Aurelia

Author: Anne Osterlund

Publisher: Penguin

Series: Aurelia Series, #1

Genre: YA Fantasy (non-paranormal)

Rating:  3.5/5 

Recommendation: Ages 13+, Reading level 9/10th  grade, YA Fantasy Fans

From Good Reads:

Princess Aurelia is next in line to rule the kingdom of Tyralt, but she would rather be one of the common folk, free to learn and roam and . . . not marry the next tyrannical prince that comes courting. Naturally, the king wants Aurelia to marry for political power. Aurelia wants to marry for love. And someone in the kingdom wants her . . . dead. Assigned to investigate and protect Aurelia is Robert, the son of the king’s former royal spy and one of Aurelia’s oldest friends. As Aurelia and Robert slowly uncover clues as to who is threatening her, their friendship turns to romance. With everything possible on the line, her life, her kingdom, her heart, Aurelia is forced to take matters into her own hands, no matter the cost.

I actually quite like Aurelia, maybe more than my 3.5 rating suggests. I loved its potential. The potential of the world, characters, conflict, and story that Osterlund has built. I don’t think they’re fully realized here, but I have massive hopes for the sequel, which I can’t wait to read.

The Good:

  • Aurelia, the title character, is definitely not your average princess. However, she’s also not your average ‘not-your-average-princess.’ I mean, lets face it, rebellious independent princesses who buck the system aren’t new anymore. The great thing about Aurelia is that she’s no runaway princess. She longs to explore her kingdom, not in search of some elusive adventure, but in order to KNOW her kingdom, people and places she will one day rule. She strains under the rule of her father and his strict plans for her not because she’s just dying for freedom from her royal ‘fate,’ but because during her rebellious jaunts into the capital city she’s gotten to know her people. She longs to have a real role in politics and make positive change in the country. Not only that but she actually has informed opinions and the potential to BE an amazing ruler, rare that characters in this genre actually SHOW that potential. So yes, I LOVED her.
  • Robert! I really liked him, I wanted to get to know him better. He’s Aurelia’s childhood friend, gone off to live in the frontiers of the kingdom four years before he returns at the request of the king to protect her from assassination. This is complicated by the fact that Aurelia doesn’t know anything about the assassination attempts, and he’s forbidden to tell her. It’s no spoiler that he’s set up to be the love interest, but the romance develops slowly and realistically and his crush on Aurelia is adorable. For those of you looking for grand romance and sweeping gesture, this is not your book, and that’s fine.
  • I LOVED the ending, but was also frustrated by it. No tidy happy bows for this book, and that’s maddening, INJUSTICE! you will yell, but it’s also all the more realistic.
  • Finally the mystery of the murderer, I actually didn’t guess it until the end, which is a rare treat for me.

The Needs Improvement:

  • The development of Aurelia’s family relationships, I REALLY wish we’d actually seen more interactions with her and her family rather than just being told about their relationships.
  • I would also adore more world building, I really like the world Osterlund has created, show me more!!! (I have high hopes for this in book 2)
  • I felt that a lot of the secondary characters, with the possible exception of Drew, fell flat. We just didn’t get to know them beyond surface descriptions. They didn’t feel very developed, book 2 might take care of that as well.

OVERALL: You should definitely read it if you’re a fan of the genre. I can’t wait to get my hands on book 2, Exile
If you liked Aurelia or YA Fantasy with political intrigue is your thing I suggest:

Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen by Tamora Pierce.

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