True Princess: A Princess and the Pea Retelling by Kayla Eshbaugh (The Cursed Kingdom Chronicles book 1)
Like most royals in the land of Terra, Elisianna was cursed at birth. She’s now known as the “Frail Princess,” bruising at the slightest touch. The only way to break her curse is for someone to love her for her inner strength. Too bad the one she loves is destined to wed another.
Liam’s entire kingdom is cursed, and the only way for him to save it is by marrying a “true princess.” A tourney is called, and all the princesses arrive to face a series of tests to find his future bride. Too bad he’s falling for the one he can never have.
“People could touch my skin, and I would bruise; poke at me, and I would bleed — but words? Words were harmless unless I gave them power.”
This quote holds the entire premise of the book. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t quite live up to it. We’re never told what counts as a “true princess.” Elisianna is never given a real chance to show her inner strength. We brush past these, but never close enough for it to matter.
Repeatedly, we’re told that Elisianna couldn’t possibly be a true princess, but without knowing what that means, we have no real reason to sympathize with her heartbreak. There’s also a lot of minor inconsistencies throughout that take away from the romance.
I was drawn to this series because of the covers, and the story world and series premise are further testaments to the author’s incredible imagination and creativity. The little nods and hints to the original tale were a lot of fun, as are the promises of future books in the series.
I’m a huge sucker for books with dragons, and I’m excited to see how they’ll play out in later books. There’s so much potential in these books, and I can’t wait to see how Eshbaugh grows as an author.
3.5 Roses – Round up to 4. The book could do with a round of edits that would help clean up a lot of the little things that bothered me.
Romance: 2. There’s a fair amount of kissing, and a vague reference to wanting to spend the night together. (It’s not innuendo, but could be read that way.)
Action: 0. There’s actually not really any conflict of any kind in this story.
Swearing: 0. The closest thing is a repeated phrase any time someone mentions the Traitor.