden, Prescott Public Library, AZ
Meet the Author
Diane Stanley is the author and illustrator of beloved books for young readers, including The Silver Bowl, which received three starred reviews, was named a best book of the year by Kirkus Reviews and Book Links Lasting Connections, and was an ALA Booklist Editors' Choice; The Cup and the Crown; Saving Sky, winner of the Arab American Museum's Arab American Book Award and a Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year; Bella at Midnight, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and an ALA Booklist Editors' Choice; The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy; The Mysterious Matter of I. M. Fine; and A Time Apart. Well known as the author and illustrator of award-winning picture-book biographies, she is the recipient of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children and the Washington Post-Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award for her body of work.
Ms. Stanley has also written and illustrated numerous picture books, including three creatively reimagined fairy tales: The Giant and the Beanstalk, Goldie and the Three Bears, and Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
This book was amazing! I loved the chatacters and the plot was rich and satisfying. The ending was bittersweet though